Discovering Byredo: it makes perfect sense to select a signature scent slowly and wisely...

One does not need to see you or hear you in order to smell you, so without stating the obvious, you will all agree with me that it is important to smell 'nice'.  This alone, however, should not be the only factor when selecting a fragrance.
Why is it that I instantly screw up my face if I get a whiff of a man wearing Joop!? I remember one of my ex-boyfriends... who I would rather forget.  Shortly thereafter a woman wearing Clinique's Happy will hopefully walk past me, reminding me of fun times in high school spent giggling uncontrollably with my friend until our stomachs hurt.  Ergo, I cannot confidently wear Victor & Rolf's Flowerbomb because I now know that I "smell like the woman at work"...  These were the words unceremoniously uttered by my boyfriend the first time I wore it. (We have since agreed that I will not wear this fragrance in his presence.)
Smell, emotion, behaviour and long-term memory are all supported by the limbic system in the brain.  It is no wonder then that scents can trigger memories and strong emotions almost instantly.

It can also be inferred from the stories above that a person's scent is a part of their identity.

I can count on one hand the fragrances that I have worn regularly throughout my adult life.
  • Ralph Lauren Blue during my university studies and when I first started working in my profession. I still own a bottle but I'm pretty sure that it has gone rancid.
  • Giorgio Armani Onde Mystere during the middle of my career. A sophisticated fragrance I wore well before I was sophisticated.
  • Chloe Eau de Parfum Chloe for the last five years as an evening fragrance and for day if I feel like it. (It seems as though that every woman and her cat owns and wears this perfume.)
  • Chloe Eau de Fleurs Capucine, a gorgeous green floral that I splash on for work because I know it's not overpowering. I'm at the end of my bottle, but I'm opting not to repurchase as it is not particularly long wearing on me (and a limited edition).
All of these fragrances have two things in common - they have made me feel good at the time and they have not irritated or overwhelmed my senses throughout the day.

Just recently, I bought Diptyque Philosykos. I sprayed it on myself many times when in Mecca Cosmetica and I loved it.  So when I walked into the Diptyque boutique on Rue des Francs Bourgeois in Paris, I knew that it was exactly what I wanted. I know that I will enjoy wearing it until the last drop. This is the hallmark of a fragrance that is essentially "you".

Notwithstanding everything I have written about fragrance being a part of one's identity, owning just one 'signature' fragrance is a bold statement indeed and Philosykos is a little too recognizable to be it. I've been thinking that I need another that is a little more unusual and complex.  I came across Byredo whilst trying to settle for another Diptyque fragrance to wear. I thought it might be interesting to explore what this other niche fragrance house has to offer.


Stockholm based Byredo is the brainchild of Ben Gorham, a Fine Arts graduate of Indian and Canadian heritage.  With no formal training in the olfactory arts, he decided to throw away his paint brush and to create fragrances instead.  He engaged Olivia Giacobetti (diptyque, Guerlain, L'Artisan Parfumeur) and Jerome Epinette (Decennial, Nest, Atelier Cologne) to create the scents that he articulated to them. What results is a collection of perfumes, lotions, gels, soaps and home fragrances, fusing art and design with its artisan’s ethnic roots. 

Like I sprayed Diptyque's Philosykos on multiple occasions, I have been going back to Mecca Cosmetica daily to experience Byredo on my skin. 

Gypsy Water – This is one of Byredo's most popular fragrances. Based on the description on the Byredo website: “the scent of fresh soil, deep forests and campfires” I imagined that it would be my clear favourite. In the end the fragrance did not connote the outdoors like described and instead on my skin it settled down to its vanilla base note very quickly (which I don't usually like). Eventually what lingered was quite pleasant but very soft and almost undiscernible. Maybe this is why it is so popular?

Bal D’Afrique – Another of Byredo's most popular, I really like this one on my skin after some time, albeit it is a little sweet to start with. The citrus of the lemon shines through the floral sweetness of the flower petals, resulting in a sweet lemon curd kind of smell. 

Inflorescence – This is a clean green fragrance.  It is what I imagine running though a field of lilies in the rain would smell like. Sadly, the fragrance soured on my skin within two hours.

La Tulipe – This fragrance is a fresh floral. It smells like a bouquet of flowers which settles down to faint but pleasant "freshly laundered" smell. I cannot imagine that this very soft and feminine fragrance would offend anyone as it is quite conservative.

Pulp – I knew that I would not like this one based on the description on the website: "a dramatic composition focused on the idea of ripe, sweet, shapeless mass of fruit." I tried it anyway. It’s literally a fruit explosion in the nose. It’s a powerful fragrance not the type to calm the senses, but rather to energise.  In the beginning it reminds me of a Summer pool party, where an abundance of fruit on platters is served. After a number of hours it smelled like the clean up the day after... After the remaining fruit had been sitting in the early afternoon sun. It is not offensive but extremely ripe - not for the faint hearted.

Flowerhead - This is Byredo's newest fragrance. One does not need to be a genius to work out that it is a floral. As soon as I sprayed it I had the feeling that I have smelled something similar before. I didn't not like it, but its familiarity put me off a little. 

There are of course other Byredo fragrances that 'sound' like I might like them, but unfortunately they are not available in Adelaide so I can't test them. 

After my little experiment, I could easily buy Gypsy Water, Bal D'Afrique and La Tulipe, but a whole wardrobe of fragrances to select from daily does not appeal to me. It makes perfect sense then to select a signature scent slowly and wisely. Maybe a few more trips to Mecca Cosmetica are in order!

Use these tips when shopping for a signature fragrance: 
  • Spray it on your skin and walk away.
  • Smell your forearm often throughout the day to see how the fragrance develops and settles on your skin and whether it lasts.
  • Do not buy before you try. Every one has a different skin chemistry - don't assume that a best seller will work for you. 
  • Ask your partner if they like the fragrance on you - there is a small risk that the scent will remind them of someone they would rather not be reminded of daily. You don't want that.
Now to extrapolate these meticulous thoughts when buying shoes and clothing...

The story of my life...

Every day bar Saturday and Sunday goes something like this:


Press snooze.


Press snooze again.


Get-up... eventually.

Feed the cats... otherwise I physically cannot walk anywhere in the house without tripping over them.

Scoop kitty litter.

Get ready for work. (I am running late because I pressed snooze too many times.)

Before I leave the house, I make sure that all the cats are accounted for (and not trapped in the wardrobe).

Travel to work.  I am a tight arse when it comes to paying for parking, so I catch public transport (which never fails to disappoint me). On some days I could literally walk the 3 km journey to work faster than the time the bus takes. On such days you will find me at my bus stop constantly looking at my watch trying to decide whether to walk or wait. Sooner or later (depending on how late the bus is) you will find me on the bus with my bitch face on, internally cursing the Adelaide public transportation system and thinking I could have walked faster!

Arrive at work.

Drink coffee and eat breakfast while reading I'm one of those people who reads the comments section of news stories. I miss reading the comments by the news troll called Kevin of Double Bay.


Breathe a sign of relief when it's lunch time. I love to eat, as well as shop in my lunch break...

Work some more and drink some tea.

Breathe a sigh of relief when it is home time. I love going home - home is where my heart is.

Some nights when I'm extra disorganised, I visit the supermarket to buy dinner ingredients. I spend way more money then I should on groceries going about things this way, but my trips to the supermarket hold some of the most exciting moments of my week (yes, really). So I enjoy doing this often.

Walk to the bus stop only to discover that I have missed my bus. The next one is not for another half an hour at this point of the evening... I now have my bitch face on again, internally cursing the Adelaide public transportation system and remember longingly that the trains in New York, London and Paris come every 5 minutes.

Get home finally and check our letterbox. (As I'm opening the letterbox, I pray for my magazine subscription delivery and not more bills.)

Walk through the door. It's quarter past six on a day that I managed to escape work a little early. It's pushing seven thirty if I've been held back a little or I've been to the supermarket. (Thanks go to Adelaide's public transport system for failing me yet again... I only live 3 km from work for God's sake! It shouldn't be this late already!)

Cuddle the cats (and my boyfriend if he happens to be home before me, which is hardly ever).

Scoop kitty litter.

Feed the cats a little bit of raw meat - I believe it is important for their teeth that they chew, but one of my cats 'Mishka' swallows pieces whole...

Cook dinner.

Load the dish washer. (I love this machine.)

At this point I look around the house and depending on the day of the week that it is, I either lament how I didn't do a good enough job cleaning the house over the weekend or how much cleaning there is to do next weekend.  Things do not seem to matter much on a Wednesday... I make a bigger mess.

Play with the cats.

It is late in the evening now.  This is when the realisation that it's almost bedtime sets in. It's funny, I'm still like a kid - I dread going to bed... (but the adult in me loves to sleep in late.)

Waste time - either mucking around on the internet or watching some TV.  Our favourite TV shows at the moment are Game of Thrones (my boyfriend regrets reading the books because at least twice in each episode I'll turn to him and ask "did that happen in the book!?") and Hannibal (so gripping, I'm pleased to read that it has been renewed for a third season). We are still watching Californication, although I really think this show is beyond dirty now. Surely people in real life do not converse like the characters on this show?!

Prepare breakfasts (yogurt, rolled oats and berries EVERYDAY) and lunches (leftovers EVERYDAY).

Get ready for bed.

Feed the cats (just a sprinkle) because at this point they are behaving like I've been starving them for a week. I know for certain now that this is the reason why they are fat, but I can't help myself.  I also change the water in their water bowls - one less thing to do in the morning... one extra minute of snooze time!

Go to bed.

My boyfriend and I discuss hopefully winning the lotto the next day so that the next morning is the last time we have to get up for work. EVER. (*Insert sarcastic laughter here* because we hardly ever buy lotto tickets.)

Turn off the lights (and annoy my boyfriend with the glow of my i device).

Fall asleep... eventually.

Do it all again the next day.

I sometimes feel a little jaded about my life, but then I remember that my boyfriend and I have our health, food on the table and a roof over our heads, not to mention very nice stuff and two very beautiful fat cats.  We are very lucky and I need to remember this every day.

Children should make things a little interesting... How do people do it?