Byredo La Tulipe : Perfume Review

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Niche perfumery is a handy term to encompass brands with limited distribution, but when it comes to quality or originality, it means absolutely nothing. Twenty years ago niche houses comprised just a handful of visionaries who wanted to do perfumery according to their own ideas rather than conventional marketing, but today it’s hard to argue that niche means better.

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What it does mean without fail is more expensive. Take Byredo La Tulipe for example. For $220, you get 100ml of perfume that smells disconcertingly like Febreeze. I’m not intending it as an off-the cuff remark. The original Febreeze scent is sophisticated floral with soft rose and lily of the valley notes. La Tulipe has more sparkle and layers, but at the heart of it is a simple fresh floral. It’s pretty enough, but I would rather enjoy something like this at Febreeze’s price (under $10).

La Tulipe doesn’t suggest Febreeze from its initial glittery notes, and the tart fruity top that lingers on the blotter seduced me into getting a sample. It has a delicious crunch, and it reminds me of biting into an ice cold green apple. This part melts into the floral heart which comprises most of the perfume. It’s fairly abstract, but there is a tinge of lily of the valley, green rose and grape-like freesia. At first, there is a slight fizz of aldehydes, which give a starched linen feel to La Tulipe.

Tulips themselves smell deliciously of potato peels and wet soil and the closest you get to this via La Tulipe is in the drydown when the damp earthiness of vetiver resurfaces. There is a pale layer of cedarwood and musk which wraps up this wan floral. Despite my expectations, it lasted forever.

La Tulipe notwithstanding, perfumes based on the idea of a delicate bouquet of flowers don’t have to be dull or smell like household products. Jour d’Hermès is my favorite in this genre. It’s fresh, easy to wear, and anything but flat. Chanel Gardénia is not a favorite, but it’s expertly put together and has an appealing, effervescent character. Another happy and distinctive floral I want to mention is Estée Lauder Pleasures.  It may be ubiquitous and familiar, but smell it next to La Tulipe and see how expensive and luxurious Pleasures is. If you want to dip your toes into niche waters, then Ormonde Jayne Tiaré, a dewy bouquet of spring blossoms, is my recommendation. Finally, if you want a fresh floral with a musky twist, Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely and Narciso Rodriguez for Her will hit the spot without breaking the bank.

Do you have any other recommendations for a pretty and reasonably priced floral perfume?

Byredo La Tulipe Eau de Parfum includes notes of rhubarb, cyclamen, freesia, tulip, blond woods, and vetiver. 100ml/$220.

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121 Comments

  • Anne of Green Gables: It’s sad that the truel spirit of niche perfumery has been lost. Were you just disappointed with the composition or do you think the ingridients used were also not high quality? I wonder how ‘fake’ niche houses justify their high prices. Do calling themselves niche and putting on high price tags attract naive customers? I guess if I don’t want to get ripped off, I should educate myself better! Your blog has been extremely helpful in that respect so thank you very much, Victoria.

    Since you’ve mentioned Jour d’Hermes, I have a question. When it first came out last year, I tested it but I immediately dismissed it because it smelled so different from what I expected it to be. Last weekend, I tried it again and I found it to be quite pleasant but I still find it difficult to get anything floral (which was what I was expecting in the first place). I find it green, spicy and salty – it reminds me of Un Jardin sur le Nil and Un Jardin Apre la Mousson. Something that smells like tomato vine really dominates. What is wrong with my nose? How could I ‘get’ the floral notes? September 17, 2013 at 8:20am Reply

    • Victoria: Of course, niche as a term is a vague one, so I use it mostly as a shorthand for brands with small distribution. It’s natural that as the field grows (there are several hundred brands with limited, niche distribution today), some of the offerings are more interesting than others. So, the spirit of innovation still exists in niche, it’s just that not every small brand means quality or innovation.

      As for the price, it’s often a strategy to price the brand into the luxury market. Another factor is that the niche brands often have smaller profit margins and the distributors take a big chunk, so the price has to be elevated in order to make the venture reasonable. Even so, many very successful small brands make far less money than it might seem based on their popularity, especially if they’re dedicated to quality in all aspects of their trade.

      I didn’t like La Tulipe because of its composition. The quality of ingredients is only one factor in the equation–you can make a great perfume on any budget, but here everything felt uninspired. Of course, it’s just my personal take. There must be people who had more success with this fragrance. September 17, 2013 at 8:32am Reply

      • Victoria: Oops, I wrote and wrote in reply to you and forgot about Jour d’Hermes. There is absolutely nothing wrong with your nose, that I can assure you. It’s just that with some perfumes you notice different facets and they form themselves into patterns very slowly. It’s like looking at Monet’s lilies very close up. You’ve described everything I find about Jour d’Hermes as well. Now, the floral part in this perfume is deliberately meant to be very abstract, so you have this glowing, radiant effect, rather than a single image–rose, jasmine, freesia. If you revisit it again and again, you will start noticing different floral touches, as if you were moving further and further away from an Impressionist painting. This is what makes Jour d’Hermes interesting and memorable to me. It’s seemingly very straightforward and minimalist, but when you wear it, you find some other elements in its composition.

        But if you want to find the flowers faster, imagine the florist shop with its very very light scent of petals and green leaves. Add a touch of lemon. Now, try to look for that effect in Jour d’Hermes. I think that you will find it about 30 minutes into wearing it when the sparkly top notes become a bit muted. September 17, 2013 at 8:41am Reply

        • Anne of Green Gables: Victoria, thank you so much for your thorough answer. I’m so grateful that you take your time to reply to each comment – honestly I don’t know how you manage to do that on the top of your work and all of your other projects.

          The way you’ve described the floral effect in Jour d’Hermes is very helpful. As you said, I think I had a problem because it was meant to be abstract (JCE intended it that way, right? as I read from your review of JdH) but I was looking for obvious, specific flowers. Next time I try it, I’ll try to imagine the florist shop as you suggested and hopefully I’ll ‘get’ it one day. I love your comparison to Monet’s painting. Monet is one of my favourite painters and many of JCE’s creations remind me of Monet’s paintings where colours blend in seamlessly (while having the clarity of watercolour paintings). September 17, 2013 at 12:07pm Reply

          • Victoria: Yes, the idea was to make a floral whirl, nothing distinctive. I get glimpses of different florals, but on the whole, everything is seamlessly blended.
            I really enjoy chatting with all of you here, so it feels like a treat to take a break from work and come here to reply. Plus, it’s fun to share what we discover together. It’s probably the best part of blogging for me. September 17, 2013 at 12:49pm Reply

  • Caroline: Nicolai’s Number One is all three: pretty, reasonably priced, and niche to boot. Haven’t tried anything by Byredo, and sounds like La Tulipe isn’t the place to start!
    While I quite enjoyed the 1st half hour of Jour d’Hermes, it morphed into a screechy persistent musk on me, alas. September 17, 2013 at 8:31am Reply

    • Victoria: My friend wears some Byredo perfumes, and Gypsy Water smelled very good on her. I haven’t yet tried it on my skin though.

      I can see why someone might dislike Jour d’Hermes, and yes, the musky drydown is very persistent. It doesn’t smell too sharp on me though, but it’s not a creamy, milky musk either. September 17, 2013 at 8:35am Reply

  • 2046: well, i have only tried 2 perfumes by byredo – seven veils and pulp. i don’t know if you’ve tried those two, but i really liked seven veils. it had a very intriguing sweet carrot note. pulp smelled like over-ripe fruit, but i thought it was interesting as well. i’m sorry the tulipe was a disappointment, though – certainly it sounds as though it could have been 1/10th the price and noone would be able to tell the difference.

    i find your suggested alternatives very useful, although i actually find estee lauder pleasures (and most of EL’s floral scents) to smell like laundry detergent – perhaps my nose is just not sophisticated enough! i must say that EL’s scents always have great lasting power, though. and jour d’hermes is beautiful, and can be found at a very affordable price. September 17, 2013 at 8:40am Reply

    • Victoria: It’s not the fault of Pleasures though. The accord was so trendsetting that it trickled down into the functional products, hair care, etc. The price of fame. 🙂

      Thank you for recommending Seven Veils. I will give it another try next time I’m at a local boutique that carries the line. September 17, 2013 at 8:44am Reply

  • george: The myth of niche! I often suspect that underlying the cost of niche is often the fact that designer fragrances are produced in such bulk they they can buy ingredients at lower prices, or – in the case of Chanel and Guerlain- have their own in house perfumers and ingredients manufacture- so what you are effectively paying for with niche is just the “niche” label. Also, I suspect that leading perfumers generally save their best work for what will be mass produced designer perfumes, and their hack work for the niche perfume’s creative director, and those niche company’s introductory range therefore consist of six generic fragrances falsely portrayed as artisanal. There are also some niche lines where the perfumer and the creative director have so little talent their whole lines are unwearable- naming no names, here. Of course there are some niche houses that are also superlative; so I am not completely cynical about the whole area; but when I hear person x who had a tiny part in producing successful range y is now producing their own niche range of six fragrances, I don’t get automatically excited. Pretty and reasonably priced florals are not really my thing, but I look forward to reading the recommendations. September 17, 2013 at 9:13am Reply

    • Victoria: Yes, that’s true. The supplier houses who produce materials or can create long-term arrangements with the producers of naturals offer much low prices for their fragrances.

      Sometimes the distributors or retailers push the brands to increase their prices in order to seem more luxurious. So, the price is really the worst possible parameter by which to judge quality. September 17, 2013 at 11:24am Reply

      • george: Out of interest- because I notice you haven’t reviewed any of them, and it seems related to this niche discussion- there have been a lot of Piguet scents post Futur- have you just not found them that interesting? September 17, 2013 at 11:37am Reply

        • Victoria: I haven’t even caught up trying them all! I have always mentioned how much I like RP not launching one scent after another, and boom–we have a bunch of new perfumes. September 17, 2013 at 11:59am Reply

          • george: I think you have 13? to catch up on. Although Futur- it seems- has been discontinued already! September 18, 2013 at 5:58am Reply

            • Victoria: Just thinking about it makes me feel exhausted. September 18, 2013 at 8:13am Reply

          • Henrique Brito: You are not missing nothing Victoria, the latest Robert Piguet fragrances are that kind of ready-to-go luxury composition that you can pour into any bottle and label to any brand. Well done but very massive, nothing unique or really related to what would be a modern take on Robert Piguet heritage. September 19, 2013 at 9:12am Reply

  • machula: I have Byredo’s Bal d’Afrique and think it’s a beautifully made vetiver scent and I love it to bits (despite the price).
    I’m glad that you mention that niche generally means a high price but not always high quality or something innovative. I find that over the years, with the niche sector booming, it has become somewhat dull and very often, what sells is the mere word “niche” and not really the (quality of) perfume itself. Just like the expression “mainstream perfume” need not necessarily mean bad quality or mediocre, “niche”does not guarantee quality. September 17, 2013 at 9:26am Reply

    • Victoria: Exactly! I completely agree with you. Another thing is that many niche perfumes are inspired by successful large launches, so it makes no sense to discriminate. September 17, 2013 at 11:25am Reply

  • rosarita: I’m glad to read this review. A generous perfumeista included a decant of La Tulipe in a swap package and since I have been reaching to florals to expand my comfort zone, I was looking forward to trying it; it’s gotten a lot of positive mention on various blogs and forums. I felt as if I had found the Emperor’s New Clothes, and I felt the same way about Gypsy Water. I find both to be bland, forgettable and short lived. This is an experience I’ve had many times since I found the niche market some 8 or 9 years ago, esp. as new brands and releases have proliferated at an overwhelming rate. I wore Pleasures in the 90s and loved it, until I rediscovered my preference for dark and spicy scents; I still have a mini of the parfum and will do a scent comparison soon. Lise Watier Neiges is a floral composition I remember loving, now that I think of it. Maybe my search for florals is unnecessary, since I’m now remembering two I enjoyed at one time. September 17, 2013 at 9:26am Reply

    • george: “Emperor’s new clothes” is often what I feel about niche lines, too. September 17, 2013 at 9:38am Reply

    • Victoria: Phew, I’m glad I’m not the only one then. Based on the scents I’ve tested so far I wasn’t too moved by the line. There are a couple others I haven’t yet tried so far. You never know, there might be some surprises. The founder sounds like an absolutely fascinating person based on the interviews. September 17, 2013 at 11:31am Reply

  • FeralJasmine: When I first got into perfume seriously, I was dying to try all things niche and indie. Now, when I look back, I realize that some of my best tries were mainstream (the deep and elegant Black Cashmere comes to mind) and some of my worst buys were niche/indie ( a company I won’t name, all of whose expensive and elaborately described oils smell pretty much the same.) I am delighted to support the many serious and even inspired niche/indie perfumers out there, and I have the depleted bank account to prove it, but the proof is in the bottle, and no amount of blather about “sourcing the finest possible ingredients” will impress me if my nose tells me the result is bland or clunky. September 17, 2013 at 9:41am Reply

    • Victoria: The talk of “finest ingredients” tires me out too. Mostly, because it means very little. Some great perfumes were created with nothing extravagant. Edmond Roudnitska crafted Femme based on a material that might have been contaminated. It was during the war and he had to make do with whatever he had. Dior J’Adore (the original beauty) was not an over the top expensive scent, but it smelled like gold. There are so many other examples.

      Plus, one can also put the richest materials together and come up with something unwearable. I would rather hear the authentic story how the scent was created, rather than some canned marketing line. September 17, 2013 at 11:34am Reply

  • FeralJasmine: As long as you’ve opened the floodgates to a rant, Victoria, one of my pet peeves is the “all-natural” group. I own, wear, and love a number of all-naturals, but I think that they require even more skill from the perfumer than the others, and are too often made by people who love to dabble with essential oils and absolutes but don’t really understand perfume. In many cases they are indistinguishable from the oils sold at my local health food store, but cost 5-10x more. There, end of rant! September 17, 2013 at 10:04am Reply

    • Victoria: All-natural perfumes are extremely tricky, but I still have sympathy for people who try to create an indie line on their own. In some cases, we as consumers become their evaluators, so to speak, as we try scents and give our feedback. And the lines evolve little by little. Ultimately, for the all-natural lines the sourcing of materials is even more complicated and expensive, hence the high prices. September 17, 2013 at 11:38am Reply

      • FeralJasmine: And for the really good ones, I am happy (well, sort of) to pay the price. Which brings me to a totally off-topic question: I recently bought an indie perfume that contained some genuine ambergris tincture, as well as a tiny precious vial of the ambergris tincture itself. I am drawn to it viscerally, in a way that I can’t explain but can’t resist either. Is there anything on the mass or niche market that focuses on the Ambergris Effect? September 17, 2013 at 12:06pm Reply

  • ralu: I too am disappointed in Byredo. Some of them smell quite nice (Bal D’Afrique, Nine Veils) but lasting power is disappointing and sillage is weak. Niche doesn’t mean better necessarily and, at times, I feel that the more I try niche perfumes, the more I go mainstream. September 17, 2013 at 10:25am Reply

    • Victoria: To whoever says that department store or mass market perfumes are always cheap, I like to point to Britney Spears Curious. It contains quite a significant dose of natural rose essence! September 17, 2013 at 11:40am Reply

      • FeralJasmine: That is so interesting. I will have to test that one. Are there mass-market perfumes that contain a good dose of jasmine absolute? September 17, 2013 at 11:56am Reply

        • Elisa: To my nose and from the look of the juice, Lust from Lush/Gorilla has a lot of real jasmine. September 17, 2013 at 12:01pm Reply

          • Victoria: I haven’t tried Lust yet, but Robin of NST who has quite a nose for jasmine reported positively on it. It’s now on my list. Wondering if Lush is sold anywhere in Belgium… September 17, 2013 at 12:10pm Reply

            • Elisa: It’s sort of like a more garish version of Songes! It smells like metallic honey 🙂 September 17, 2013 at 12:11pm Reply

              • Victoria: That’s a great recommendation! 🙂 September 17, 2013 at 2:57pm Reply

            • george: The mere thought of Lust always makes me laugh, because of what happened when I went to the gorilla perfumes launch for Lust (and other perfumes). There were individual rooms themed for the new perfumes, including a very messy woman’s bedroom for Lust. In all of the individual rooms there were Lush employees who had been given scripts to describe the perfumes in whose themed room they had been placed. In the Lust room, the employee described the Lust wearer as being a bit of ladette who goes out gets really drunk and has lots of one night stands. During the speech, there were a mention of the male of owner of Lush as being the perfumer. As I knew the perfumer for the Never B 2 busy to B Beautiful range (to which the Lush range was linked) was a woman, I asked if she still worked for Lush- to which the employee replied ‘yes. In fact, she inspired this perfume.’ She said this without being seemingly aware that anyone would join up the dots between this fact and the description already given of the perfume in a way that would be- perhaps- less than complimentary. It was very funny. Back then, at least, Lust was certainly a heavy jasmine not afraid of reminding you that the flowers are that plant’s sex organs. Slavoj zizek would not like it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5yoqjABeBM September 17, 2013 at 1:17pm Reply

              • Elisa: Ha! Yes, Lust definitely smells kind of trampy, so it’s fun to wear the way fishnet stockings are fun to wear. (There’s a time and a place for it) September 17, 2013 at 3:00pm Reply

              • Victoria: It sounds like a riot! Makes me think of Agent Provocateur more than Lush. September 17, 2013 at 3:25pm Reply

                • maja: Lust is also made as a soap and it smells heavily of jasmin. It lingers on for a long time. The color is great, too. 🙂 September 18, 2013 at 2:12am Reply

                  • Victoria: Oh, I can’t wait to try it! Thank you for another vote of confidence. September 18, 2013 at 8:12am Reply

                    • george: If you are doing so as an extension of this article- i.e. commentary on price point, ingredients and exclusivity- it might be worth trying Imogen Rose from the line as well. September 18, 2013 at 8:44am

              • Victoria: Thank you, George! What did you think of Imogen Rose? September 18, 2013 at 8:45am Reply

        • Victoria: It’s not mass market, but Dior J’Adore Le Jasmin does. Guerlain Mayotte/Mahora had a whopping dose. Again, not a mass market perfume. Mostly, you have to look to classics at the department stores like Joy, Miss Dior (even today’s version), Lanvin Arpege, Cuir de Russie by Chanel, Van Cleef et Arpels First, Cacharel Anais Anais to find natural jasmine. Jasmine absolute has always been one of the most expensive materials. September 17, 2013 at 12:07pm Reply

          • Andy: Fascinating! When I smelled it, I thought that the florals in Anaïs Anaïs had a lot more complexity than the price would let on. I’m sure there is not a ton of an expensive material like jasmine absolute in there, but I guessing its presence had something to do with the surprising complexity I found. September 17, 2013 at 8:36pm Reply

            • Victoria: It’s an impeccably crafted fragrance. When a talented perfumer is at work, he knows how to use materials to their full potential. And in case of Anais Anais, there were several very good perfumers working on it, so it was a team effort.
              Anyone can throw bunch of expensive ingredients together, but it’s not a guarantee that a perfume will smell any good at all. September 18, 2013 at 8:03am Reply

      • george: I’ve gone up in the thread, otherwise you will have a three metre long comment, and this is likely to be quite an exposition.

        Firstly, I’m not a big fan of the Lush perfumes I have smelled (I would agree with The Guide describing Breath of God as deserving five stars for its initial idea- it sort of reads like a Geranium pour Monsieur, but constructed with COMPLETELY different ingredients- but wouldn’t agree with a five star rating for execution, as I find some aspects of it to be unpleasant, and I say that as someone who as owned and smelled it a lot), and on the day I smelled Imogen Rose (I have only smelled it once and briefly), a lot of the other perfumes had a similar- to my nose- slight lack of refinement, although they were often great in idea.
        As a result, at the end of the tour, Imogen Rose was the only one I would have considered buying (although Lust would have been a contender if i had been more jasmine focused), and I congratulated myself at being able to pick out their most expensive perfume (of course). It’s a sort of a harajuku version of Chanel No.18- i.e. with a huge focus on the rose ingredient, but with a baby powder accord thrown in. What I do like about it (in retrospect) is that (as claimed) it uses a lot of rose oil and absolute (I would hope a more expert nose like yours might pick the proportions, but it smelled like it was using the good stuff to my nose) but it doesn’t apologise for these ingredients or hide them away. Another high flung (this time, dark) rose I tried recently was introduced by a sales associate as containing another ingredient to tone down the rose absolute, which to me sounds like a nonsense (because at that point, if it needs toning down, why isn’t it cheap, and why use it if it is expensive?), and beyond the opening- with regard to that fragrance- what rose was in it was overshadowed.
        Most of the Lush shop staff I have encountered really enter into a really strong “positive” ethos, and- by all reports- really love working there and the products. But- I’m afraid- I’m not a positivist, and in the end (whether influenced by the actual fragrance, or the surrounding ethos) I decided not to buy Imogen Rose, because it felt maybe too much like an effort to be fun, funky and outgoing, when- admittedly- I like a bit of restraint as well. I should try probably it again, just to see which. However, “Harajuku No. 18” seems as good a summary as any for now. I would expect it to have been longer lasting, if I had stayed with it.

        I think comparing and contrasting Imogen Rose with No.18, and Lust with A la Nuit would make a great article by yourself, especially because I think your nose could more adeptly pull out the differences in ingredients, and examine the costs, respectively, and comparatively. September 18, 2013 at 10:49am Reply

        • Victoria: Thank you for this detailed explanation, George! This is a review in itself. I love the idea of a Harajuku No 18, especially since the scents I’ve smelled in Harajuku was utterly bizarre but strangely compelling. September 18, 2013 at 1:12pm Reply

        • Ann: I’m going out on a limb here with my not very good frangrance memory… but my desire to hear what others think outweighs my concern that I might just not be remembering these fragrances correctly… but I think I had the same issue with Lust that I have with Donna Karan Gold, a pretty cream tabby cat goes by smelling of Jasmine and Lily and then shakes its tail just as it passes spashing brackish water… that is the best way to describe it, if brackish were a smell…faint, but salty, brackish finish. I got that off of Lust and Gold. Anyone else have that experience? September 26, 2013 at 5:44pm Reply

  • Zazie: I fear my opinion of la tuilpe might be even less appreciateive than yours: I must be hypernosmic to some of those ubiquitous, laundry-type white musks…La Tulipe swallowed me alive like a huge hungry laundromat, no kidding. The opening was interesting enough to lure me into a skin test: big mistake.
    Truth to be told, I hate Jour d’hermes and pleasures just as much.

    My suggestion for a pretty, green tinged and clean floral is Kai. Not a bargain, but still very affordable. The oil is my travel staple, and I love its simple but potent charms.

    I find your observations about niche very true: Byredo as a brand crafts many likeable fragrances, the bottles are cute and the names are great. Are they worth the price?
    But perfumes “worth the price” – that could be a topic of its own!

    I can count on one hand the “niche” brands that equal soul, vision and quality to me. Actually, at most they check 2 of those 3 tags. Foolish prices don’t do a big service to a niche brand, as far as I am concerned…Occasionally, if I love something very very much and can’t let it go, I consent to be fooled around a bit. 😛 September 17, 2013 at 10:58am Reply

    • Victoria: At least, unlike with wine, gourmet food or some other things, we can try perfume for free (without having to purchase a full bottle) and decide for ourselves. Unfortunately, for small brands, it might be extremely extremely hard to keep prices low. Besides all of the factors I mentioned already earlier, the packaging is another huge one. The industry is still designed for large volumes.

      All in all, I don’t think that every brand with high prices is a sham, but really, how can a consumer figure out whether their 200 euro bottle is worth it in some objective way or not. By Kilian and Tom Ford perfumes, for instance, are very expensive, but the quality of the compositions stands out too. September 17, 2013 at 11:47am Reply

    • nozknoz: Zazie, you’re right – Kai smells great! September 17, 2013 at 7:51pm Reply

  • Elisa: My favorite reasonably priced floral is Flower by Kenzo.

    I really love Pulp so I can’t write Byredo off entirely, but the prices do seem outlandish for what you get. September 17, 2013 at 11:15am Reply

    • Anne of Green Gables: I agree with Flower by Kenzo. It’s a very pretty scent with good sillage and longevity. I love it and am currently considering whether to get a full bottle. September 17, 2013 at 11:36am Reply

      • Elisa: Get it! You can find it at discounters for under $40. It’s so wearable and I love the long drydown. September 17, 2013 at 11:54am Reply

        • Lena: Sorry to chime in on your conversation! Does anyone know if there is a difference between buying perfume at the discounters and the mall/store? For example, I keep seeing SL Bois de Violette at the discounters. Is it safe to buy? September 17, 2013 at 1:03pm Reply

          • Victoria: They must be coming from the resellers, most likely unauthorized. I wouldn’t worry about it being fake in case of SL, but it’s very likely to be less than fresh. For the amount of money you save, this may not worth the risk of getting stuck with an old bottle. September 17, 2013 at 3:17pm Reply

            • Lena: Great! Thank you! 🙂 September 17, 2013 at 4:19pm Reply

        • Anne of Green Gables: I’ve been avoiding the purchase because it felt almost too pretty for me to wear but as I’ve been wearing the EdP sample, it gave me so much pleasure throughout the whole day (I only need to apply it once in the morning-such an amazing longevity!) so now it’s on the top of my list for FB. 🙂 September 17, 2013 at 4:15pm Reply

          • annemariec: And remember the Tania Sanchez rule: if you love something, buy it. Otherwise you will end up on eBay bidding against other poor fools who should have bought it when they could. Admittedly Flower is unlikely to suddenly disappear, but think of Cuir de Lancome … Theorema … September 17, 2013 at 8:24pm Reply

      • Victoria: I 2nd Elisa! If you love it, do get it. It’s one of the best cashmere wrap perfumes out there. September 17, 2013 at 12:00pm Reply

    • Victoria: In comparison to some other lines though like Xerjoff or Tom Ford Private Blends, $220 for 100ml begins to seem reasonable. But for me, anything over 150 dollars seems too high. September 17, 2013 at 11:51am Reply

      • Elisa: $150 is about my cutoff too, at that point I settle for a decant or purse spray, etc. September 17, 2013 at 11:53am Reply

        • Victoria: Me too. Plus, perfume doesn’t stay fresh forever, so I’m liking small sizes and purse sprays more and more. September 17, 2013 at 12:01pm Reply

      • 2046: personally i have only spent over 100 euros on a fragrance ever – carnal flower by frederic malle, which now is 350 usd per 100ml.. insane, but i think that nowadays it is becoming near impossible to find good fragrances for 100 usd or less! even mainstream ones like angel et al are approaching that price point.

        and to respond to your previous reply, you’re so right about the trickle-down effect! i wish my previous associations would not prevent me from enjoying fragrances; for example, i cannot like jicky because of the lavender – lavender always seems “cheap” to me! even though jicky is not at all cheap-smelling; odd how that works… September 17, 2013 at 12:42pm Reply

        • Victoria: Even Annick Goutal’s which were always very reasonably priced seem more expensive. The price increase is understandable, because the price for raw materials themselves is going up. I was scanning the shelves at Sephora recently, and like you, I noticed that even the prestige (department store) brands are inching in the $100 direction. September 17, 2013 at 3:14pm Reply

        • Hannah: $100 for 50 or 100ml? $100/50ml isn’t really impossible. I can get one of my favorite leathers (Cuir Ottoman $75/50ml at luckyscent. iirc it is much more expensive at First in Fragrance, though), one of my favorite woody perfumes (Wonderwood $95/50ml), one of my favorite spicy perfumes (CDG edp $95/50ml), one of my favorite gourmands (Coze $100/50ml), one of my favorite incense perfumes (Ouarzazate $80/50ml), and one of my favorite green perfumes (Philosykos edt $88/50ml).
          The only $100/100ml niche releases I know of are Padparadscha by Satellite and the perfumes by Les Nereides. Padparadscha is $80/100ml and it is good (but not great) and the bottle is so pretty (in pictures, at least). Les Nereides perfumes are $70/100ml. I have a sample of Opoponax and it is nice but one-note (but people do spend more for one-note vanillas all the time). September 17, 2013 at 11:26pm Reply

  • Austenfan: Oh dear, only one star. You really didn’t like it then.
    I have never tried any of the Byredo’s. There are just too many lines. And too little time and skin. September 17, 2013 at 12:20pm Reply

    • Victoria: Not really. 🙂 I also had such high expectations, because I love the smell of tulips and was excited that someone finally tackled it. September 17, 2013 at 2:58pm Reply

      • Surbhi: Could it be skin type. Smells wonderful on me. My friend hates it but loves it on me. June 6, 2015 at 9:16pm Reply

        • Victoria: Or personal tastes. I don’t think that it smells bad or unpleasant, but I just don’t enjoy it. And that’s ok. We don’t need to love same things, and some difference of opinion is a good thing. June 8, 2015 at 2:09am Reply

  • Suss: The one Byredo perfume I really like is “Bullion”. Lovely floral/leather smell. It’s way better then the rest of the line which , as pointed out, isn’t that original. To be honest I also like some of their candles. Some of the best you can get Stockholm (where international brands like Cire trudon and Diptyque has limited distribution). September 17, 2013 at 12:49pm Reply

    • Victoria: I think that their candles are nicer than the perfumes. And the presentation of the whole line is great–clean font, strong contrasts, beautiful bottles. September 17, 2013 at 3:15pm Reply

      • Suss: Ben Gorham has indeed created a great retail experience. The shop in Stockholm is wonderful. September 18, 2013 at 12:42pm Reply

  • Aisha: I have to remember this the next time I start coveting niche fragrances, that “niche” doesn’t always mean “better.” Thank goodness I have this community to guide me in my choices. I’m very happy with my bottle of Vanille Tonka. Extremely happy, in fact.

    You know my floral is Paris. I’ve tried other fragrances, but always return to it when I want a floral. I know it’s a rose, but on me I smell mostly the violets, and the scent reminds me of the violet candy my grandmother would buy for me and my sister.

    As for Pleasures. Yes, it’s a very pretty foral scent that won’t break the bank. I used to wear it a lot. Unfortunately, it’s everywhere here where I live. I know fragrances smell differently on different people, but the scent is too familiar. If I want to blend in to a crowd, I use that one. But when I want to feel unique (without fumigating people out of a building), I reach for Pleasures Delight. It’s safe (Angel wasn’t “me”, even though I enjoy it now), but just different enough to stand out — in a good way. 😉 September 17, 2013 at 1:14pm Reply

    • Victoria: Your comment about Paris reminded me that its creator, perfumer Sophia Grojsman, always says that people (even other perfumers) don’t understand Paris if they call it a rose. According to her, it’s a violet. It’s as if she wanted to make a big, lush blossom out of tiny violet petals.

      I also liked Pleasures Delight very much. Now, that’s a fun, delicious blend that is easy to wear but is still very interesting.

      It’s very hard to make sense of the hundreds of launches! I’m also glad that I can always ask a question here and receive some helpful advice. September 17, 2013 at 3:21pm Reply

      • Aisha: I’m not an expert, so I don’t know if Sophia Grojsman created a technical masterpiece in Paris. All I know is that the scent really makes my heart soar. 🙂 I still haven’t tried the reformulated version of the EDP, but I’m curious. September 17, 2013 at 7:59pm Reply

        • Victoria: That’s the only thing that matters! 🙂 I imagine that Paris wears so beautifully on you. September 18, 2013 at 7:59am Reply

          • Aisha: My husband and our 10-year-old son think so.
            🙂 September 18, 2013 at 9:30am Reply

  • Jen: I’m so excited to read your review. I have been curious about this scent for some time based on all the wonderful things I’ve heard about it. However, I was having a hard time even ordering a sample based on the hefty price tag. Now I feel like I can skip it. Whew! September 17, 2013 at 1:15pm Reply

    • Victoria: If it were less pricey, I would have urged you to try it anyway. But at this price range you can do so much better. September 17, 2013 at 3:21pm Reply

  • Eastofeden: Enjoyed this post. I have not tried La Tulipe. But your thoughts matched mine when I smelled Amethyst Lalique this weekend. My reaction was this is pleasant but considering the price I’ll buy one of the Downy Expressions fabric softeners since that is what it reminded me of.

    Expensive does not always mean better and cheap can sometimes surprise you. September 17, 2013 at 2:31pm Reply

    • Victoria: “Expensive does not always mean better and cheap can sometimes surprise you.”
      I agree 100%. Plus, some brands like Yves Rocher can afford to spend more on the perfume itself (since they distribute themselves and don’t do big, splashy ads) than some “luxury” houses. September 17, 2013 at 3:39pm Reply

  • Michaela: One great cheap floral used to be Rose Absolue Yves Rocher, nowadays discontinued, unfortunately. One of the best florals IMHO and probably my best go to rose comfort fragrance ever.

    This Byredo review put a smile on my face since Miruna, when reviewing it, had a hard time finding her words. It took her ages to complete it. Like you, she loves tulips and had high expectations. The smell of tulip… it’s not to be found here. But I’ll tell you where I have alaways thought I could smell tulips: in Y de YSL. Y smells like tulips stems, smahed in a crispy cold and sunny morning. I grow tulips in my garden and each time I cut them for cut flowers I perfume myself with their green, moist and dignified smell. They do smell dignified and classy, the tulips. Love them! My weding bouquet was of white tulips. September 17, 2013 at 4:25pm Reply

    • Victoria: Your wedding bouquet sounds gorgeous, Michaela! If I got married in a traditional way (my wedding was in India), I would have picked white tulips and lily of the valley. Or jasmine (but of course! 🙂 In fact, it reminds me that there is a new fragrance from Atkinson’s inspired by Queen Victoria’s wedding bouquet which included white flowers, but I haven’t tried it yet. September 18, 2013 at 7:49am Reply

  • minette: ah, but will it make me feel queasy the way febreeze does? for that much money, one would hope it would make me puke. 😉 September 17, 2013 at 7:24pm Reply

    • Victoria: I hope not! Not an outcome one wants. 🙂 September 18, 2013 at 7:49am Reply

  • nozknoz: I agree with Zazie on Kai, and PdN Le Temps d’une Fête is certainly one of the prettiest and most reasonably priced florals. There was concern that it was to be discontinued, but I’m seeing it on Luckyscent as backordered with shipment estimated at late September.

    I’m not really up on mainstream, but what about Estee Lauder Beyond Paradise and Tuberose Gardenia? Sometimes I like Prada Infusion d’Iris, although to me it’s more of a musk that creates a floral impression than a true floral.

    The pretty floral that is really tempting me is Hermes Iris Ukiyoé. At $240 it costs even more than La Tulipe, but every time I use my small travel spray I think I can’t bear to run out of it. September 17, 2013 at 8:19pm Reply

    • Victoria: Le Temps d’une Fête is thankfully going to remain, as far as I know. It’s such an exquisite floral that smells of spring itself. Beyond Paradise is another one I liked, but I found it a bit too one-dimensional and persistent. Yet, every time I wore it, I got lots of compliments. It’s certainly not boring. And I like your other suggestions too. Might wear Tuberose Gardenia today, since it’s so grey and rainy. Tuberose Gardenia will be like a ray of sunshine. September 18, 2013 at 8:01am Reply

  • Natalie: I agree 100% with your statements about niche, Victoria; I really don’t expect price and quality to have a correlative relationship in perfume.

    That said, I do love La Tulipe, and I do think it is special. To me, it does smell like tulips – specifically, like cut tulip stems. The delicacy of the floral and green notes is, I think, really unique.

    I don’t question the validity of what you’re smelling of course (I hope that goes without saying, given your expertise in this area! 🙂 ). I just wanted to offer a counter perspective. I can’t say La Tulipe would be worth the high price for everyone (it is ridiculously expensive), but I have never regretted buying it at full price. It’s one of my favorite perfumes ever. September 17, 2013 at 8:57pm Reply

    • Victoria: Goodness, Natalie, you or anyone else can disagree with me anytime and question the validity of my musings. I always appreciate another perspective, and it’s very helpful too. Plus, we each bring our own associations and perspectives to anything we experience, and even more so, with something as ethereal as perfume. September 18, 2013 at 8:07am Reply

      • rainboweyes: I also think there are many more scents worse than La Tulipe, having the same price tag (I’m looking at you, Byredo Blanche). Actually, in my opinion that’s the problem with most light florals – they are not overly innovative.

        My personal example of exorbitant pricing is MDCI La Belle Helene – although a lovely scent, for me it is ridiculously expensive for what it is. September 18, 2013 at 3:26pm Reply

        • Victoria: It takes some effort to make a light floral interesting, but it’s not impossible. Plus, I love light florals (that’s a big chunk of what I wear day to day). September 19, 2013 at 11:40am Reply

    • Surbhi: I love it. It really is pick me up scent. I waited the whole month in February for spring to wear it. June 6, 2015 at 9:24pm Reply

  • nozknoz: By the way, there used to be Hilde Soliani Il Tuo Tulipano. Now there are ITT Yellow and ITT Red (on Luckyscent). I remember thinking that my small sample of ITT smelled very pretty but never spent enough time with it to come to a conclusion. Has anyone else tried these? September 17, 2013 at 11:16pm Reply

    • Victoria: I have the samples, but I haven’t tried them. So, I might have to dig through my boxes and look for them. If anyone else has tried them, I would also be curious to find out. September 18, 2013 at 8:09am Reply

  • annemariec: Very glad to see Pleasures mentioned, and NR for her and SJP Lovely. I see myself as a bit of a Queen of Mainstream because often I can’t afford niche. Niche us like a bottomless hole into which the unwary or naive could forever be tipping money, for relatively small return. Luckily for me I seem to wear EL fragrances quite well, so Pleasures, Beautiful and Private Collection are in regular rotation. Recent loves are Prada Candy and Elie Saab. (Whispering: I even love White Diamonds and the current formulation of the 1975 Chloe. How low can you go? 🙂 September 18, 2013 at 12:45am Reply

    • Jennifer C: Don’t feel bad, there are a few Elizabeth Taylors that I like too. I have a 30ml of Gardenia that I got at TJ Maxx for $8. It’s not going to blow anybody’s mind, but for so little money it’s a decent soft gardenia. I also have a mini of Passion and a partial bottle of Black Pearls, both of which I picked up at antique shops. I like them both. Granted, they’re older bottles, so I don’t know what how more recent formulations may have fared. September 18, 2013 at 4:15am Reply

      • annemariec: Interesting point. I sometimes muse to myself that while we throw up our hands in horror at the reformulation of classics from Dior and Guerlain, the lower end stuff does not seem to rate a mention. Was it because the Elizabeth Taylor type fragrances, and even some of the Lauders, were never made of IFRA targeted materials in the first place? September 18, 2013 at 5:17am Reply

        • Victoria: There are several reasons for this. One of them is that Elizabeth Taylor perfumes aren’t mentioned often on the blogs and forums. I’m not sure why; perhaps it’s because people assumesthat they are not interesting or they’re tired of celebrity scents. In fact, they’re really well made and Liz herself had some input into creating them. ET was reformulated numerous times. But the perfumes have so much character that even a reformulation can’t change that. September 18, 2013 at 5:28am Reply

    • Aisha: My very first perfume was Love’s Baby Soft, followed by Emeraude (middle school years). There are days I wish I still had bottles of those from my youth. 🙂 I don’t think there’s any shame in loving an inexpensive scent. September 18, 2013 at 7:38am Reply

      • Aisha: Oh! Prada’s Candy is on my Christmas wish list. It might end up being a fragrance from me, to me. 😉 September 18, 2013 at 7:39am Reply

        • Victoria: Sounds like a wonderful Christmas present. I love Candy! September 18, 2013 at 8:17am Reply

      • Victoria: I’m enthusiastically seconding Aisha’s comment. There is no shame at all in loving perfumes that are either popular or inexpensive. September 18, 2013 at 8:17am Reply

    • Victoria: For this reason, I always recommend newcomers to this hobby to start out with the department store brands like Chanel, Lancome, Lauder, Hermes, Marc Jacobs, Prada, Kenzo, etc. These lines contain excellent, even legendary perfumes, and you can really hone your nose on them without spending too much money on niche scents. Plus, even the most depressing malls contain a perfume counter that carries some of these lines. September 18, 2013 at 8:12am Reply

    • nozknoz: I’m an EL fan, too. Many of the ELs are better than an increasing percentage of niche perfumes. September 18, 2013 at 10:46pm Reply

  • Annikky: Funny, how an occasional one-star review is so refreshing. Much more fun than the three-star ones J

    I must say I’ve got a soft spot for Byredo, for several reasons:

    1. It’s Swedish. It just gladdens me that fine fragrance isn’t restricted to French, Italian and American brands.
    2. Ben Gorham seems very cool. A tattooed ex-basketball player with a love for perfume? Seriously, there is no way I can resist that.
    3. I love the DNA of the brand. I know it’s supposed to be about the juice only, but I like the aesthetic of Byredo, the modernity of the entire concept and it’s positioning. I think if we want the perfume industry to develop and not become a stagnant nostalgia-business, we seriously need brands like this. It’s probably not a recommendation in everyone’s book, but Byredo is one of the very few fragrance brands (the other is Le Labo) I see mentioned on cool beauty or fashion blogs.

    That said, I’m yet to find true love when it comes to Byredo fragrances. I approve of Pulp, as it’s bold and distinctive (and smells good on my boyfriend) and Gypsy Water is nice. I haven’t tried them all, though, so will keep smelling. I do, however, love their Bibliotheque candle, the leather-violet-plum scent is wonderful and it looks perfect.

    Regarding the affordable florals – I was browsing in a department store the other day and was really struck by the fact that you can get a bottle of Chanel Cristalle for something like 40 euros. And then there are Guerlain Lys Soleia, Michael Kors, EL Tuberose Gardenia and Jasmine and White Moss, even Marc Jacobs Daisy – all great fragrances and not expensive. From the niche, I don’t think Parfums de Nicolai can be trumped for a reasonably priced floral. September 19, 2013 at 4:25am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you! I completely agree with you, especially part #2. Add to it, Ben Gorham’s fascinating Indian-Canadian-Swedish background and his vision for the brand. I would rate Byredo highly on everything, except for the juice itself. Perhaps, that’s the style his creative direction prefers, but to me, it’s just not distinctive enough to warrant the price. Not surprised at all that both Le Labo and Byredo figure on beauty and style blogs, since they have this contemporary pared down style that most brands either can’t carry off or can’t grasp. September 19, 2013 at 12:08pm Reply

  • Henrique Brito: You hit the nail on what i think about Byredo overall Victoria: expensive fragrances that doesn’t live up to their exclusive price and distribution. I tried some and gave up of their line, since i don’t see any trace of originallity, even on their most riskiest fragrance, M/MInk, which for me is just a mash-up of ideas found in fragrances like Secretions Magnifiques, Miel du Bois and muscs koublai khan. Their Encens Chembur is just a slightly better version of one Alain Delon flanker fragrance, Samourai 47. Their Blanc is the worst one so far, it smells like one of those ironing products. Really, Byredo is one of my examples of a bad niche brand – which seems to be an economic trend lately. September 19, 2013 at 9:07am Reply

    • Victoria: I still find some interesting ideas in the line, but I would love for them to be developed stronger. I picked on Byredo in this review, but really, this applies to many niche lines. I would love for more substance, not just style (though their style is impeccable). September 19, 2013 at 12:13pm Reply

      • Henrique Brito: I know exactly what you mean, i have tried some brands recentely and i see a kind of homogenization on their lines, notes, inspirations. The fragrances are nice, but nothing else. I don’t know, interesting ideas that doesn’t develop into interesting fragrances are for me like products with a good design and without usability. Doesn’t make much sense on my mind… September 19, 2013 at 10:57pm Reply

        • Victoria: Their candles are very good though. Have you tried any? September 20, 2013 at 4:11am Reply

          • Henrique Brito: Unfortunately no 🙁 September 20, 2013 at 9:58am Reply

      • Henrique Brito: The impression that i have is that more and more niche is occupying an space left by, let’s say “commercial brands”. Even the distribution aspect can be discussed lately, since brands considered niche, like Serge Lutens, can be more easily find than in the past. Maybe we’ll see new types of perfume brands starting to arrive in the future? Also, sometimes i wonder if this trend will not reach some day indie brands too September 19, 2013 at 11:04pm Reply

        • Victoria: That’s normal for the brand to grow and change its distribution. For instance, you can easily find Chanel at the most depressing of malls and perfumeries, but it doesn’t affect its image. Of course, this was not the case in the 1980s for Chanel, but today their strategy is hitting the fine line between available and ubiquitous. September 20, 2013 at 4:12am Reply

  • Henrique Brito: Oh, i forgot about Pulp, which some seem to love and i found nauseating – and also a stronger version of Angel Innocent. September 19, 2013 at 9:16am Reply

    • Victoria: It was a bit too sweet for me, but it sounds like you had a much worse experience than I did. September 19, 2013 at 12:14pm Reply

      • Henrique Brito: Yes. So far, there is only one byredo that i liked – green. And even though i don’t know if would have this one. I was curious for their oud line, but honestly i know that the chances of getting disappointed are big, so i didn’t search for it.

        Oh, i just remembered that i tried other byredos that i received samples send by friends – and didn’t like them either. Byredo Baudelaire doesn’t have anything to do for me with Baudelaire and it’s very close to a Jil Sander almost unkown fragrance – Scent 79 Man. And Bullion made me think of a crude Amouage Jubilation XXV – too much davana and amber on me. September 19, 2013 at 11:01pm Reply

  • mayk: Gotta say – I love La Tulipe. I get a ton of freesia from it in addition to something that seems honey and almost linden-y. It’s been a go to for me for almost four years now. September 19, 2013 at 8:33pm Reply

    • Victoria: Mmm, sounds like it smells very good on you! September 20, 2013 at 4:10am Reply

  • Heather Hart: This scent is gorgeous. I couldn’t disagree more. Other perfumes smell like chemicals compared to this clean, beautiful scent. December 8, 2013 at 1:16pm Reply

  • Hildegerd: Never tried this one, but love Rose Noir and Adore Pulp, the latter is Escada Collection on speed. 😉 December 8, 2013 at 8:31pm Reply

  • Alessandra: I’m not hugely fond of La Tulipe, either, but other Byredo fragrances, I find them brilliant…. especially Palermo, Blance, Bal d’Afrique and my very fave: Inflorescence… the latter being such a good and persistent spring scent.. clean and fresh but not banal, a lily of the valley that doesn’t purely smell like lily of the valley.. which I love. February 4, 2014 at 8:58am Reply

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