M/Mink – Byredo


M/Mink starts with an absolute, horrific overload of aldehydes – no, not the gorgeously rich, floral/citrus Chanel style aldehydes; Adoxal – a material I haven’t smelt in its raw form, but I believe it practically is here. Adoxal smells waxy, intense, sour, heavily marine (almost verging on fishy). It has a balmy/lemony quality which soon reveals an overtly intense incense, not at all comfortable in volume, texture, or scent. It’s texture turns to liquid: black, murky and pungent – the perfect ink representation.

But, it’s settling… it morphs and changes, floating around on your skin as the discomfort and intensity begins to disperse and evaporate, leaving behind something difficult, but much more approachable… just. The incense is potent, as described before – balmy with a true “lemony” quality. It’s not the normal incense variety I’m fond of, it reminds me of the note in Comme Des Garcons 2 Man – only I don’t particularly like that fragrance. The salty, literal marine notes still sit underneath, crystallizing into a more solid form that almost “crackle” on the skin.

Patchouli plays a leading role, but it’s crisp, clear, stuffy yet almost translucent. There’s nothing “headshop-y” about it whatsoever. It has a leafy quality to it like a freshly picked handful of the plant, roots and all, with maybe a hint of vetiver adding to the earthy/saltiness.
But the texture isn’t right, there’s something morphing it into something bizarre: beeswax. A completely de-sweetened honey note adds a pungent aroma that swallows the entire composition of M/Mink in a thick, greasy layer of cloying warmth and an unwelcome bitterness. The honey’s use is hugely animalic, yet not at all “pissy” as in my favourites Miel De Bois and Delivre Moi (yet to review): paired with a warm amber underneath it has this soiled, “breathy” quality that smells unclean and literally “sticky”.

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There is something floral going on underneath though – the only trace of anything “perfume-y” desperate for attention whilst buried neck-deep in the “ink”. Is it rose? Jasmine? Maybe it’s hyacinth? It’s something… made a mere sparkle by the crisp patchouli that helps to bring it out. But it’s completely blurred, unnoticeable and unimportant – it hardly has a contribution but it’s nice to know it’s there.
The sourness still rises to the surface every now and again, along with marine/driftwood notes, metallic elements, waxy textures and animalic musk. It sounds like hell in a bottle right? It sort of is… but it’s undeniably compelling. The thing is, yes, the first spray of M/Mink is almost unbearable-y difficult, but it’s drydown whilst extremely impossible to wear when broken down – combines into a relatively harmonious blend that is somehow mysterious, soulless, and utterly fascinating.

It’s mystery is what keeps me hugely interested, because even from afar it’s complicated personality is evident and I find that almost meditative. But M/Mink isn’t all a challenge, within half an hour to an hour, your nose has got through the worst, and what is on the end is more approachable, even enjoyable. Enjoyable sounds boring, it sounds like it is merely “good” – but if you’ve made it this far, M/Mink is “great”! And by “great” I mean it’s actually a lovely smell. The patchouli/incense/amber leads – which makes it sound like a thousand other fragrances out there, but with the still-potent residue of marine notes and the muted, unsettling beeswax, what it manages to create is something completely original and perplexing. At this point it’s not at all difficult, yet it remains avant-garde and completely unfamiliar – fascinating to wear with an aura of abstract beauty. A brilliant fragrance.

M/Mink 50ml EDP Byredo – £88 www.liberty.co.uk

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23 thoughts on “M/Mink – Byredo

  1. Freddie – You make me feel like I need to take a bath before it transforms into the “great” drydown. Fascinating!

  2. This sounds like a bottled existential crisis (of someone else, maybe a stranger) that I can spray on my wrist — and I kind of love the idea of that! :)

    I will definitely check a spray of this out when I see a bottle – between the lemony incense and raw, dirty honey, I’m very intrigued.

    • Definitely do! It needs a good couple wears I think – I hated it the first time. It’s impossible to imagine what it smells like although I tried to do that – look forward to hearing your thoughts on it :D

      • Just as an aside – I wonder if the honey note will remind me of the raw honey I would put on black bread when I lived in Moscow. The honey had this earthy, musky, almost barnyard quality, while also having a green, vegetal aura. Definitely NOT the super-sweet processed orange blossom honey I became accustomed to growing up in Orlando, Florida, USA. :)

      • Sounds pretty gross :( but yes!! I imagine so. Apparantly it’s “clover honey”… not to sure of what that smells like but I can imagine. It’s green, vegetal, bitter and waxy – I think you’ll love it!

  3. Irina says:

    and a briliant review

  4. Anthony says:

    I have to share with you a video on YouTube that absolutely represents this fragrance to me. Yes, it’d seem that the ink explosion moments that occur in the video would somehow link instantly to the Byredo advert but no, it’s more than that. M/Mink is very disturbing to me. The only time I want to wear it is when it is icy cold out, gray skies, cold, quiet. Anyway, I hope you enjoy the video by Kode9. There’s something clinical and futuristic about M/Mink that makes me think of it.

    • Dudeeee! I loved it :D
      It’s perfect yes – M/Mink isn’t all black and grey to me – but the video is a pretty good representation of it if you were to describe it to someone through another media.
      I always get tempted to post songs and videos with my reviews but I’ve seen so many bloggers do that and I just don’t click with the song/video and the fragrance AT ALL – so I don’t really think it works. Apart from this exception! Haha. Thanks for posting Anthony

  5. Natalie says:

    Thanks for the great review. I want Byredo to get more attention, because I think so many of the perfumes are worth more than a superficial look. You did a great job illustrating why that’s so in this case.

    • Really? What others do you like in the line? I quite enjoy Pulp becuase it’s so over the top – I haven’t felt anything else yet but to be honest I haven’t given many a try. Seven Veils is the one fragrance I’ve tried that literally triggered my gag reflex.

      • Natalie says:

        Oh, let’s see. I love La Tulipe, and really like Pulp and Bal d’Afrique. I think Black Saffron has potential and would like to test it more. Seven Veils didn’t bother me, but I get why some people hated it. I will definitely do more testing of the line, though.

      • Ooh i’ll be sure to try those – actually I think i have a little sample of La Tulipe somewhere, I’ll write about it soon!

  6. Undina says:

    I’m not sure if I’ve ever smelled this perfume (even though I saw a bottle in the store).The reason is strange: I do not like the name. It doesn’t offend me as some others do but I just do not like how it looks. And now after your review I want to try it even less: I do not want to “work” on my perfumes or wait a couple of days, I want an instant gratification.

    • I normally don’t “work” on perfumes – infact I never do – but I think if the intrigue is there from the start, it’s only fair to carry on to see where it leads – if the drydown is what’s best, then at least there’s something to enjoy in the opening :)

  7. […] OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT M/MINK:  Smellythoughts, The Scent Train, I Smell Therefore I […]

  8. Gen says:

    Hey, I would like to make a review request if I may Freddie? Byredo’s newie: inflorescence. Can’t wait to hear/read your smelly thoughts!

  9. Giannis says:

    Hello , i’ve recently bought a bottle of M/Mink and i have to say that you are absolutely right with your review the scent that erupted when i first applied it was uncomfortable but then it evolves into a very soothing and alluring perfume that captivates you with every sniff , a true masterpiece .

    • After I read this comment last night I wore it today – it had been too long. It was lovely start to finish on me today, sharp, fresh, with a great wax note running through out – it IS a masterpiece. GREAT purchase Giannis you have wonderful taste :)

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