Monday, 18 February 2019

BERGAMOT by Herba London

Independent perfumers seem to be multiplying at an astonishing rate in the United Kingdom but “quantity” doesn’t seem to have diminished “quality” in this ever-expanding market. Whilst some have a small team to help with every aspect of the production, others really are one-person operations. However, being independent from large corporations means that these perfumers are free to create without the constraints of trend or fashion, and the results are often remarkable. Last year saw the launch of Herba London, founded by Peter de Bique, and his debut collection of eight fragrances was outstanding.

The reasons for starting a fragrance brand are numerous but, unless you are solely in it to make money quickly and then disappear as rapidly as you arrived, a prerequisite is the desire to make scents that connect with the wearer. Finding the right balance between personal taste and a customer’s expectation can be a tricky line to walk but, ultimately, the perfumer must do what he or she feels is right. You can never please everyone but hopefully there will be a core group of followers that completely understand what you’re trying to do.

Peter de Bique is a self-taught perfumer with a genuine love of fragrance, and you really sense this when you experience his perfumes. Originally a property consultant, he maintains that his interest was fuelled by the variety of surroundings that he found himself in. Spending his days working alongside architects and designers made him appreciate how exciting it was to translate ideas into something more physical, and the first seeds were sown for a collection of fragrances. Peter started to study the creation of perfume and, after a lot of learning by experimenting, his collection was finally ready to release under the name of Herba London.

The range was described as being “for those who are effortlessly different, embrace individualism, and are able to boldly capture their authenticity.” At the time it was seen as a bold statement but, as people started to discover the collection, it soon became clear that the series provided exciting scents that were wearable and also individual. Londoner Peter de Bique envisaged that the range would be “representative of the diverse nature of the city he knows and loves,” and he succeeded. Whilst the whole landscape of his scents is well worth exploring, my favourite has to be Bergamot.

To describe Bergamot as effervescent would be an understatement. It opens with an explosion of the key ingredient but you immediately start to get the more aromatic aspect of this beautiful citrus. It’s blended with a sweet orange and an almost metallic neroli to form, what feels like, more of a hesperidic accord and this has an impressive tenacity on the skin. The ingredients list Turkish rose, and that would make sense of the slightly spiced floral in here, but the final development of the scent really belongs to the elegant note of a slightly sweetened cedarwood.

Bergamot is available from the Herba London website at herbalondon.com priced at £125 for 100ml. [Sample provided by Herba London]

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