Ah, the crazy situation where a perfume smells divine in the store and yet changes completely once you have a bottle back home, able to spray yourself with abandon. Such goes the case of Byredo's Bal d'Afrique and myself. At Barneys, it smelled like the penultimate divine cross between sweet/citrusy and yet having spicy musk. However, once a bottle was safely in my claws, it started to reveal heavy cedar and vetiver notes. There was less fruit and more wood chip. I will hold on to my bottle, but, where I had believed for my perfect, signature scent was over - the quest continues on.
Bal d'Afrique is a very nice vetyver-heavy blend, of the sort used in Sel de Vetyver by TDC, or Vetyver Tonka by Hermessences. It's got that lemony, almost (and this is going to sound bad but hold on) bug-spray edge the root can have, but it stays very mild and tame throughout its development. Vetyver can be super powerful and have that back-of-the-throat burn in the best way, like a good single malt scotch, but Byredo plays it with a very light hand. The scent opens with a light burst of citrus greenery but very quickly vetyver comes to the party and never leaves. Its edges are caramelized with amber and vanilla, but although the notes may *read* like a gourmand, it's not. It's a very mild-mannered scent, despite its inspiration which was 1920's Paris with Josephine Baker as its muse- who was anything but mild-mannered.
Reading back on this I can see that "mild" is the word of the day for Bal d'Afrique. Nothing wrong with that, just don't go spraying this on and expecting fireworks. Instead it's a very cozy, close-to the skin scent, completely office and elevator friendly (buying back Karma points for all the times I knocked out half a Metro car in my Magie Noire days - the original formulation from way back in the 80's), emminently unisex.
Not much sillage- in fact, staying power is 4-5 hours at best, but many reviewers complain of much-too-short life.
The body cream, is lovely as well- FYI.
Very beautiful, well blended, refined fragrance that contains many notes that I dislike, in particular, cedar. Yet put them all together and this beauty sings. Goes on with sweet lemon custardy goodness, yet isn't foody or fruity. It has a slight coconut tinge, a saltiness, faint tropical florals and musk. All of this sounds like it's a compilation of cheap body sprays but it's beautiful, restrained and constantly changing. Sillage is moderate, but really builds in intesnity over time instead of fading. Smells very expensive which is fair, because it is. In spite of the fact that I now have more perfume than I could ever use, I feel I must add this one to my collection. A real stunner.
i want to love this so badly, as it's like an upscale fruit cocktail.
Smells strongly of pina coladas to me, lush and tropical. However, as much as i love sweet fruitiness and i do love the fragrance, paying $200 to smell like a B&BW body splash gives me the shivers. On drydown it gets riper and more syrup-y, which sadly also makes it seem more cheap. On the street, it could be mistaken for a *wait for it*... VS SPRAY (the KISS OF DEATH for any perfume snob). I wish this fragrance was a touch more green and less sweet (<---and this is coming from someone who loves sweet gourmands!)
instead, try the other Byredos like Gypsy Water-- a skin scent that is intoxicating (like the soft warmth of Diptyque Eau Duelle mixed with the clean musk of Narciso Rodriguez) For Her), or Pulp, which is still fruity & ripe, but more rich and unique, befitting of the hefty price tag.
There's a sweetness to it that I really don't like.
Notes: lemon, neroli, African marigold, cyclamen, vetiver, jasmine, violet, bucchu, cedar, black amber, and musk
This fragrance opens with a melange of citrus and floral notes. The result is a honey-sweet, juicy and bright accord which despite its sweetness is not cloying at all due to a subtle touch of smoky woods. As the fragrance progresses a sweaty facet brought on by cedar emerges. On me this aspect is rather subdued and can only be detected if I press my nose close to the skin. Throughout its development the fragrance sheds more and more of its floral notes, laying bare its herbal woodsy nature. Lasts for more than 4 hours on my skin.
I love this. My husband has gone crazy over this. I know the reason for both: It smells very much like Bond No 9 So New York, which smells very much like Escada Magnetism. Throw Flowerbomb in there, too. He and I love all these scents. I'm down to my last few drops of the current bottle of Magnetism and happen to discover Bal D'Afrique, which is a better quality scent and sparks a reaction with DH...hmmm, I think I could use that to my advantage.
There is a full bottle of this one in my future--near future.
Notes for Byredo Bal D'Afrique (2008): Bergamot, lemon, neroli, african marigold, bucchu,Violet, jasmin petals, cyclamen, Black amber, musk, vetiver, moroccan cedarwood
Notes for Escada Magnetism (2003): Leafy Greens, Basil, Freesia, Black Currant, Plumberry, Jasmine, Immortelle, Lily of the Valley, Blond Woods, Iris, Almond Blossom, Amber, Musk, Cashmere Vanilla, Sandalwood
Notes for V&R Flowerbomb(2004): Bergamot, Tea
Jasmine, Freesia, Orchid, Centiflora Rose, Patchouli
Notes for Bond No 9 So New York (2004): Bergamot, Osmanthus, Mirabelle, Expresso Accord, Patchouli, Walm Milk Accord, Muguet, Peony, Precious Woods, Tonka Bean, Musk, Cocoa Powder
For years I have been searching for the fragrance that would just feel like it was made for me. And I finally have.
I love the balance between the warm and cooler notes. I am terrible at describing fragrances (so this is really helpful...) But I will say that it smells unlike any other fragrance I have ever tried. I would advise giving it a good 20 min to develop on your skin before making an opinion, it changes a lot more than most perfumes and the alcohol smell really goes away completely.
It is very subtle and I wear at least five sprays. I can't smell it on my skin after a while but someone once said that was a good sign, that it means that the fragrance really fuses with you instead of clashing with your skin.
Either way, I like it, and my husband loves that it makes me smell like a woman and not like a bouquet of flowers or a bowl of candy. I would not recommend it for someone who is looking for a strong or sweet fragrance.
Suprisingly tame fragrance on my skin. Woods, musk, amber & vetiver like previous reviewers mentioned but softened throughout. There's a creamy sweetness to it that reminds me of custard pudding. It's gentle all the way to the drydown and calls to mind fabric softener and talcum powder. Pleasant, although too cute and cuddly to be full bottle worthy.
What I like about Byredo is they make wearable every day fragrances that don't scream "Perfume". Although I wouldn't call any of them "interesting" or "unique", they are luxurious and elegant enough to stand apart from anything else out there. Bal D'Afrique represents my view of Byredo well. It's a sweet, woody and musky floral. I cannot discern any particular flower in the mix (but then, I don't really know what marigolds smell like). If Cacharel's Noa Fleur were a niche perfume, it would be Byredo's Bal D'Afrique. The presentation is minimalistically beautiful. Finally, I am now eager to smell Fresh's Mangosteen to see if it is similar to this one, as the reviewer below commented.