Seemingly one of Byredo's more popular cold-weather-friendly fragrances, 1996 was one that stuck out to me when I visited the house's downtown NYC shop this past fall, and in finally getting around to trying it, I can see this being a unisex winner for many.
the juniper in the opening does announce its presence like spilled gin, but very quickly the heart of iris exposed and as it begins to dry down. In a semi-gourmand sense, the iris is intense enough to remind me of Dior Homme Intense but certainly the amber is the dominant note of the dry down, transitioning scent from powdery sharpness to creamy, powdery sweetness.
The overall experience is, as its taxonomy suggests, mainly a mix of powder (via iris) and amber. Patchouli gives an earthiness to the drydown but only subserviently to the amber. Certainly the entire character of the fragrance is cold-weather-leaning, as I imagine this would be too overpowering and cloying in the summer, nor do any of the notes speak to a warm outdoor experience.
Performance is excellent, strong for both projection and longevity. This one certainly won't let you down in that respect.
1996 only seems to be available in a 50ml EDP, and at $175, is understandably slightly higher than most its Byredo kin, as it does seem to perform better than most.
Overall, it's a little too powdery for my liking but I believe Byredo has achieved something excellent in 1996, which could be a winter staple for men or women alike.
7 out of 10
On first spray, I thought, hmm. DK Fuel for Men (with a little Black Cashmere thrown in). But then the pepper and vanilla come through and the comparison disappears. 1996 is unlike anything I know. An intoxicating, comforting, exquisitely beautiful work of the perfumer's art. You'll be sniffing your wrist all day.
I bought this fragrance in Liberty in London late 2014 and it's been a favourite ever since. It's unlike anything else in my collection; the opening is a delight, with the juniper berries twisting around a heart of orris root and black pepper, before the papery black amber, violet and patchouli notes reveal themselves.
Oddly, 1996 reminds me of wandering around a dusty, sun-dappled library; the scent has a rather papery, bookish appeal, melded with a sweetness that pulls you in and makes you love it. In a word, it's intriguing, both for the wearer and those around them. When I've chosen 1996 as my scent of the day, I've had three people come up to me and ask what fragrance I'm wearing, and they all have the same quizzical expression.
This fragrance won't be to everyone's tastes, but it's definitely in my top five out of the thirty or so niche scents that I own. Try before you buy; you might just find something unique and wonderful.
Yet another hipster amber-patchouli-vanillic scent with an faint leathery heart and a spicy floral whiff, most of all with that distinctive “niche texture” we’ve been so used to these years – thin, transparent, dusty, kind of cheaply synthetic, terribly reminding of so many other “artistic perfumes” (...) of recent times. Think of any amber and/or leather niche scent – this will easily be identical to them, and viceversa. Leather is again that synthetic suede note, amber is again basically ambroxan, and so on... juniper berries, ok, that's maybe less common. I don't get any iris out of this. Not tragic but tragically uninspired and without the slightest hint of something justifying its price.
Another in a series of mysterious fragrances from Byredo that smells of warm leather but fades in and out of a black amber fog made dense with cold violet and fuzzy iris. "This is what someone in the uber-hip Swedish fashion/art world must smell like", I say to myself. It's a Lisbeth Salander type - Girl with Dragon Tattoo dressed for the red carpet - just left her BMW bike with the valet. Though it doesn't smell like Black Saffron or Accord Oud, this Byredo has some similar deceptive qualities that combine harsh natural elements with very civil warmth. The inspiration is a candy sweet innocent doll faced photo artwork by Inez & Vinoodh that is the starting point for the perfumers inspiration. This is an intriguing scent, that I like but will probably never wear as it doesn't really match any of my images of myself.
The opening notes are a slight breeze of juniper berry and black pepper but all I get is fresh mountain air that rushes in with the amber scented slightly raspy leather. In fact, to me the first few hours of the scent is all scratchy, black amber warmth that is throttled by vanilla. The rough textured aspects to the warm base are from influence of violet and patchouli. The the first hour or two it smells a little too sweet for me as I normally dislike strong amber with even more vanilla. But as the sweetness slowly winds down I get the leather aspect which has a wildness and sharpness about it as a balance to the sweet notes. The longer it goes, the more the sweetness dies down into a warm softness that is easily masculine and feminine at the same time. Smells best sprayed lightly as a skin scent so the vanilla doesn't shout.
I give this fragrance a thumbs up for its artistic beauty and originality - it is pushing the boundaries. However, on a personal level it gets a neutral rating since the style of this scent is a little too sophisticated for me.