Rose of No Man’s Land

Velvet rose with paper test of Byredo bottle, and decant vial.

The ad copy for Rose of No Man’s Land lists rose, pink pepper, raspberry blossom, papyrus and white amber.
I can pick out those notes, but all together it smells like the green-room at a drag show.

Ms Turkisha Petals camps out at the snack table–salty corn chips and berry ginger-ale–until Rose d’Red threatens her wig with pepper spray. Eventually Amber Oralgami sashays in after her paper dolls routine, to collapse on the sofa for a few hours.

Statuesque, sweet and savory, and a little chaotic in the best way.


Annie Lennox’s ironic hit is a drag show regular.


ByredoI 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.

Pulp - ByredoThe 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.

happy socks

Eleventh Hour

eleventh hour edgy
Byredo bottle cutout paper tester (stained with eau) on notebook paper.

I get lime and cigarette tobacco–freshly lit.
Maybe baked apples with cloves, but possibly dried figs and sweet pepper, and a quick finish to what I can only call “expensive coat closet”–slight animal, cedar and rum.

The liquid bites at the skin a bit, and it doesn’t last long.

I could almost compare it to Tank Battle, with the spicy bubblegum notes, except this has more Y chromosome at the bottom.
I like it.


I love Leonard Cohen songs. Especially when sung by other people.

Bal d’Afrique

Bal d'Afrique edgy
Sample spray on a vintage Swedish cruise ad.

Opens sharp, an oily floral zest of citrus, then sweetens to lemon cake close on the skin.

Slowly settles into wet vetiver and marigolds, and forest floor violets that bloom long and loud, a foot off the body for hours.

Lingers for days with an odd minty amber after bite–like arctic lake water.

I don’t get an African ball in Paris from this, but I’ve never been to one.


A bit of Jazz Age (sorta.)


flowerhead edgeA Diorissimo martini.

So interesting-. Spring green jasmine and lily-of-the-valley and all the heavy white flowers, but with a tipsy watery note and a lemon zest curl that cuts through the floral wax with a vodka edge.

Cocktail hour lasts three hours, and leaves a kid leather glove behind, 1950’s Cinderella chic.


Black (magnetic!) capped Byredo jar and half a pink grapefruit being suggestive in the background.

Aptly named.

A walk through the produce aisle in sexy shoes that only come in European sizes.
Byredo’s Pulp is lush fruit rind you want to press your thumb into to check for ripeness. Tart currants spill onto a heap of figs, then there’s a nuttiness, a bite of candy bar like a bawdy pick-up line, funny rather than insulting.
Drunk apples sit on the skin for several hours, waiting for elegant lipstick bites, then they fade to a woody stem.

I bought the biggest bottle I could legally take on the airplane.


Saw her live, ages ago–so good. This one is a bit bawdy, too.