Bal d'Afrique (2009)Eau de Parfum

Bal d'Afrique (Eau de Parfum) by Byredo
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Bal d'Afrique (Eau de Parfum) is a popular perfume by Byredo for women and men and was released in 2009. The scent is fruity-flowery. It is still in production.

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Fragrance Notes

Top Notes Top NotesBergamot, Buchu, Neroli, Tagetes, Lemon
Heart Notes Heart NotesCyclamen, Jasmine, Violet
Base Notes Base NotesDark amber, Musk, Vetiver, Moroccan cedarwood

Ratings

Scent

7.8 (292 Ratings)

Longevity

6.7 (207 Ratings)

Sillage

6.1 (203 Ratings)

Bottle

6.9 (197 Ratings)
Submitted by DonVanVliet, last update on 09.06.2017
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Reviews

Bottle 7.5/10 Sillage 7.5/10 Longevity 5.0/10 Scent 7.0/10
1
Bal d'Afrique
This fragrance opens with a melange of citrus and floral notes. The result is a honey-sweet, juicy and bright accord which despite its sweetness is not cloying at all due to a subtle touch of smoky woods. As the fragrance progresses a sweaty facet brought on by cedar emerges. On me this aspect is rather subdued and can only be detected if I press my nose close to the skin. Throughout its development the fragrance sheds more and more of its floral notes, laying bare its herbal woodsy nature.
Bottle 10.0/10 Sillage 7.5/10 Longevity 5.0/10 Scent 7.0/10
8
Fresh and sweet!
The first time I tried Byredo's Bal d'Afrique a few years ago I thought "meh … just another EDC parading around as an EDP". Then a fascination with Neroli began and I had the opportunity of smelling it on a friend … and found it lovely!

Truthfully, this is a very expensive fragrance for what it is … in fact, the entire line is overpriced imho, but I suppose it all comes down to what one is willing to pay for. I was lucky enough to secure a 'once sprayed' bottle from a friend who was spring cleaning her collection at a very decent price. Replacing it once it is gone will be a bit of an issue :).

I was completely amazed to find that this fragrance contains buchu, which as a South African I know very well in the form of the vile concoction 'Boegoe Brandy', a sort of snake-oil-cure-all remedy used in this country for centuries. I suppose it tastes a bit like Jaegermeister … but a lot rougher. The plant smells vaguely minty and camphorous with a fresh, berry-like note. It's not indigenous to where I live in the North East occurring primarily in the West of the country, but I have had occasion to smell it in it's natural state … once I made the connection it became quite obvious that Bal d'Afrique contains a good dose! It's quite unique smelling, but this fragrance also contains a sweetened Vetiver, which I love!
Neroli essential oil is VERY strong, but it is well controlled here in concert with the other top notes. I do get quite a lot of Violet from this frag bringing a soft sweetness along with it. I'm of the mind that this is what might be taming the Vetiver and keeping it from being overly root-like.

My biggest issue with Byredo is the cost proportional to concentration. This is marketed as an EDP, but it must be at the very bottom end of the oil-to alcohol ratio, because even if the sillage here is satisfactory, longevity is an issue and overspraying to correct that proves costly. I've had quite a bit of success spraying my clothes, however, so that's one way of increasing the lifespan of Bal d'Afrique.

I recommend this fragrance to anyone who enjoys a different take on the classic EDC. Bal d'Afrique is interesting and unique … quite a joy to wear!

A note about cost:

100mls of Bal d'Afrique costs $220 from the website. I love the simplicity of the bottle, but I guess a substantial part of the price resides in the exquisite, but imho, unnecessary packaging. An outer sleeve plus an inner box with a cut out space for the bottle AND a card with the marketing blurb are irrelevant. I'd buy loads of this if it came less expensively packaged. I feel the same way about byKillian. Strangely enough, fancy packaging always makes me wonder what the product is lacking … food for thought!
2 Replies
Sillage 7.5/10 Longevity 7.5/10 Scent 7.0/10
3
A close neighbor to Hermessence Vétiver Tonka
I took an immediate liking to Byredo BAL D'AFRIQUE but was confounded as to what this perfume reminded me of. It was on the tip of my tongue, but I could not figure it out. Then I took a look at the other site and saw that five people had listed Hermessence VETIVER TONKA as a smell alike. Then it dawned on me: they were right!

How can a perfume with neither vetiver nor tonka among its listed notes smell so similar to VETIVER TONKA? That is the real mystery. Or is it? At the other site, both vetiver and violet are listed, and the violet might contribute to the sweetness in this composition. In fact, my impression is that notes are vague metaphors for what the perfumer hopes to convey the impression of in his or her creation.

Yes, BAL D'AFRIQUE smells like slightly sweet vetiver. Calm and powdery and a bit spicy. I like it. Do I like it more than VETIVER TONKA? I think that I might, but I'm working from memory, as my Hermessences vials were drained a while back. I do feel confident in asserting that anyone who likes VETIVER TONKA will like BAL D'AFRIQUE as well, and anyone who does not probably will not. The Hermessence was launched in 2004, and this one in 2009, but sweet vetiver was a good idea then and it is now, too.
1 Replies

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