Blackcurrant is not a note I usually go for in perfumery. I once had the extrait of Cassisier by L’Occitane and liked my brother’s Roger & Gallet Cassis Frenesie – he is obsessed with the note- but I don’t usually wear it myself. I like, but don’t love it in fruit jams, and avoid cocktails with creme de cassis, so I am probably not the ideal candidate for Byredo’s new Mixed Emotions even if paradoxically I think it is possibly my favourite of their entire collection.
You do have to like blackcurrant if you are to enjoy this scent. The beginning, especially, is a highly unusual mentholated cassis note that can’t help but make you think of cough sweets ( or throat lozenges); I remember at school at the bus stop, hands in pockets on frosty winter mornings, any kid who had a stuffed up nose or a cold would pass around their packet of Tunes to share and while away a few minutes, waiting, decongesting the sinuses with head-clearing menthol vapors flavoured with synthetic raspberry or blackcurrant. The whole upper deck would smell of it.
Immediately with Mixed Emotions, beside the blackcurrant , you are also met with warm, emotively aromatic support from both South American mate and Ceylon tea, made smokier still ( but not to the usual Byredo levels of intensity ) by deft touches of birch leaf, violet, and and papyrus. The scent tugs at you in a nostalgic way and I find it quite an original composition; definitely melancholic and very ‘moody’ with no schmaltz or sweetness (the art film made to promote the perfume, atmospheric and quite self-serious, will possibly be seen as pretentious and indulgent by some; a series of young Londoners variously discussing their own identity issues and life philosophies while dancing around a stately home set in the misty English countryside: D and I found it rather dreamy and restful one afternoon); an ‘epicene’, or ungendered, scent according to Byredo that is a match for these difficult, emotionally testing times. In its holistic whole, I like it ; D, another blackcurrant lover, does not, attesting to the aptness of its perfect, if slightly self-consciously awkward name.