The niche Swedish fragrance line Byredo has some interesting fragrances. I’m a fan of the tragically short-lived Gypsy Water, which sounds like it should be some exciting spice concoction but is actually a gently sweet lemon custard scent, and I adore Seven Veils, which actually is exciting: a lushly balsamic oriental in an old-school style.
For years I was looking for a replacement for the amazing sour-fruit nirvana that was the late Jus by Fresh. It was the opposite of most fruity scents which pile on the sweetness–it was actually verging on bitter with its orange-pithy sparkle. Comme des Garçons Sherbet Series: Rhubarb came closest, although the sourness hit was tamed by powdery vanilla in the drydown. (I should pause at this moment and relate that I am a huge fan and consumer of citrus fruits. I’m told that as a child I used to suck on lemon wedges, which doesn’t surprise me.)
I was so transported by Pulp that I shelled out big bucks for the bottle within minutes of my first spray. My first impression is a blast of lemons, grapefruits, Granny Smith apples,and (maybe) unsweetened cranberries, served on a bed of leafy green notes. It settles down into a more straightforward berry/fig fruity scent after a while, but GAWD those first 20 minutes are phenomenal: the most puckeringly unsweet fruity scent since…well, since Jus, actually. Reminds me of a amplified sour version of Diptique’s L’Ombre dans L’eau, heavy on fruit, light on greenery.
Pulp obviously falls into the “summer fragrance” pigeonhole, but don’t discount it in colder weather, when a spray of liquid sunshine might be just what you need to warm up a cold miserable day. The lasting power is reasonable, but the puckery opening notes only linger for about 30 minutes.
Byredo uses minimalist packaging and labeling throughout its range. Squat cylindrical bottles, white block-printed labels, and black plastic caps. The large bottle, which was the only size available at the time I made my purchase, was an eye-opening AU$235. (I amortized this by selling a few decants to fellow perfumeheads.) Currently Mecca has a 50ml bottle for a better but still considerable AU$158. StrawberryNet and Barney’s sell it to the rest of the world.