Pieces Of Australia

By Emily Zoeller

Bush food; it’s more than just witchetty grubs and creepy crawlies in the sacred lands of Australia where the Aboriginal tribes have been sourcing it for thousands of years. Dating back to the first discovery of Quandongs (fruit with an edible, nutlike seed), from the tree we know and love as Sandalwood. But what makes this traditional giver of ‘bush-tucker’ so perfect for perfume? Fragrance creators Goldfield & Banks explore this majestic tree and other native flora and fauna in their fragrances, keeping the sustainability and native ingredients of Australia alive. Find out more here in Pieces Of Australia.

Not all the best smells in the world come from France. Although they are seen as the leading country in the art of perfumery, with the first traces of perfume in France dating back to the Bronze Age, there are plenty of other places that give inspiration to new and inviting scents. Let’s delve deeper into the world of flowers, woods, seas and skies in the far-off land of Oz.

A familiar smell, Sandalwood, used in incense was commonly sourced from India. However, since the tree itself became over-harvested, Australia took over as the world’s biggest producer of this divine wood.

Aboriginal tribes used Sandalwood first, sampling the scent for relaxation and medicinal purposes. The tree was used for smoking ceremonies to celebrate life events within the tribe. Since no Sandalwood grew organically on the coast of East Australia, they sourced the tree from Fiji.

Sandalwood is derived from the word ‘Candana’, meaning “wood for burning incense”, hence why it became a popular element of incense sticks.

Sandalwood with its ‘bush-tucker’ fruit. Image by Jean & Fred Hort

Founded in 2016 by Dimitri Weber, the perfume brand Goldfield & Banks sets out to introduce us to a new way of approaching perfumes. The brand never shies away from using ingredients from every corner of Australia. It’s no surprise since Dimitri himself, although not originally from Australia, found a home here and explored it via his love of perfumery.

Also, the brand pays homage to Joseph Banks, who first voyaged to Australia in 1770. The botanist found many ingredients that Goldfield & Banks use in their scents, including Mimosa, and introduced the rest of the world to undiscovered flora from his travels. To pay tribute to such an important person in the discovery of luxurious botanicals, as well as the continent itself, Dimitri used his knowledge of perfumery from his hometown in France to create some of the brand’s best-selling perfumes.

Goldfield & Banks has two main collections at the moment: The Native Collection and The Botanical Series. Using native ingredients sourced sustainably from parts of Australia, The Native Collection is a popular favourite amongst perfume lovers. As part of The Botanical Series, a collection of vibrant fragrances based on Australia’s wild beauty and plants, Goldfields & Banks has introduced a unique take on the South Pacific with its new fragrance, Island Lush.

Think, golden warming sunrise against the darkened sea, at first, a sniff, the scent of Nutmeg greets; an enveloping hug. The feeling of the first sight of the sun in the morning. It takes us through to the heart of the perfume; sweet Iris with a woody hint. The sea lapped against wooden steps down to the beach. By sunset, the base tones follow, led by the musky scent of Patchouli to the calming Sandalwood. It feels like dusk upon the continent, chirping crickets from the vetiver, dimly lit cabins. 

The Sandalwood oil is refined in Vanuatu, a collection of small islands off the South Pacific coast, and blended with classic Sandalwood from the heart of Australia. At first, the senses are introduced to the tangy top notes of Bergamot. Then journeying on to floral Iris and herby Geranium to finalise in Benzoin and Sandalwood. All the notes for this scent convey the beautiful country.

Velvet Splendour, from Goldfield & Banks’ Native Collection, mixes the art of perfumery from France with the native essence of Australian ingredients yet again. The smell of spring is compressed into one bottle. Using exotic fragrances from Mandarin, Orange Blossom and Jasmine, the perfume itself takes you to sunrises in the outback. The Wattle is native to Australia and the fragrant essential oil is extracted from the flowers of the Wattle called Mimosa.

The Ngunnawal and Wiradjuri people, both Aboriginal tribes, used Wattle for various purposes. The bark for rope, the seeds for flour, the timber for tools. Australia labelled Mimosa as the official floral emblem of the country in 1988.

Perfumer Wesser Jan Kos used all Wattle and Mimosa from Flinders Ranges, located in South Australia in the mountain ranges and rich in wildlife and Aboriginal history. The Wattle from these ranges gives off that ‘sunburnt’ smell. The brand also uses leather in the essence of the perfume to create that genderless yet glamorous scent. 

Their fresh bouncy Bohemian Lime scent, as another example, includes Finger Limes that were used as a food source for Aboriginal tribes. The Finger Lime’s original name was ‘Citrus Caviar’ due to its unique-looking pulp. Alongside this, the company’s elixir, Southern Bloom uses the native flower of Tasmania, the Boronia flower.

The Purple Suede perfume uses Tasmanian Lavender grown for centuries in Australia, which is how it gets its name. Another scent from the Native Collection, Wood Infusion, includes a mix of Sandalwood, Agar Wood and Iris from the exotic Fraser Island, an island rich in humid rainforests, eucalyptus woodlands and coastal heaths.

A classic from Goldfield & Banks is Sunset Hour. Alongside Sandalwood, the perfume also takes essence from Australian Desert Peach as a top note, also a native Quandong. This plant derives from the Sandalwood family, giving a lush citrusy scent complimented by an earthy essence. The brand is also the first to use a Desert Peach note in its fragrance, giving a blissful unique scent that is distinctively recognisable to the people of Australia.

The fruit was used by Aboriginal tribes, dried and rehydrated for food. Similarly to Island Lush, Sunset Hour encapsulates fruity top notes of Desert Peach and Mandarin, followed by floral Jasmine, and then finishes with base notes of aromatic Cashmere and Vanilla. The mix of various fruit scents including Mango, Coconut and Pear gives off a tropical essence, complimented by the warming Pink Pepper that lends a sharp and tangy smell.

Goldfield & Banks use a lot of native Sandalwood, yet sometimes they opt for a different tree to use for its unique wood with glorious scents. Their Desert Rosewood uses Buddha Wood, a leathery-smelling tree that originally was used in meditation and also for the protection of the auric field, spiritually known as the layers of a person both physically and emotionally. This wood is commonly known as ‘false Sandalwood’ and is supplied from Central Highlands, home to rich and inviting rainforests west of Victoria in Australia.

Silky Woods is a fragrance that tells a story. The story of explorers travelling and discovering the Daintree Rainforest in 1873. The rainforest was named after Australian geologist Richard Daintree, and is home to a vast percentage of the country’s animal population. The brand used Agar Wood from this very rainforest to embrace the discovery in the best way possible, without losing the natural heritage of the habitat.

Australian Finger Limes. Image by Malcolm Manners

Goldfield & Banks convey the Australian legacy into perfumes for everyone, no matter what gender, bringing a whole new face to the world of scent. One that you don’t need to travel to Australia to sample.

Check out the Goldfield & Banks website here for more information. Harrods is the UK stockist

If you enjoyed reading Pieces Of Australia, why not try Pistachio Dream.

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