I was determined to visit Byredo while seeing my family in Sweden this year.
Niche perfumery from Stockholm with an Indian influence and a simple streamlined aesthetic? Ja, tack–yes, please!
We looked the address up online, and I was excited to discover the store was on Mäster Samuelsgatan street, across from Happy Socks–though my dad made faces when I mentioned the funky footwear shop. My brother and I had trouble getting there–he led me all over streets at odd angles with amazing names–but just when we were about to give up, we found the flagship perfume shop.
The store was a little crystal cave. I’m not sure what I was expecting–something bigger, perhaps, or that the founder Ben Gorham, actually would be there, and I could ask him the odd questions that people side-eye until you tell them you’re a writer–but the saleswomen were supermodel gorgeous, and my dress was faded and my shoes scuffed, and I was too intimidated to ask anything of them.
I sniffed Flowerhead, a fresh floral; the new sweet autumn Eleventh Hour; and bought the fig grenade Pulp–my birthday treat to myself–and they gave me a sample of Bal d’Afrique, too.
Each of the Byredo frags have only a few simple notes–a designer trademark–but they come together to create oddly complicated and evocative scents. A lot of fun for an amateur frag-head like me.
We left in a hurry to meet Dad for dinner, no time to shop anywhere else. They gave me Happy Socks for my birthday.
Hey, Philosophy, with that bottle color, you mean “Caucasian,” not nude.
But the magazine sample was free, so:
Smells like a bouquet of over-bred pale tea roses in a hospital room. Pretty but generic, with an odd note of bleach musk underneath.
There are soooo many better rose scents out there. Lush’s Imogen Rose is heaven. Tea Rose by Perfumer’s Workshop is a great bargain for an awesome rose. Annick Goutal’s Rose Absolue is a petal bomb. Filch your grandmother’s YSL Paris if you have to.
But roses shouldn’t ever be beige.
And nude is an absence of clothing, not “white people skin.” Not the best marketing moment for a product line called Pure Grace.
Fully loaded Bazooka Joe.
This stuff is like the sexy battle armor you put on before conquering your own world.
Tank Battle opens with a wet bubblegum pop, and a moment later a bright sulfur flare. Smoky haze sits at arms length–a burnt spice offering, a swallow of bourbon, metal shavings from a sharpened blade.
Sun-scorched patchouli and cloves settle to the skin after an hour, with an occasional whiff of daring and sweetness the whole day long.
Amarena is the vanilla ice cream and sour cherry cough drops after you get your tonsils out. Medicinal, comforting, delicate, soporific… one to wear to bed when sleeping alone.
The sugary musk on the bottom is delicate and delicious, but also metallic, like the scent of a tin of silver dragées.
I’ve doled this one out over a decade, my Rx at the end of a rough day. I’ll be heartsick when the last drops are gone–I look for it at every airport shop, every high end thrift store.
Tabu was that night you wore thigh-high stockings but forgot your fake ID, so someone’s older sister gave you rootbeer schnapps and after the party you watched the sunrise drinking Constant Comment tea with the guy your friend wanted.
A stray cat in heat reeking of orange and cloves.
I wore this once in high school and the boy who never noticed me asked my name, and the skirt I’d worn all year got measured with a ruler twice. My mother took the bottle away and told me I could have it back when I went to college.