When I first made perfume a part of my life it was all about the brand on the bottle. Until 2000 the perfumers who made my favorites were “ghosts”. After the growth of niche and some exposure by the early writers on perfume the “ghosts” became material. We who loved perfume knew who they were. In the words of my editor-in-chief, Michelyn Camen, at CaFleureBon they became “rockstars”. I began to follow my favorite perfumers the same way I followed my favorite brands. With all of that it didn’t mean the “ghosts” disappeared. There is a whole tier of perfumers who work relatively anonymously with little fanfare in fragrance across all sectors. In an October 2016 article in Perfumer & Flavorist author Pia Long wrote a profile of one of these, Wessel-Jan Kos. It remained in my memory for his enthusiasm for working in the fragrance industry even though only a few would ever know his name. Which is why I was pleased to find that Mr. Kos is the perfumer behind Goldfield & Banks Velvet Splendour.
This is the first perfume Goldfield & Banks owner-creative director Dimitri Weber has collaborated on with Mr. Kos. Velvet Splendour is meant to celebrate spring in Australia when the mimosa blooms. I know for many years mimosa was a spring kind of floral ingredient but there have been so many good recent releases it has crept into my summer rotation. Velvet Splendour is that kind of sunny summer floral.
Mr. Kos opens with mimosa in the kind of concentration where you also find some of the grace notes in there. In this case it is a powderiness which lives up to the velvet in the name. Mr. Kos uses a bit of hedione to give it some expansiveness. He simultaneously grounds it with a mixture of orange blossom supported by jasmine. The tether is the tint of indoles within both floral ingreidents. The perfume returns to its Australian roots with a good amount of sandalwood from there. Mr. Kos has his most fun in this base accord as he sweetens the sandalwood with a bit of tonka bean, gives it a resinous shine with opoponax, and a bit of earthiness with patchouli and vetiver.
Velvet Splendour has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.
Velvet Splendour is a smile-inducing mimosa perfume ideal for the warm weather. While I am not sure Mr. Kos really wanted to be seen, content in his anonymity, I am glad the “ghost” managed to peek out.
Disclosure: this review is based on a sample I purchased.
Editor’s note: I’ve linked the Perfumer & Flavorist profile on Mr. Kos but it does require registration to read the full article.
Of the many new things that have happened in the 21st century for modern perfumery one of the most important is it has spread worldwide. Perfumers no longer must be from the historical centers of perfume. As independent perfumery has risen in prominence great perfume has come from seemingly all four corners of the globe. One of the beneficiaries of this has been the accessibility of Australian perfume brands. One reason is there is different botany to be harvested which eventually finds its way into perfume. It provides for some unique creativity of which Goldfield & Banks Southern Bloom exemplifies.
Goldfield & Banks became widely available about a year ago as the first five releases arrived here in the US. Four of the five were focused on woody constructs while the other was an alternative aquatic which stood out among those first five. Owner-creative director Dimitri Weber wanted Goldfield & Banks to represent the special ingredients of Australia. In Southern Bloom he uses one of the ingredients which has been lightly used; boronia.
Mr. Weber continues to collaborate with perfumer Francois Merle-Baudoin. For Southern Bloom they sourced a multi-faceted boronia absolute from the fields of Bruny Island. Every time I’ve encountered boronia in a perfume I’ve enjoyed the prismatic floral quality it imparts to fragrance. I imagine for a perfumer it is by turns fun and challenging to find the right balance of other ingredients to balance it out. Southern Bloom uses boronia to provide the heart of the most floral construct from Goldfield & Banks, yet.
The boronia is placed at the top with a green blackcurrant bud as its opening partner. This gives a vegetal green undertone to the boronia. That begins to be swept away as jasmine, iris, and ylang-ylang gather the boronia up in a floral embrace. Throughout the heart it shifts tones as the jasmine makes it more white flower-like, then the iris gives a powdery effect, before ylang-ylang adds in a sensuality. M. Merle-Baudoin finds that elusive balance in an effusive floral heart accord. A tropical touch of coconut sets the stage for a base accord of vetiver and sandalwood.
Southern Bloom has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.
Southern Bloom stands apart from the rest of the line because of its floral nature. It stands in solidarity with the others in the desire to show off the Australian ingredients beautifully.
Disclosure: this review is based on a sample I purchased.
Starting in the late 1980’s there was a consistent stream of new musical acts hailing from Australia which formed a musical invasion of sorts. I wouldn’t label any of them as trendsetters within music but by incorporating Australian influences into existing rock music templates there was a discernable difference. I had a feeling of déjà vu as I experienced the sample set from a new brand out of Australia, Goldfield & Banks. A debut set of five perfumes deliver an Australian vibe to recognizable fragrance types.
Part of what owner-creative director Dimitri Weber achieves is to highlight some of the perfume ingredients which are common to Australia. One of the most obvious is Australian sandalwood which has come to be the best sustainable natural source since the Indian woods were overharvested. In White Sandalwood and Wood Infusion that ingredient forms the cornerstone around which both fragrances are built by perfumer Francois Merle-Baudoin. White Sandalwood is more “soli-wood” while Woof Infusion matches it up with oud and iris in a more expansive style. The other two entries also revolve around wood, Blue Cypress and Desert Rosewood. Blue Cypress has a refreshing lung-filling accord around the light woody ingredient. Desert Rosewood goes for a more classical Oriental base. All of them are nicely executed examples worth checking out to see if any of them offer something different to add to your collection. The one which I chose to spend some time with was Pacific Rock Moss.
There has been an admirable shift in aquatic perfume to go away from the suite of ozonic-fresh notes overused in the sector. Perfumers are now taking up the challenge of capturing sun, sea, and sand using different notes. One aspect of the beach milieu which I have been noticing more is a use of wet green vegetal accords. They are meant to evoke the kelp or algae growing in and around the seashore. M. Merle-Baudoin uses this to evoke a tidal pool surrounded by moss-covered rocks at midday.
To let you know the sun is high in the sky M. Merle-Baudoin shines a sunbeam of lemon down right at the start. This is a focused citrus which diffuses over time as a couple of greener notes in sage and geranium pave the way for the mossy rock accord to come forward. This is the smell of clean damp greenery. There is the hint of a mineralic facet which creates the tidal pool geology. I am guessing there is just a smidge of geosmin or something like it underneath the wet moss. Cedar comes forward as the tide rushes in to wash away the tidal pool until it recedes again hours later.
Pacific Rock Moss has 8-10 hour longevity and average sillage.
This early collection from Mr. Weber is worth seeking out. He has a clear aesthetic from down under which works for all the releases. I just enjoyed it best when applied to an aquatic in Pacific Rock Moss.
Disclosure: this review is based on a sample set I purchased.