Australia is developing into one of the new frontiers for fine fragrances and Goldfield & Banks is a new brand that is shaping the country’s budding reputation. Created, formulated and bottled here in Australia, Goldfield & Banks tells an Australian story through the eyes of French-Belgian entrepreneur Dimitri Weber. Dimitri migrated to Sydney two years ago where he created a collection of four fragrances inspired by Australia’s native flora and distinct landscapes. He describes the collection as being “unravelled nature”. His fragrances are a “botanical dream from downunder”.
Dimitri came to Australia with a wealth of industry experience. In Paris he worked under Chantal Roos, the business mind behind countless successful fragrance launches including Yves Saint Laurent’s Opium, Issey Miyake’s L’Eau d’Issey and Jean Paul Gautier’s Le Male. Having great mentors and exposure to the industry’s leading edge undoubtedly helped him build the skills required to independently create a new brand from the ground up.
Dimitri says, “Where there are beautiful raw materials there are fragrances.” Despite Australia having many unique native ingredients, there are not many Australian fine fragrance brands. During his travels across the country, Dimitri came to appreciate some of the 24,000 native species of flora, a few of which are already used by perfumers around the world. Australian sandalwood (Santalum spitacum) has been an important alternative to rare Indian sandalwood (Santalum album) over the past decade. Eucalyptus and boronia are also used in the fragrance industry. Romanced by stories of Australia’s colonial past, of the gold rush and diggers’ legend that native sandalwood trees marked gold-rich soil, Dimitri began to piece his concept together. Joseph Banks was another brand reference and inspiration. Banks was a British botanist who sailed to Australia aboard Captain James Cook’s HMS Endeavour (1768 – 1771). Along his Pacific journey he catalogued thousands of botanical specimens.
Because Australia has a young history when it comes to making fragrances, it is not uncommon for Australian brands to go to Grasse or Paris to have their fragrances made. Dimitri was adamant he wanted to create a product that was made in Australia. He worked with Parfumis, a company of French perfumers based in Melbourne. Parfumis are connected to ABP, Australia’s largest essential oil manufacturer, which gave Dimitri access to all the best Australian botanical ingredients. In the end, only the bottle had to be sourced from France. Dimitri worked with Pochet et du Courval, one of France’s most respected glassmakers.
Goldfield & Banks fragrances are “perfume concentrates”, that are between 20-25% concentration. Kununurra, Western Australia is the inspiration behind White Sandalwood, a fragrance overdosed with Australian sandalwood. Kununurra is a small, remote area in northern Western Australia where native sandalwood grows in abundance. It also became an important global source of sustainably grown Indian sandalwood a few years ago. Pacific Rock Moss is an ode to Australia’s New South Wales coastline, which is home to some of the country’s most picturesque beaches. It is a marine fragrance that sparkles with freshness. Dimitri looked to the Northern Territory’s Kakadu for inspiration when he created Blue Cypress. This fresh and aromatic fragrance is based on notes of cypress, lavender and patchouli. Desert Rosewood is my favourite in the collection. It is a dry and rugged fragrance that is inspired by Victoria’s Central Highlands.
Dimitri uses the terms, “sunrise, summit and sunset” to describe the way his fragrances evolve on skin instead of traditional top, middle and base note terminology. Desert Rosewood’s sun rises with Sicilian mandarin oil, which brings a golden radiance and shimmer to the fragrance. Mandarin feels dewy. It offers a hint of moisture before the fragrance’s olfactory sun climbs into the sky and the fragrance becomes dry and almost dusty. The summit accord is dominated by spicy cardamom oil. At sunset the citrus and spices settle; warm, sensual woods and resins come into focus. Desert Rosewood contains a high percentage of its namesake ingredient, desert rosewood or Buddha wood (Eremophila mitchellii). The wood’s inherent sweetness is fortified with benzoin resin from Laos and vanilla from the Comoros Islands. The dry woody notes produce a subtle leather effect that pairs well with earthy patchouli oil. Benzoin and vanilla add roundness and warmth to the finale.
The Goldfield & Banks fragrances are intended to evoke a sense of being “country luxe.” They are not urban fragrances and the collection captures the rawness of Australia’s environment from the dry outback climate to the salty and humid coastal air. All of this is achieved while maintaining classical perfumery decorum; Desert Rosewood reminds me of Jicky or Mouchoir de Monsieur with a modern twist – I don’t think Dimitri could help but weave a little bit of European elegance into his Australian fragrances. Still, there is an ease that comes with wearing a fragrance like Desert Rosewood, which suits the laid-back Australian lifestyle perfectly well.
Further recommendations: Creed – Aberdeen Lavander, Penhaligon’s – The Tragedy of Lord George, Guerlain – Jicky.
Creative Direction: Dimitri Weber
Release Date: 2016
Typology (via Fragrances of the World): Woody Oriental