Monday 1 July 2019

OUD BOURBON by Byron Parfums

France is often referred to as the spiritual home of the perfume industry and it’s one of the many reasons why people still pilgrimage to the country in a quest for scented inspiration. You have the perfume attractions in Grasse, including the famous Institute of Perfumery, but there is also a lot happening in the nation’s capital. Paris boasts numerous fragrance companies and perfumers ready to create whatever is required, but it also promises something a little different thanks to the niche houses that have sprung up. One of the newest is Byron Parfums, and its current collection of five fragrances is intriguing.

The link between music and perfume has been mentioned many times, and it’s not unusual to find that musicians have found their way into the world of fragrance. This is exactly what happened with Yann Derriennic. Eleven years ago, he started to wonder whether he could take his creativity in a different direction, and the seed for Byron Parfums was born. Now, Yann was not a trained perfumer and so it took time to gather the information, materials, and ability that was needed to translate his inspirations into fragrance. His perseverance has resulted in a collection which is both unusual and also commercial.

The concept of the company seemed fairly straightforward, to create niche fragrances that would capture the imagination of those looking for perfumes that were original. However, what Yann has also managed to do is to add a level of accessibility to the scents and so, whilst being outside of the high-street offerings, does make the fragrances very wearable. This might not seem important to those who are looking for “perfumed art” but, when sales are required to keep a company afloat, it’s a very important consideration. With so many niche brands competing with each other it’s important that customers re-order.

Yann Derriennic says that he creates his fragrances like paintings and, in a similar way to music, looks for the harmony within the ingredients but envisages them as colours. He starts by taking a central inspiration for each perfume and, whilst there may be many fruitful accidents along the way, always strives to keep that original idea at the very heart of his creation. He says, “little by little, note by note, I painted my music but now I paint my perfumes.” The current collection of five fragrances includes 0.9, Mula Mula, Pirates, and The Chronic, but it was Oud Bourbon that I was surprisingly drawn to.

Oud is a troublesome ingredient and is used to excess in many perfumes. However, in Oud Bourbon it is balanced beautifully so as not to appear too aggressive. Initially you get the spiciness of the saffron with touches of an almost metallic neroli but, very quickly, a note of violet pulls up the oud from the base and remains throughout. The floral is amplified with jasmin and, in the background, is a hint of juicy blackcurrant. Interestingly, vanilla adds a boozy quality to the oud without being too sweet, hence Oud Bourbon, but the combination of sandalwood and patchouli adds an earthy smoothness which lingers as the fragrance fades.

Oud Bourbon is available from the Byron Parfums website at and is priced at 105€ for 50ml. [Sample provided by Yann Derriennic]

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