Thursday 24 October 2019

AURORA by Charles Wong

Anyone that launches a new business of any description in the current climate deserves the utmost admiration, but even more so if that person chooses to enter the perfume industry. This marketplace is full to the brim with established brands and artisan creators which means, in a nutshell, that you’re fighting an uphill battle from day one to be heard and to be seen. However, there are still those that choose to take on this challenge and, with a little bit of luck, manage to be noticed. One such person is Charles Wong who promises to provide us all with some much-needed timeless elegance in the form of Aurora.

It’s not unusual to find that the inspiration for starting a fragrance brand comes from having been a part of the luxury sector. This was the route that Charles found himself taking. Born in Hong Kong, he was schooled in Japanese, French, and German before eventually deciding to study Marketing Management. Being surrounded by both the luxury items and also the artistry that came with promoting these goods, Charles felt that there was an opportunity to create a truly niche fragrance that combined traditional French perfumery values with the cultural background that he was familiar with, and the result was Aurora.

One of the important parts about starting any company is knowing what your role will be within the organisation. Charles Wong was very clear from the outset that he would be the Artistic Director and, while he would make suggestions and decisions, the actual creation would be carried out by a trained perfumer. After having visited Grasse, as many perfume fans often do, he turned to Richard Asfour of Parfums Corialys to work with him on the creation of Aurora. Since 1987 Richard had been working with private labels but how would he get on with creating a modern-day Mr Darcy?

The idea that Charles had was to take the classical elegance that was epitomised by traditional French perfumery, add in a snifter of eccentric English aristocracy, and finish with a flourish of Asian mystery to create a fragrance that “blends together the best of the east and the best of the west.” You can see from the description why it took the pair over a year to agree on the finished perfume. Charles describes Aurora as “A scent that reminds you of the natural elegance one had ... that could never be forgotten.” I always love a generous helping of nostalgia but can this fragrance really provide the promised elegance?

Aurora opens with a bright aquatic quality, including an interesting note of melon, and a touch of pepper that could be part of the mineral accord that’s listed in the description. Very quickly a rice note starts to come through, imagine a powdery iris combined with a touch of sweetened musk, alongside a delicate freesia floral. The switch happens though when the subtly sweetened amber notes appear and are accompanied by a touch of elegantly crisp cedarwood and earthy oakmoss, that’s when we start to feel the pull between traditional and contemporary. Aurora sits right in the middle of masculine and feminine, with a decidedly refined feel about it, and would definitely meet the approval of Elizabeth Bennet.

Aurora is priced at £150 for 50ml, in a limited production of eighty bottles, and is available from Ave Parfum at or by contacting Charles Wong directly by clicking here. [Sample provided by Charles Wong]

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