Byredo are a very cool brand. You only have to visit their counter in Liberty’s of London, where affluent middle-aged women jostle for position with sulky over privileged youngsters dressed head to toe in black and grey, to see this demonstrated in real life. Is this the result of clever marketing though, or do they have the chops to justify their cult appeal?
Byredo’s consumer base seems to be pretty wide, and they do have some very interesting things to say in their fragrances (see our review of Byredo’s Bal d’Afrique which is a marigold-based scent). With the wide range of customers and coolness taken in mind, we wonder if there is a danger of them not only taking themselves too seriously, but playing it too safe (and too commercial) when it comes to their lines.
The first notes of this fragrance that are detectable are rose, and something we could perhaps describe as rose-leaf; a less highly scented note that undercuts the rose petal and is pleasantly green in quality.
There is also a darker, tannin-like note detectable in the opening to this scent, which reminded us of wet teabags. It’s not unpleasant, but it makes the purity of the garden flowers seem a little bit muddied and a little bit murky.
If you were expecting something complex from this fragrance then you’re in for disappointment. Rose, leaves and murk are about all that is discernible from the top.
Once the perfume has settled, it warms nicely and a very pleasant geranium note creeps in. It’s not very easy to find, however, and could have done with beefing up to give this fragrance some real clout. There’s also something we want to call magnolia; it’s very sweet, slightly airy and slightly powdery. Not unpleasant by any stretch of the imagination, but hard to really love too.
Again, a disappointing lack of either muscle and complexity in the heart of the scent. If one element had been strongly present or surprising then perhaps this scent would have been more inspiring, but as it is there is very little to get hold of and really enjoy which is a shame.
The heart of Inflorescence reminds us of that person we all know who there is nothing wrong with per se, but neither is there much to like about them. People might describe them as “nice” but it’s not entirely a compliment and is shorthand for saying they can be a bit boring. Not the sort of person you would either fall in love with or even invite to your party – at most you might sit next to them in the lunch room at work one day.
The lack of any real personality continues in the base, with jasmine coming through quietly and a candied or honeyed quality being noticeable too. The rose persists, but takes on a rather sickly edge. It doesn’t have the purity of scent of something like Miller Harris’ Rose Silence, nor does it have the playful complexity of Phaedon’s Pluie de Soleil.
In short and brutal terms: there are way better flower based scents around.
The other stuff
This perfume made us a little sad to review, not least because perfume generally is a delight in itself, but because we had come to expect more – and more interesting things – from the Byredo brand too. There isn’t really anything horribly wrong with the scent, but that in itself isn’t justification for buying it either. It’s just a little too pedestrian and far too safe for our tastes, but maybe that’s just exactly what their consumers are looking for?
The lack of complexity in the fragrance could be a selling point, because it does make it very easy to wear day to day. The lack of purity in the notes themselves though makes this a little problematic, for us at least.
This is most definitely a fragrance that falls on the feminine side of the perfume spectrum. It would wear best in Spring, before the flowers are properly out so it doesn’t have to compete with the more pure scent quality that they have.
Longevity of the scent is poor, with it mostly having gone by lunch time, and the sillage or projection of the scent is minimal. We’ve used body lotions that last longer and project more than this.
All in all this is a disappointing scent that delivers none of the quirky and surprising notes evident in other Byredo lines, that said, it’s an easy way in to a more unusual brand if you want to stump up for the hefty price tag.
Byredo is available at Liberty’s of London where it is priced at £142 for 100ml (EDP). The Byredo counter at Liberty’s kindly provided us with a sample of this fragrance. You can also buy Byredo’s Inflorescence direct from their website.