Scenting Australia

By Jo Phillips

When we think of perfume, we may well think of the traditions of Grasse in France; when we think of Australia, we may well think of open space, of dry, wild desert. Not often would we put the words perfume and Australia together. But things have changed drastically in the world of beauty, and Australia can now boast a really great reputation and a selection of really excellent beauty brands. This excellence is now turning itself towards fragrance.

Meet Goldfield & Banks, a luxurious collection of fragrances featuring rare Australian essences and oils never before explored in European perfume culture. Native Australian seeds, gums, woods, flowers, lichen, roots, leaves and fruits have been carefully harvested to create a new and intriguing brand. It conjures the burning deserts, sparkling coastal vistas and deep, beautifully scented forests of the land.

Yet it took Belgian-French Dimitri Weber, a perfume expert to fall in total love with the country, the smells and scent nuances of his newfound homeland, to create a truly exciting Australian fragrance brand that celebrates the uniqueness of this vast land.

Recently added fragrance Velvet Splendour brings the total in Goldfield & Banks’s collection up to seven. Each scent has a very specific aura celebrating a place and time in this wonderful expanse of life, from town to city to desert to rocks and water. This collection of scents is as near to smelling Australia as you are ever likely to get, unless you are lucky enough to either live or visit there.

Let’s start with the newest fragrance to the collection, Velvet Splendour EDP:

“Velvet Splendour is like pressing one’s face into a large bunch of sunburnt wildflowers. It brings to mind a long drive through the wide-open, breezy and cloudless countryside of the Flinders Ranges and evokes the mimosa tree bursting into bloom, marking the first sign of an Australian Spring.”

Created by perfumer Wessel-Jan Kos, this perfume opens with sharp, clean, bright mandarin and addictive hedione, which allows the radiant floral heart of mimosa absolute, orange blossom absolute and jasmine sambac to penetrate. The base? Oppoponax, tonka bean, patchouli, vetiver, leather accord and heliotropine alongside white sandalwood, which holds and rounds out a stunning unisex oriental-spicy fragrance. One other interesting note is the colour of the fragrance: a soft, sagey, lime yellow, calmingly evocative of those dried flowers in the desert.

Then there is the deliciously vivid turquoise bottle of Pacific Rock Moss EDP, and it very much does what it says:

“Distinctive marine notes, graced with aromatic essences that takes you on a lush New South Wales coastal walk on a beautiful summer day.” Think crashing waves hitting porous rocks covered in moss, with sandy beaches and shady trees.

Top notes of Italian lemon alongside an aquatic accord starts the journey toward a heart of French sage and an Australian coastal rock moss accord. A warm, sensual dry-down of Virginia cedarwood, musk and amber rounds out this unisex coastal delight.

Or go vivid pink, lurid and luxurious with Southern Bloom. The colour of the fragrance reflects the famous pink Lake Hillier in Western Australia, the birthplace of the original boronia flower, which this perfume honours.

“A rare and enchanting native scented shrub, the Brown Boronia, during its short September ‘spring-bloom’ on Bruny, Australia’s southernmost island, off the coast of Tasmania. Brown Boronia has small aromatic leaves and produces flowers in spring that have a very intense and attractive fragrance, whose purified oil extract is one of the most expensive in the world.”

Created by perfumer François Merle-Baudoin, this limited-edition fragrance with French blackcurrant absolute and Italian mandarin presents a fresh, green and hesperidium lustre before precious boronia absolute, Indian jasmine sambac and ylang-ylang. This creates a rich and unique exotic floral accord with soft, creamy Australian sandalwood, Italian iris and a coconut accord. These fall into the base notes of vetiver, amber and musk, bringing a sophistication and longevity to this unisex floral – woody EDP.

Then there is the honey-coloured warmth in the bottle of native White Sandalwood; a celebration, in fact, of Sandalwood’s home. All perfumes that contain this most delicious of woods now come from Australia, and so it is only fitting that Goldfield & Banks celebrates this native tree in a scent.

“A unique blend of exotic spices and rich wood. It evokes the fragrance of sizzling scented oil flowing down the balmy leaves of a sacred tree.”

It opens at the top with Comoros Islands pepper and Moroccan thyme, letting a heart come through of heady floral Turkish rose with an accord of delicate white flowers. An exotic and woody dry-down of Indonesian patchouli, Haitian vetiver, amber saffron and Australian white sandalwood round out this unisex floral-woody.

Also to be found in the collection are Desert Rose:

” an exceptional encounter between a rainbow of woods and the spectacular Australian desert under a burning sun. Top notes of Sicilian mandarin, Calabrian bergamot and Indian cardamom give way to a heart of French violet and nutmeg. A warm, sensual dry-down of benzoin, Indonesian patchouli and Australian desert rosewood rounds out this unisex EDP.”

Blue Cypress:

a haze of light incense infused with the scent of the morning dew evaporating from a deep blue-green forest. Top notes of Italian bergamot and aniseed give way to a heart of Bulgarian lavender, Indian star anise and Australian eucalyptus. A warm dry-down of Indonesian clove and Australian blue cypress rounds out this unisex EDP.”

And lastly, the soft sage-coloured Wood Infusion:

an exotic infusion of all wood species found around Fraser Island. The fragrance is an exotic infusion of Australian woods, enriched with sandalwood album, iris and velvety agarwood. This unique combination offers a sensation of a creamy, rich scent crafted from nature’s most noble botanicals. Top notes of Brazilian sweet orange, Australian lavender and spices give way to a heart of Italian Iris and Australian exotic woods. A warm, woody dry-down of agarwood, musk and Australian sandalwood rounds out this unisex EDP.”

Many of us have not experienced this vast land of many textures and smells, of rugged landscapes and vast open plains, of deep greens and crushing sea blues, of white sands and yellow deserts with the most unusual blooms that carve their way into landscapes. If it is a dream to visit Australia, then start with these seven delightful emotive perfumes, built to explore this wonderful land that is to us the magical land of Oz.

Goldfield & Banks is available at Jovoy Harvey Nichols and Liberty in the UK; find out more at their website

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