Byredo Seven Veils Perfume Review

44444

Elisa takes a look at Byredo.

Is there anything new or interesting left to do with orientals? You’d be forgiven for thinking “I doubt it.” They’ve been around since at least the late 19th century, and their popularity hasn’t waned; we’ve probably seen thousands of variations on the basic structure of perfumes like Coty L’Origan and Guerlain Shalimar. But perfume will always surprise you – Thierry Mugler Angel came pretty late in the game (1992) and introduced a totally new idea to the oriental genre.

byredo

Byredo’s Seven Veils is one recent perfume that completely subverted my expectations. The name refers to the biblical story of Salome’s “Dance of the Seven Veils” – an orientalist version of the striptease – and it’s fitting, because the perfume unfolds in layers. It opens with a classically rooty iris note, a big whoosh of raw, starchy carrots – which is, frankly, exactly the kind of thing I usually dislike. But I stuck with it, and within ten minutes I knew it wasn’t just another chalky iris soliflore. Rather, Seven Veils is a boozy oriental with a spicy root-vegetable twist.

The heart reminds me of root beer – an effect that can result from any combination of iris, vanilla, anise, almond (or tonka), and myrrh. But unlike, say, Huitième Art’s Myrrhiad, which has an ice-cream-float sweetness, Seven Veils retains a dry woody quality, like whiskey infused with sarsaparilla, and the semi-savoriness of roasted parsnips with black pepper. Later, in the far drydown, all this strange complexity resolves into a relatively simple – but perfectly lovely – vanilla with salty amber facets.

Byredo strikes me as one niche line that hasn’t really found its niche. Some of their fragrances are downright pedestrian (see Victoria’s one-star review of La Tulipe). Others are quite appealing, like the cheerful, citrus-y Bal d’Afrique, but hard to justify at Byredo’s prices. But Seven Veils is closer to Pulp, my other favorite from the line – both are fully committed to their weirdness. I wouldn’t say either is a must-try for everyone, but if you love black currant, you should definitely try Pulp, and if you love either carrots or bizarre orientals, you should try Seven Veils.

Byredo Seven Veils has notes of carrot, pimento berries, Tahitian vanilla flower, rose, glycine, tiger orchid, sandalwood, and vanilla. It’s available from Byredo in a 100 ml bottle for $220 or three 12 ml refill vials for $110.

Enjoyed this? Get blog posts via email:

Or, stay updated via:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • RSS

39 Comments

  • Nikki: Bizarre Orientals? I love the way you put that! I don’t think I would like to try something that sounds really good and has great associations like seven veils but at the same time carrots as ingredients.

    I know what you mean about not finding their proper spot: I have also tried the Byredo perfumes and never bought anything. But then again, I prefer mystical, mythical perfumes and colors to bland round flacons and black on white boring labels. Too minimalistic for me. July 24, 2015 at 9:08am Reply

    • Elisa: Looking at the photo above, I totally agree with you — the bottle are boring! They have a nice heft in the hand but just aren’t very inspiring to look at. July 24, 2015 at 10:27am Reply

  • spe: The bottles and labels are not the reason for my lack of interest in this line. The scents are not well formulated for my taste or chemistry. Our local Barneys has them all. I’ve tried them all. Pass. July 24, 2015 at 9:16am Reply

    • Elisa: Sorry you didn’t find anything to like in the line! July 24, 2015 at 10:29am Reply

  • elisa p: Thanks for your review! My experience with Byredo has been “meh” and the last one I sampled, Mojave Ghost, was a scrubber for me(what is the aromachemical that creates that dusty arid effect?) I think they do a nice job with their modern, minimalist packaging and I love the names they come up with. But I find that the highly aspirational pricing doesn’t match the quality of the ingredients. Most end up smelling like something I’ve smelled in mainstream offerings. The one’s I’ve tried smelled cloyingly synthetic to me and I can think of other niche and even indie brands that make quality fragrances for lower prices. For that money , I’d spend it on an Amouage. And for synthetic and weird I’d go with something like Etat Libre D’Orange. I did like the candle they made with the Pulp fragrance, though. July 24, 2015 at 9:18am Reply

    • Elisa: Thank you Elisa (name twin!). I would love a Pulp candle but I’m sure they are what — $120? 🙂 July 24, 2015 at 10:30am Reply

      • elisa p: I’ve been going lower case with my name to avoid confusion ;-). Their aspirational pricing probably applies to the candles as well. July 24, 2015 at 5:58pm Reply

    • katherine: elisa (with a little e) – my vote is “meh” as well. And you said it much better than I could’ve. July 24, 2015 at 10:51pm Reply

  • Alicia: I love orientals in the warmer seasons, my beloved Opium still enchants me, I enjoy Coco, and delight in Vol de Nuit and Les Nuitts Indiennes, and so many others…But a veil of carrots to start with…Well, I may get a sample, perhaps. July 24, 2015 at 9:25am Reply

    • Elisa: I like orientals when it’s warm too! Amber comes alive in the heat, you just have to use a lighter hand. July 24, 2015 at 10:32am Reply

  • Sandra: For that price I would rather rub some carrots and parsnips on myself ? July 24, 2015 at 10:02am Reply

  • key change: Thanks for this review! I agree that it sounds rather strange, but am glad I’ll have the opportunity to sniff it in a few weeks. I have actually liked some of Byredo’s offerings, especially black saffron, but found that it faded far too quickly to justify the price. July 24, 2015 at 10:23am Reply

    • Elisa: Yes, they’ve done a handful that are at least interesting enough not to dismiss out of hand. I remember liking the dark rose as well, though I only tried it on paper. July 24, 2015 at 10:33am Reply

    • limegreen: I had the same response to a Black Saffron sample! I was recently given GWP samples of Encens Chembur, Rose Noir and Mojave Ghost (love the name, juice was too sweet). I’m a little intrigued by EC and RN but that’s about it. I’m curious about the carrots in Seven Veils 🙂
      (all I get from diptyque Vetiver is carrots — is it similar?) July 24, 2015 at 6:26pm Reply

      • Elisa: Vetyverio? I’m not familiar with it, but apparently it has a carrot seed note. July 25, 2015 at 12:51pm Reply

  • Awfulknitter: I shall have to go back to the Byredo counter! I’ve browsed the range in Liberty and have been rather put off by the snooty staff who seem to think that I’m completely below their notice (this is not the case anywhere else in Liberty, so maybe I’ve just been unlucky).

    Like Elisa P, I’m drawn in by the names but haven’t found anything that interests me as much as the name. (Who doesn’t want try Gypsy Water?) They seriously need to do a sample set – or just train their staff to be attentive so that I can try asking nicely for some! July 24, 2015 at 10:57am Reply

    • Elisa: It’s true, Gypsy Water is a great name! They do nice samples, if you can get your hands on them — there’s a good amount in them and they have nice fine little sprayers. July 24, 2015 at 10:59am Reply

    • Malmaison: So funny – I visited Libertys in London a few months ago and had exactly the same experience at the Byredo counter! So I voted with my wallet and wandered off to the Le Labo area, where I had a much nicer reception.

      That said though, I do own one Byredo: a small FB of Gypsy Water which I’ve had for a couple of years. I love it as one of my go-to, any time, don’t know what to wear perfumes, with a gentle lemon custard woody kind of vibe. (I’m not making it sound very appealing I know!) July 24, 2015 at 7:33pm Reply

  • Annikky: Thank you for reviewing this! I want to like Byredo, but while I love (some of) the candles, the scents tend to leave me cold. But I love Pulp, so I’m definitely going to give this one a try, too. July 24, 2015 at 11:15am Reply

    • Elisa: Hurrah, another Pulp lover! July 24, 2015 at 11:29am Reply

  • Tijana: Seven Veils is my all time favourite perfume. When applied, the bitter pepper bites my nose, but soon it becomes addictively sweet and spicy. The drydown is an absolutely beautiful vanilla that has no powdery touch to it, whatsoever. LOVE!

    P.S. Byredo SV is quite more orange than shown in the photo above. July 24, 2015 at 11:32am Reply

    • Elisa: Tijana, thank you for commenting, I’m so glad to hear from someone else who has tried it! The drydown really is delicious. (And you’re right about the color, my sample is quite orange.) July 24, 2015 at 12:06pm Reply

  • leathermountain: committed to their weirdness, eh? What do you make of M/Mink? July 24, 2015 at 12:20pm Reply

    • Elisa: I haven’t tried that one! But I’ve read about it on Katie Puckrick’s blog and Brian Pera’s blog and it sounds fascinating, if potentially repulsive… July 24, 2015 at 12:23pm Reply

      • leathermountain: Potentially. 😉 July 24, 2015 at 12:51pm Reply

  • WJ: I for one love their bottles. I have Pulp and Black Saffron which I both like, but I haven’t tried anything else yet. Will check this one out at some stage, thanks for the review. July 24, 2015 at 9:09pm Reply

    • Elisa: Thanks, WJ! July 25, 2015 at 12:52pm Reply

  • Lynley: I tried it once years ago, and it was the best one on paper, but awful on skin. Smelled like cat pee. But my tastes have changed so must try it again. Love Flowerhead though, and Green, and Pulp, although Pulp is very full-on. July 24, 2015 at 10:53pm Reply

    • Elisa: Maybe it clashed with your body lotion or something? Sorry it didn’t work on your skin! I had the cat pee experience with Ninfeo Mio. July 25, 2015 at 12:53pm Reply

  • katherine: Elisa (with a big E) – I mentioned to elisa p. that I voted with her “meh.” But since I’m an eternal optimist your review convinced me to give Pulp and Seven Veils a squirt n’ smell. Thanks for taking the time to do the review! July 24, 2015 at 11:01pm Reply

    • Elisa: Pulp is worth trying even if you don’t end up finding it wearable. It’s the tangiest, tartest blackcurrant possible. July 25, 2015 at 12:54pm Reply

      • katherine: Tangy and tart interests me! July 25, 2015 at 4:21pm Reply

  • Jani: Elisa, I completely agree with your assessment of Seven Veils! I was nodding my head troughout the entire review. It must work with our chemistry. To me, the fragrance smells stunning after 2 minutes on my skin as it begins to reveal its intoxicating charm one layer after another. I received a sample pack of ten Byredo perfumes from Lucky Scent during the 2014 holiday season. At first, I didn’t like the line, as I tried La Tulipe, Flowerhead and Mojave Ghost, and thought “yuk, gross!” Not to be deterred, I tried Seven Veils next, and wowee! It was love! All I can say is if the young girl who danced for King Herod wore Byredo Seven Veils, I can see why he offered her up to half of his kingdom! Thank you so much for a wonderful review, Elisa.

    P.S. I also enjoy Bullion, Gypsy Water (a twin sister to Tocca Colette) and Palermo. July 25, 2015 at 1:36pm Reply

    • Elisa: Jani, I’m so happy to find other fans of this scent! It really is one of the most layered perfumes I’ve tried in a long time, along the lines of some older Guerlains. July 25, 2015 at 8:21pm Reply

  • Reg: I have avoided Byredo and thought they were completely overrated after smelling a couple of their fragrances (Flowerhead is one of the most headachy scents I ever tried) but I recently came across 1996 Inez & Vinoodh and find it absolutely gorgeous! While I’m usually not going for snuggly vanilla-amber, the combination with pepper, juniper, iris and leather is complex and refined. Now I have to try this one, too. July 25, 2015 at 6:05pm Reply

    • Elisa: I almost really liked Flowerhead, but there was a certain extremely sharp note in it that I couldn’t get past. I’ll have to try the 1996 one! July 25, 2015 at 8:22pm Reply

  • Jenn: Just read your great review. A couple thoughts… First off, you’re bang on with your review IMO. Seven Veils is amazing. I got a sample with another bottle I bought. I looked up the notes, then sprayed. I’d love to know the look on my face the first time I experienced it. Pure love. I wore it to a wedding in the hot hot summer. I was perfect, never cloying or overpowering. BTW as of 8/16 it’s being discontinued. So buy backups folks!

    I also love GW (but it took a few tries), Bal D, and Bullion is next on my list. I just tried Pulp after reading a ton of bad reviews. I was braced to not like it. Byredo, as you said, is committed to weirdness. I’m OK with not loving them all. Rose of No Man’s Land is pure awful pepper on me. and 1996 is just bad to me. But I respect the perspective of them all. Back to Pulp, it’s beautiful! I was totally surprised to love it! August 12, 2016 at 6:50pm Reply

    • Elisa: Pulp is so good! It’s not for everyone but it just makes me happy. And I’m glad to hear that you like Seven Veils! August 13, 2016 at 2:29pm Reply

What do you think?

From the Archives

Latest Comments

  • Theresa in Recommend Me a Perfume : August 2017: Thank you for your reply, Andrea! I thought it would be a fun exercise for people to think about sun-related perfumes. Now that I’m thinking about it, didn’t Lagerfeld have… August 22, 2017 at 6:51pm

  • Sylvie Bordet in Postcard from Paris: Eau du ciel… (After checking, I see that this is actually a real perfume – I don’t mean to imply anything about its effects, it just seemed like a funny… August 22, 2017 at 1:15pm

  • AnnieA in Recommend Me a Perfume : August 2017: @San, AG Heure Exquise is a lovely iris if it hasn’t been mentioned. Demeter has, or had, a beautiful if fleeting Homeysuckle – the oil lasts a little longer… August 22, 2017 at 1:03pm

  • Phyllis Iervello in Recommend Me a Perfume : August 2017: Chanel No. 19 Poudre is one of my favorite fragrances. I know it doesn’t get much love from the perfumista community, but although I probably own over 800 perfumes Chanel… August 22, 2017 at 10:11am

Latest Tweets

Design by cre8d
© Copyright 2005-2017 Bois de Jasmin. All rights reserved.