I had smelled Byredo Bal d’Afrique briefly in L.A. back in April or so, but too much sniffage didn’t allow me to get more than a “mmmm, nice” thought formed about it. In London, I got a longer turn with it. Notes of Bergamot, Lemon, Neroli, African marigold, Bucchu, Violet, Jasmin petals, Cyclamen, Black Amber, Musk, Vetiver, and Moroccan cedarwood.
The open of Byredo Bal d’Afrique is bergamot, lemon and neroli is fairly briefly, just enough to perk you up and put you in a great mood, though it lingers as just a sparkly shadow through the drydown. Marigolds and bucchu arrive to give a slightly bitter feel, slightly sensuous sweat smell. A little like an “after-the-exertion” note. You know, right? The florals sweeten it up, while the base notes lay in an earthy, sexy backdrop. All together? Sexy as hell and addictive as crack.
Byredo Gypsy Water has the same feel for me. Not the same notes, but that addictive, comforting composition. My dad always had a pillow on the couch, and he’d come in from the fields and lay down for a nap, and the little bit of sweat would just seep into the pillow. When he wasn’t around, I would just bury my face in that pillow, and I felt like I was wrapped in a place where nothing could ever hurt me. He had the sweetest sweat smell. Byredo Bal d’Afrique and Byredo Gypsy Water are like that for me – compulsive, addictive, sweet and bitter, earthy, sexy, and incredibly comforting. It’s like burrowing my nose in my favorite sweater that I’ve worn for years.
It may be too early to call this, but I think Byredo has some staying power as a line and, along with Kilian, has been the best new line introduction of the last couple of years. They’ve both done interesting things that are unconventional, while also making perfumes that are compulsively wearable.
Of course I’ll do a drawing for a couple of samples of this. Liberty was super-nice when we were there and passed out 1 ounce bottles to all Sniffa attendees.
You can get a Byredo Bal d’Afrique sample at Surrender to Chance