Fragrance and smell are the basis of many life affirming experiences that linger in memories for years. I met with Nicola Parker, Brand Director for Fragrance Du Bois to talk about the niche fragrance market and what makes Fragrance Du Bois special.
The luxury unisex fragrance market is busy. What makes Fragrance Du Bois stand out?
Fragrance Du Bois is committed to using real sustainable Oud oil in our Oud based range. Every one of our Oud fragrances comes with a certificate clarifying the location where the ingredient was harvested and a wood chip from the tree where the Oud originated. We believe this gives us an incredible product that is draped in luxurious packaging to compliment the scent.
Are all your fragrances unisex? What makes a smell unisex?
We would say 95% of our fragrances are unisex. Real Oud reacts in different ways on ones skin. This almost produces a bespoke scent on each individuals skin, therefore it becomes completely wearable no matter what your gender. Also scents are perceived differently in various regions, what is considered slightly feminine fragrance in one area can be a masculine scent in another region of the world.
How long does the fragrance last on your skin?
This does vary from person to person and can really depend on the balance of your skin. As most of us know applying your fragrance on your warm pulse points will increase the impact and longevity of your fragrance. Oud is well known for increasing longevity on the skin.
How is the fragrance industry coping with the challenges of 2020?
As in any industry the events of the last few months have been a time for reflection on what is truly important to you. Online shopping has become increasingly important over all aspects of life and in terms of the fragrance industry, having an option for customers to sample fragrances from home is hugely important and also offering an online service to advise customers on their choice is key. Here at Fragrance Du Bois the whole team is available through the online store to consult with customers on their purchases.
At Cache Cache you created a house fragrance just for them. What inspired the aromas behind this bespoke scent?
We were honoured to be approached by the Cache Cache team to create the fragrance for their brand. We chose a fragrance that was exuberant, exciting and exudes that special feeling when you enter this very exclusive restaurant and club. The scent is sprayed throughout and adds to the amazing atmosphere.
Tell us about the limited edition NHS inspired bottle.
We have all been totally humbled by the people who are on the front line globally. It certainly had a huge impact on our team and we really wanted make a contribution no matter how small to the NHS. We have this incredibly loyal following of not only fragrance lovers but also collectors so we decided to create an exclusive piece in Oud Bleu (see featured image) with the rainbow logo in thousands of hand applied Swarovski crystals that was synonymous with the feeling of gratitude to those helping us through this time. This exclusive bottle is now available to bid on until mid June details are on our Instagram page.
Your collections are inspired by places, nature, fashion and more. What is the next collection going to be inspired by?
We have just launched some hair mists in selected fragrances which we think is a lovely addition to a fragrance routine. Hair scent is very effective and our range also contains additives to condition the hair. We are also looking to compliment some of our fragrances with home scents, which are becoming a really important aspect in daily life and adds to the general feeling of well-being at home.
Top tips for choosing the right first date fragrance?
Choose a fragrance that makes you feel confident and suits the mood of your date. Apply it to all pulse points and remember, you want your fragrance to compliment who you are, not overtake you. For an evening out, choose a sensual fragrance such as Sahraa with Oud or a fragrance with sandalwood like Santal Complet.
What about creating a fragrance collection linked to sport?
Sport takes an incredibly important role in many people’s lives, we hope Fragrance Du Bois can compliment that. Memories and events are often associated with fragrance and many people have told us they have linked one of our fragrances to a happy event including a couple of professional footballers.
What makes your Prive collection different to the other collections?
Shades was created initially and linked to moods and colours. We then started working with a couple of perfumers who worked very closely with the Oud and really found notes that created incredible scents. The Prive bottles also have a gorgeous gold plaque to differentiate them from the other ranges.
How does Oud become Oud?
Originally the Agarwood tree grew in abundance around Asia and when the tree was damaged it produced a black resin within the wood which is Oud. This was only in about 7% wild trees however illegal loggers did not understand this and the trees were felled unnecessarily looking for the ‘black gold’ as Oud has become known.
This prompted a preservation order to be issued by the CITES board (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) and it became illegal to harvest any wild tree. Therefore due to the demand Oud became even more rare and expensive and small plantations began nurturing Agarwood trees under strict guidelines with government bodies to produce Oud oil and the use the wood from the trees for bracelets carvings etc. We have a direct supply from legal sources to create our fragrances we pledge that they plant 2 trees for every tree that is felled from sales of our 100ml fragrances.
The dark resinous part of the tree is chopped into chips by hand and then steam distilled to produce the oil. Typically a tree produces approx 2 tolah of oil (24ml). Each KG of oil that is imported by us has to be authorised and stamped that is is legal by the local government body and has to be approved by the UK CITES board before a licence to import is granted.
Is oud sustainable?
Oud grown on the plantations certainly is, the distilling is as natural as possible using steam to keep it pure, our Oud is never mixed with any other substance. When the plantations were started in fairly rural areas this gave whole villages work and enabled them to build schools and inter harvesting on the land enabled the farmers to grow their own produce.
There is a perception that Oud is mainly for Arabs. Why is that?
The Middle East has been using Oud for centuries not only as fragrance for the skin but also Bakhoor for burning as home fragrance. This is part of daily life and the spend on fragrance in the Middle East per capita is the highest in the world. Oud is really understood in this region and Oud fragrances are the most popular. The Oud fragrance really started to become commercial in the early 2000s in Europe when Tom Ford launched M7 from YSL. Since then it has become a staple in many fragrance ranges.
What about the ingredients that go into your fragrances? How do you monitor that quality?
We only work with the finest perfume houses. We strive to deliver a luxury perfume range some which have Ouds and others which do not. Every fragrance has to stand up with its own character and has a story behind it whether it be the Oud or an interesting collaboration of notes. All of the ingredients are monitored very carefully with various tests and regulations before we can even start production. Then a very careful blending process is put in place for production of each fragrance.
If you have never tried Oud, what is the best way to choose the perfect Du Bois fragrance?
There is a huge misconception of Oud fragrances, clients often say they are too strong for them. Finding a fragrance that works with your skin is key as it then becomes part of you. We would always advise people to describe what notes they love and we would recommend a few key fragrances from the range, too many choices and your senses become confused. Once you have your choice and if you are unsure, wear the fragrance for a couple of days, we can guarantee you will get compliments!
You have 9 perfumers at FDB. What exactly do they do?
We only work with a handful of perfumers who really understand our ethos and the products we like to use. Pure Oud for one can be fairly challenging include in a fragrance. Usually we will a brief the perfumer on what we are looking for, for instance recently we decided to create a cannabis note fragrance, in the end we could not decide between two wonderful fragrances that were quite different so we launched both! Cannabis Blue and Cannabis Intense.
What is next for FDB? Tell us about your next fragrance.
We are keen to add to our Natures Treasures range. There are lots of fabulous natural products to work with in addition to Oud.
To discover more, visit: fragrancedubois.com
By Mark Captain
All imagery courtesy of Fragrance Du Bois.
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