Launching their newest scent Super Cedar for SS16, boutique, independent perfumer, Byredo, bring a literacy and a sense of memory into the arena with their evocatively understated palette of scents.
Reading about Ben Gorham, founder of boutique perfume brand Byredo, you immediately recognise that he is one of those people who could turn his hand to just about anything. He is an inhabitant of planet global whose chosen field has turned out to be fragrance connoisseur, and is one of a modern day posse who appear to be modernising that particular field beyond all recognition. Perfumery is now cool and boutique and bespoke and unisex, with a rising independent edge that was not there even five years ago.
In geographical terms, Gorham’s credentials as global citizen are immaculate. His mother is Indian, his father Canadian. He was born in Sweden, but spent time in Toronto and finished high school in New York before studying business in Toronto, playing pro-basketball for a while, and then doing a degree in fine arts in Stockholm.
His adventures in fragrances started when he met a perfumer for the first time, right after graduating. Pierre Wulff convinced him that he’d rather create fragrances than paintings. And you wonder how much convincing Gorham actually needed when you hear about how he embraced the field. With no formal training, and inspired by the concept of scent and memory after travelling to his mother’s hometown in India, the 31 year old had a perfume vision. He sought the services of world renowned perfumers Olivia Giacobetti and Jerome Epinette, explaining his olfactory desires and developing the simple Byredo compositions using the highest quality raw materials and an understated approach. The brand DNA revolves around a wonderful Old English idea of redolence, which might even be a Shakespeare turn of phrase. The words archaic meaning is fragrant or sweet smelling, it also means suggestive or reminiscent – redolent. Hence the house title – Byredo.
The range itself tells its own tale of redolence with gorgeous fragrances all designed to evoke a memory or a place; a feeling or a moment in history. So we have titles like Mojave Ghost – a woody composition with a light, graceful character that slowly discloses its true intensity; Black Saffron – a homage to the sublime oriental spice, with citrus pomelo and juniper berry mellowed by rich golden saffron; Gypsy Water – an evocative scent inspired by the colourful romance of Romany life with bergamot, lemon, pepper and juniper berries followed by a incense and pine needles, amber, vanilla and sandalwood; Bal d’Afrique – inspired by Paris in the late 1920s in a vibrant melange of the avant-garde and African culture with the excess and euphoria that evokes in lemon, neroli, African marigold and bucchu, delicate violet, jasmine petals and cyclamen and intoxicating black amber, musk, vetiver and Moroccan cedarwood.
The newest fragrance for SS16 is the divinely vibrant and woody Super Cedar. The word Cedar derives from the Latin cedrus, a large tree with horizontal branches native to Africa, Asia and the Americas. Cedar is one of those scents that our nose recognizes most easily. Reminiscent of pencil shavings, it evokes nostalgia for school days and simpler times, log cabins and Scandinavian furniture. Super Cedar adds top notes of rose petals, to Virginian cedar wood followed by silk musk and Haitian vetiver. Delicious.
Super Cedar (and most of the BYREDO range) is available at the special popup counter in Selfridges (Manchester Exchange). It is also available at Harrods, Liberty and Selfridges (London) and byredo.co.uk. Super Cedar EDP £90 (50ml) Super Cedar EDP £135 (100ml).