What to do? Sounds great... costs far too much... might be absolutely horrible... remember the last time you fell for the fructose fairy? Fate intervened in the shape of a small decant, so I took the plunge anyway.
If I had imagined I would enjoy a squished mess of fresh fruit notes, I was dead right, though for reasons oblique to my vague expectations. Pulp opens for me in a suckerpunch of sliced red capsicum and wooden chopping board, a bristling vegetal ambush. I presume that is the slightly pissy combination of the bergamot and blackcurrant dicing with the lurking cedar; this little contretemps goes on for around ten minutes on my hand before taking it outside and settling in behind what is for me a buxom conjugation of juicy tropical notes, both compressed and broken open. Instead of the nominated figs and pommes I get mangosteens, sunwarmed pineapple and even funky jackfruit (distant jackfruit, luckily). Lychee ducks in and out according to ambient temperature. The space between your wrist and nose quivers with this louche, pale-fleshed orchestration though there is an abstract quality that almost fends off a gourmand designation. Some have accused Pulp of plastic fruitbowl syndrome and while it flirts with this idea in an almost ironic fashion, I find nothing truly unlickable. (In an interesting coincidence that might explain this division of opinion, I was in a local museum today rubbing and sniffing a piece of kauri gum (sub-fossil podocarp tree resin); as it released its volatiles, I smelled incense and balsam while a friend found only the sharp stink of early plastics. And we were probably both right.)
There is some morphing over the next few hours with the various characters hoving and bulging in a slow and pretty lateral progression but generally speaking, Pulp delivers on its promise of mingled drupe, syncarpet, pepo and hesperidium, shot through with shards of greenish savoury goodness and favoured with a bottom rounded outward by backstage caramel. The tail is lighter, settling into a respectable stony, monotonal peachiness.
As a whole, it is a fat, persistent (5 hours intact) scent that offers moderate projection/silage, though this is very dependent on the number of sprays applied. Pulp is a notional, modernist fruit arrangement, more at home in the collective unconscious than the breakfast bowl and make no mistake, there is ugliness buried in the squishy depths of its screwed-up, almost visceral expression. I enjoyed both this explicit counterpoint and its diagonal revision of a played-out genre and will most likely invest in a larger decant or 50ml some time soon, $$$ notwithstanding. But if you prefer your fumes pretty, traditional and right-thinking, it's probably best if you allow the price point to deter you.
Byredo Pulp edp 50 & 100ml
HOUSE Byredo/Ben Gorham
STYLE/FLAVOUR Fruit/gourmand. Unisex tending toward femme.
DATE OF ISSUE 2008
LISTED NOTES Bergamot, cardamom, blackcurrant, fig, red apple, tiare, cedar wood, praline, peach flower
ENVIRONMENTAL STATEMENT None.