Byredo Pulp is a fragrant freak, a scent that is so many things at once that it can only be confounding. Is it fig? Grapefruit? Passionfruit? Apple? Or something else?
The only thing certain about Pulp is that it is big. Enormous, in fact, in the way the each of its main notes is magnified to equal values and perhaps in these heavily armed states to do battle with one another. Nothing is subtle about Pulp. It's fruit as Surrealism, fruit as creature, fruit as so life-like that it transcends life in its crude and sadomasochistic exercise in compositional impasto. This is a gallery, not a pyramid: Slab after slab of fruit is layered upon the last. Nothing gives way. Add to this fleshiness (both botanic and human) and a big middle finger to the likes of Be Delicious. Wear it and feel like an art critic.
I've seen enough reviews of Pulp to realize that it smells different on and to everyone who tries it. On me, Pulp is fig, but it is also passionfruit, grapefruit, and apple. The fig is the woody and bark-like type; both of these qualities are enhanced by a base cedar. No contrast exists among the fruit notes and they exist equally in sour, almost rotten, and fermented states. This latter effect leads to at least the fig becoming whisky-like.
Pulp opens strong and rotten. A small bag that contained my samples smelled off-puttingly of decaying passionfruit, a note that leans towards the animalic. Upon application, the scent seemed shocked by an electric current of bergamot and torn open by a fig leaf that contributed a bitter grassiness.
Pulp is impassioned. Pulp is violent.
The opening doesn't prepare you for the onslaught that comes next: Fumes of alcohol rush off the center above a sudden flash of tiare-coconut. Each of the main fruit notes then explodes in turn and re-explodes, until you are not sure just what you are smelling. Perhaps part of the issue with Pulp is that it is hard to understand; to me it is a fantasy fragrance and not one meant to be taken literally as a perfume even as its rendering of the notes is as literal as is possible. I'd call it a dreamscape fragrance, in which a churning mash of fruit takes on a symbolic life of its own, however you interpret it.
Drydown is mildly perfume-y and contains--or perhaps I am dreaming--something like apricot kernel. This is where the cardamom note appears on me, probably because the fruit mash that precedes its appearance is so strong as to temporarily occlude it. I may even get the barest hint of coffee flower, but I'd not be surprised if this too were pure hallucination.
Lasting power wasn't tremendous. The fig was diminished by the drydown and the scent reduced to a peachy/powdery floral with only the barest hint of what had gone before. In this more conventional stage, Pulp is what is called "wearable," but it seems to me to be a cop-out or an apologia for what went before.
Pulp is enigmatic and bizarre. Don't come looking for tonal variations here. Expect to be stunned and maybe appalled. Pulp is looking for a visceral reaction and it gets one. continued >>
I sampled this fragrance and it had no staying power on my skin. However, I rubbed some on my tank top, and it stayed there all day. Pulp has a unique fruity/herbal smell, like someone making fresh figs and marinating them in some kind of rosemary. This is a nice fruit smell--not a barely legal kind of fruity. It's complicated and fresh, although I'm not sure I'd buy the whole bottle. Maybe next summer. This strikes me as a light, vibrant, unique summer scent. Kind of like Zoe Deschanel in a bottle.
I got a sneak sniff of this for $35 instead of paying a whopping $180 for the full sized bottle. I'm really glad I did because originally I seem to remember sniffing Pulp and thinking it was a very ripe juicy guava & blackcurrant scent. Unfortunately on my skin the fig is amped up so that I can't really smell anything else. One spritz of this lasts for hours and the drydown is rather icky on me. A very disappointing experience but at least I killed an expensive lemming in the process!
I've been on the lookout for a few new fragrances to add to my fragrance lineup and was intrigued by the reviews for Byredo Pulp. It sounded so good, I was just going to go ahead and order it, but the SA at Barneys suggested I try a sample first. When my sample arrived, I opened it excitedly and was immediately repelled. I could not believe the scent emanating from the tiny vial. It was exceedingly boozy and the sweetness was so concentrated that it was hard to believe it wasn't viscous. Of course, this didn't stop me from applying it.... several initially revolting fragrances have become my favorites. In this case, I made a mistake. On my skin in smelled exactly like scotch and raisins reduced to a paste over a high flame. I hung in there and eventually the sweetness retreated somewhat and I smelled hints of tart winesap apples, but the booziness never abated. It lasted for many hours and could not be removed. All in all, it was a headache inducing, husband repelling experience.
On paper, Pulp sounded like something I'd love, but my chemistry brought out the worst in it. This is a big fragrance with lots of personality... a love it or hate it scent. Totally worth trying and probably wonderful on the right person, but I strongly recommend sampling it first.
A raw figgy fruity scent. Many find this sweet, I don't find it very sweet. It accentuates the greenness of the fig, instead of the creaminess, and pairs it with grapefruit and a hint of apple. Think the fruity variant of green tomatoes, or fig + green tomatoes + Be Delicious. Very strong at application, good sillage and long lasting. To strong for hot summer wear for me, but perfect spring/autumn. Odd enough to fit the niche concept. The green note makes it more grown up than girly, yet maybe to cheerful & crazy for the strict office?
After having heard all the praise about Byredo's Pulp, I couldn't wait to try it. The first time was this past autumn at Colette in Paris and the second time was a month later at Les Senteurs in London. Even now, I am still wondering ........ what is the big deal about this perfume?? On me, Pulp is basically a grapefruit scent which evolves into black currant, blackberry and various other fruits. It is powerful and smells a lot like those sharp-ish fruity perfumes created by Jo Malone such as her Wild Fig and Cassis (which I don't like).
I guess one of the reasons I am also intrigued by Pulp is due to a story that I recently read on-line. Apparently a perfumista/bride-to-be wanted to have Pulp as the signature scent at her wedding and so obtained the church's permission to have several bottles of the not-inexpensive Pulp liberally sprayed before and during (hopefully discreetly) the church service so that her she, her groom and her guests would would forever associate Pulp with her wedding day.
Courtesy of The Perfumed Court, here are the notes for Pulp: top notes of bergamot, cardamom and blackcurrant; middle notes of red apple, fig and tiare; and base notes of cedar wood, praline and peach flower.
EDIT 11/16/2009: I'm still wearing this and to date, it's my husband's all-time favorite fragrance on me. Every time I put it on, he pulls me close and inhales deeply. :) Pulp is very, very cheeky and as I've been wearing it over the past year, it's one that I reach for when I need cheering up. Pulp doesn't pretend to be sophisticated or sexy. It's a loud, silly, wierd concoction. And I love it.
Oh man, this is so good!! Pulp is one delicious modern scent - full of juicy TART fruit accords and brought up to a finer level of goodness with a dash of cedar, praline and cardamom. On me I get a lot of crisp greens and tartness - very much like a combination of baked rhubarb and apple, but with enough sweetness and spice blended in to cut the acidity and make it delicious. And it has a decent lasting power. I find it stays well on the skin, over 5+ hours, though the sillage is pretty close. This one is good for daytime.
You might like this if you enjoy Bath and Body Works Country Apple.
$195 for 3.4 oz at Barneys. continued >>
What an interesting fragrance! Kind of unique. This definitely has fruit in it, a little too much for me personally, but this one is different enough that if you're on the fence re fruits, you might want to check this one out. Actually, it reminds me of some kind of alcoholic drink w/fruit that I had at some point in my life. I think the most prominent note is probably the red apple...but it's more like a winesap than a red delicious. Notes, per Basenotes: topnotes - bergamot, blackcurrent, cardmom; heart - fig, red apple, tiare; - cedarwood, praline, peach flower. Actually, I think this is nice enough to go use the rest of the sample. Call this one a 3.5