“Perfumed escapism” – that’s what Nick Steward, founder of indie brand Gallivant, aims to bring to the world with his collection of city-inspired scents, and let’s be real, if there ever was a time when we needed to be transported elsewhere by perfume, now is it. With so many people under lockdown or working from home, and unable to travel, all because of the global Covid-19 pandemic, Gallivant provides virtual tours of faraway places, all through the medium of olfaction. Gallivant makes this big old world a much smaller and more accessible place, all with just one spritz of their transportive perfumes.
With their latest launch, Gallivant whisks us away to Uzbekistan and the noble city of Bukhara. This “fairytale city on the Silk Road”, as Gallivant puts it, is home to beautiful, colourful architecture, talented artisans, welcoming people and a melting pot of spices, fabrics and fruits. Gallivant worked with perfumer Ralf Schweiger (Lipstick Rose by Frederic Malle; Eau des Merveilles by Hermès, and so many more iconic scents) to distill the city of Bukhara into olfactory form. Together they chose the luxurious and elegant note of iris as Bukhara’s core material. To be honest, they had me at “orris”.
There is no city on Earth quite like Tokyo. It’s a sprawling metropolis, all clean and orderly, outlined by strips of neon, connected by expansive crossings and filled with more vending machines than anywhere else in the universe. It’s a singular, unique place awash with contrasts, where a fastidious obsession with perfection is the veneer that hides a dark underbelly of strangeness, and even darkness. There is beauty and art aplenty (in Japan, even pouring a cup of tea is an art form), and Dear Reader, the food is just out of this world.
I really do love Tokyo, can you tell? But I’m not the only one – British indie outfit Gallivant appear to be a fan too and they’ve created a fragrance inspired by this most unique city. Gallivant is a brand for “urban explorers” that creates scents inspired by iconic destinations. In their collection of seven fragrances they have traversed the globe, stopping off places such as Amsterdam, Istanbul, Brooklyn and of course, Tokyo. Much like the city – Tokyo the fragrance is my favourite. This review will tell you why.
What I am trying to evoke with this fragrance is that special feeling of early morning Tokyo. The air is humid and misty. Wandering the back streets, electric cables overhead, everything is tranquil and surprisingly quiet – like being in a village with small wooden houses. I also wanted to capture the tastes of izakaya eateries, fruits, spices, wasabi – sour and sweet – a zing on your tongue. The earthy dampness of potted plants outside shrines and wooden temples. It’s refined, spiritual – sandalwood and smoky incense. A calm elegance amid the big city neon energy.
I’m always crushing on something scented or other. My nose knows no limits. Candy Crush is where I showcase the beautifully scented things I’m crushing on right now so you can hopefully develop a crush too.
I love Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle. It is, hands down, one of my favourite fragrance brands and I’ve said many times before that it’s one of those rare cases where I would happily own every single fragrance in the collection. Honestly, there isn’t a single dud in the entire line and that too, is quite rare. Malle has curated a fine collection of scents – perfumes created by the greatest perfumers and presented without fuss, allowing the fragrances to speak for themselves. They are some of the best, if not the very best perfumes on the market – fact.
I’ve think I’ve hammered the point home, haven’t I? If I haven’t, let me summarise: Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle is amazing. The end.
I’ve been away for a couple of days so there won’t be new posts from me this week, excluding my usual weekly column for Escentual. As you may have read, I have started to share ‘Scented Stories’ of the sights and smells of the places I visit on my Instagram page, and subsequently on my blog. These thoughts of scent and travel got me to thinking about what other cities may smell like, and specifically what perfumes can evoke different fragrant elements of these varied landscapes.
For my Escentual column this week I’ve taken an imaginary trip around the world to eight amazing cities, some I’ve personally visited and some I am yet to. To create a fragrant picture of each city I have selected ten fragrances that relate to the scented nuances of these places. Some are literal, capturing the smells one encounters when visiting these cities, and some are a little bit more abstract, evoking thoughts and feels from within my imagination. So, pack your passport and your sunblock, and click here, to go around the world in 80 sprays!