Gypsy Water is the third Byredo fragrance (with Fantastic Man and Bal d’Afrique) I have added to my collection. It is a relatively recent purchase after I converted credit card reward points into department store gift vouchers. The irony of receiving vouchers to buy more perfume from a credit card most likely used to purchase perfume amuses me; do I really need another perfume? Of course I do!
The offer at Myer’s Mecca Cosmetica concession store is diverse and includes Frederic Malle, Le Labo, Serge Lutens and Diptyque. I knew I would have no problem finding something to exchange for vouchers here. I narrowed my selection down to two lines, Maison Francis Kurkdjian and Byredo. I love Kurkdjian’s APOM Femme; an exotic burst of orange flowers wrapped in oriental notes. I’d also been looking for an excuse to buy a Byredo leather travel case, which would of course require a fragrance to go inside. I decided on Byredo over APOM Femme however I am fairly confident this will be added to my perfume collection in the near future. Indolic orange flower scents make me go weak at the knees.
As my nose made its way through each of the fragrances at Mecca, it settled upon Gypsy Water. With modern perfumes such as Byredo often displaying a faint persona, a pared back coolness, I find myself needing to perform the olfactory equivalent of a squint to properly view the perfume’s form in focus. Is this incense I smell or a modern ambery wood? Is this deconstructed floral referencing a classic rose or is it a hybrid of fractions taken from various flowers, a patchwork of 21st century style? Byredo fragrances often have this quirky sense of seemingly pixelated notes; a dash of one molecule that represents an entire flower or wood that comparatively contains hundreds of molecules in the natural world.
The Romani, a nomadic people otherwise known as gypsies, inspires the fragrance I could describe as urban romanticism. The scent of fresh soil, deep forests and campfires illustrates the dream of a free, colourful lifestyle close to nature, is the description Byredo has given to describe this 2008 release, created by perfumer Jerome Epinette.
Gypsy Water begins with tart hesperides notes of lemon and bergamot. Juniper berry adds a fruity camphorous facet leading to a forest of pine needles and orris. As the fragrance evolves it begins to show some more complex harmonies, something that called to me the evening I went shopping with my vouchers in hand. Lying beyond the heart notes is a warm incense. Dry and spicy, a modern amber accord provides an earthy quality, perhaps representing the fresh soil Byredo wants to evoke. Amongst these resins there is a fresh-cut timber note, which captures the scent cut pine gives off when it is put into fire as the wood’s fragrant sap rises to the surface under heat. Vanilla, the equivalent of Adobe Photoshop’s healing brush tool smoothes out the composition. Vanilla seems to make the scent more compatible with skin and milky sandalwood adds character to the transparent woods used in this composition.
Like others from the Byredo family, Gypsy Water is stark and modern. This could act as a potential deterrent for those perfume lovers who prefer more classical, voluptuous perfumes. Gyspy Water is softly spoken, which I do not mind. Sometimes I am not in the mood to wear “big” fragrances and this eau de parfum’s subdued demeanour is perfect for those days. For me, it is a great choice for a casual evening out with friends, a weekend stroll or a winter’s day in the office; the timber note will give you comfort on a cold day when there is no open fireplace to take refuge in.
Diptyque Tam Dao, The Art of Shaving Sandalwood Cologne, Lorenzo Villoresi Incensi
Perfumer: Jerome Epinette (Robertet)
Release Date: 2008
Typology (via Fragrances of the World): Soft Floral