Lemony, dreamy and floaty. Suitable for anyone, this is perfume lite, perfume at its least offensive, least challenging. But does that mean it is boring? Or is there a certain classiness in an understated, timelessly chic little number?
Bergamot, juniper berries, lemon, pepper, incense, orris, pine needles, amber, sandalwood, vanilla.
Byredo are so cool it hurts. So cool that you could be the world’s expert on fragrance but when you hustle for elbow room at their counter in Liberty’s of London, some snotty teenager will glower at you and wrinkle her nose up at your uncool shoes and you’ll feel like you’re 14 again having gone to school in uniform on non-uniform day. (Not that we are scarred by our experiences of visiting their counter in Liberty’s of London, not at all.)
We’re just going to put it out there that you probably aren’t cool enough to wear Byredo, and we definitely aren’t. But we have never been one to let that get in our way, and you shouldn’t either.
If you’ve been following The Sniff for a while, you’ll know that we have had mixed feelings about some of their offerings. Bal D’Afrique will always hold a special place in our hearts, being one of the first niche fragrances we smelled (and fell a little bit in love with) all those years ago, but Inflorescence is a bit on the pedestrian side, and others of their range that we have tested haven’t even made it to reviews as they had the longevity of a UKIP leader.
From the get-go Gypsy Water isn’t exactly what you would call a bold perfume. Instead it’s fairly quiet, very inoffensive, and even demure. An initial spritz quickly settles to a lovely, dreamy lemony delight. The citrus is beautifully balanced between sour and sweet, it makes the mouth water, but also has hints of lemon drizzle cake about it too. It was very pleasant indeed.
The top of the scent is pretty uncluttered, the lemon being the predominant note detectable there, with bergamot anchoring it and peeping through now and again in a transient way.
The heart of the scent opens up with the lemon slowing down to mingle with the pine needle accord. And there really is this strange, and rather trippy sense of the scent slowing as it moves towards its heart notes. Gypsy Water begins bright and breezy and gently calms and slows into something a little more earthy and natural (although it’s much closer to a pine freshness than earthy in the sense of soil). It’s a very pleasant transition.
The listed notes show incense, which we couldn’t really find in there much at all, so don’t be put off by that listing if you find incense scents too heavy or aromatic.
There is also a very watery, airy feel about the heart of the perfume and indeed this continues through to the base. This is flavoured air, it’s almost the memory of a scent, it’s rain falling on clean, warm clothing, something you can almost catch but never quite get hold of. And, we have to say that despite our reservations about it being a bit bland, we found it to be really quite lovely.
In technical terms, Byredo have been quite clever about what they have put in the base of this scent. Amber and vanilla are typically quite good at prolonging the longevity of a perfume on the skin and they’re both often very warm scents. Here, they warm up Gypsy Water so the base is really comforting, calming, and not unlike receiving a hug from your favourite auntie who has just baked a lemon drizzle cake that you can still smell on her hands and clothes. At the same time, the top and heart notes of Gypsy Water feel like a scent which would evaporate quickly, but the amber really slows the fragrance down and captures it that bit longer on the skin so you don’t feel like you’ve been cheated into buying a perfume that lasts no more than a couple of hours.
The vanilla comes through strongly in the base too, but it’s ever so slightly sticky and quite pleasantly authentic smelling, not synthetic at all (one of our biggest hatreds at The Sniff is that horrid, synthetic vanilla smell that seems to permeate far too many beauty products these days!).
Overall, our experience of wearing and testing this scent was very positive indeed. It’s definitely one of the easiest to wear Byredo’s we have tested so far and we can see it having a wide appeal. That said, it’s lack of any real character may be frustrating to those who like their scents a bit more ballsy. For example, the more hardcore citrus lovers may find that this is just not invigorating enough, and those who love their amber and vanilla to be treacly and sticky might just find that they are a bit too light. Gypsy Water isn’t fully an aquatic scent, but equally, it isn’t really a piney fresh scent either, its a bit of a chameleon and a bit of everything, which is both it’s strength and it’s weakness. A jack of all trades in perfume form.
The other stuff
The longevity of Gypsy Water isn’t bad. It lasted until around lunchtime before it faded, but given it’s dreamy, light tone we didn’t think that was terrible.
The sillage or projection of the scent (how far it comes off your body when you wear it) was low to moderate. It seems to stay pretty close, but that’s not surprising given its thoroughly inoffensive nature.
We felt that Gypsy Water would be suitable for just about anyone to wear. It definitely suits day wear more than night as it would get lost in a bar or soiree type environment. But for a light, daytime, Spring scent you could do a lot worse. Will you fall head over heels for it? Possibly not. But you might just like it enough to take it for a picnic in the park and to meet your friends.
Gypsy Water by Byredo is available from Liberty’s of London where it is priced at £95 for 50ml of EdP, or SpaceNK for the same price. You can also buy it direct from the Byredo website and the website does the full range of things you can buy in this scent, should you wish to get a soap, a hair scent and a perfume oil all to match.
Byredo’s stand at Liberty’s of London kindly gave us a sample of Gypsy Water.
If you fancy something along the same lines as Gypsy Water, but can’t spring for a bottle of this price, try the incredibly inexpensive Fortune by Brocard.