Average Rating 3.4/5
Review by Mac789
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.