If you’ve ever been to Sweden in summer – no matter if you are male or female – I am sure you will have seen those blondes in their shiny white sundresses. If we translate this vision of loveliness into perfume, I guess most of us would think of soft skin fragrances, often flowery, musky, powdery and sheer – perhaps like En Passant by Frédéric Malle, L’eau by Serge Lutens or Teint de Neige by Lorenzo Villoresi. However SUPER CEDAR, the brand new Byredo fragrance, also works just as well. SUPER CEDAR calls to mind images from Midsummer celebrations, late at night, when people express all their happiness and gratitude for the warmer days and a late sunset. Whilst a light flowery or sheer skin scent could capture the mornings and days of a Swedish summer, SUPER CEDAR is the late evening representation of this special time – socializing, whittling the hours away pleasantly and at complete ease, that feeling after the exuberant party as you cool down in the dying warmth of a summer night – simply, it is bottled Scandinavian style.
So far, I’ve said what this fragrance evokes in terms of feelings and images, but what of the fragrance itself and its notes? Let’s dive into the warm and creamy woods of SUPER CEDAR:
SUPER – truly a special word, one that creates high hopes and raises expectations. Dictionaries define this word as meaning something or someone that is exceptional, outstanding and noteworthy, but is this cedar fragrance really such a one-of-a-kind? In times when the niche market is almost completely saturated, and more and more releases continue to enter the market, there is surely some pressure to ensure that one’s own new release contains at least one “super”-lative that will jimmy the scent into the spotlight.
Ben Gorham, creative director for Byredo, has said that he actually doesn’t wear any fragrances at all – but that with SUPER CEDAR he wanted to create one fragrance that covered his passion for the smell of cedar. A fragrance he wanted to have, created for his very own taste. How cool is that?
The pyramid of SUPER CEDAR:
Heartnotes: Virginian Cedarwood
Basenotes: Silk Musk, Haitian Vetiver
Wearing SUPER CEDAR now for some hours, I can barely recognize some of the listed notes. Rose Petals? I don’t get them. It starts a bit sharp with a synthetic cloud of aromachemicals that I struggle to remember or name. I’ve had to sniff my way through many fragrances, and yet I am still not 100% sure where I knew it from. At first I thought it must be ambroxan, with which I am familiar from Juliette has a Gun’s Not a Perfume or Molecule 02 but no, it isn’t ambroxan. My best guess now is that given the similarities to Nomenclature’s ORB_ITAL, there might be something like that Orbitone® wood-amber mix in the fragrance, but like I said, I am not sure. The aforementioned rose petals, however, stay hidden to me, or maybe perceived if I squint hard into the background.
The development of the fragrance is pretty linear, there are no shocking u-turns, and simply the cedar spreads out more and more. The sharpness of the topnotes dissipates within the first 2 minutes and opens the door to several stages of woody creaminess. A powdery puff is added in the form of a cuddly white musk, making it even more suitable for the Scandinavian blonde. Again, I can’t detect any other supporting note – the vetiver must be very subtle there in the background or I simply cannot pick it up. To my nose, it is one breaking wave of synthetic woods after the other. One cloud of creamy tenderness pushes the next and so goes the fragrance on and on, no big surprises but when all is said and done, a very sure-handed direction of cedar in all its aroma-chemical molecular dimensions. It is truly a nice fragrance, very easy to wear and just like the Scandinavian blonde seems to be – very uncomplicated.
If you don’t fancy the natural, go for the super-natural. Go for SUPER CEDAR.