Thursday 19 November 2020

CHARADE by Sarah Baker Perfumes

Fragrances launch in such rapid succession that you could easily be forgiven for not entertaining any scent that wasn’t created in the past twelve months. Our minds, and social media feeds, become so saturated with the newest “must have” perfumes that we often overlook everything that has gone before. I’m not talking about fifty years here; I’m thinking more along the lines of twenty four months! If there is one positive thing that lockdown has given us then it’s surely the gift of time - time to research - and that’s exactly how I discovered the deliciously deceitful, and wonderful unisex, Charade from Sarah Baker Perfumes.

The route to launching a perfume company is as varied as the scents themselves. For some it follows a training at one of the prestigious perfumery schools, for others it’s the fulfilment of a lifelong ambition, but for Sarah Baker it was the natural progression in her career. Sarah is a renowned multimedia artist, working in pretty much every medium, but perfumery was to be the newest string to her bow. She formed Sarah Baker Perfumes in 2015, following a successful scented art exhibition, and has gone on to launch an impressive thirteen fragrances. However, we’re heading back to 2018.

Sarah Baker
is a self-confessed lover of the glamorous eighties, and also the stylish stars of the cinema heyday that preceded it. So it was surely natural that Audrey Hepburn would eventually end up as the inspiration for one of her perfumes. Hepburn’s 1963 film of Charade with Cary Grant sees the action set in France as they try to outwit a notorious gang who are on the hunt for $250,000 that they believe our heroine has. Combining the CIA with Parisienne fashions, and throwing in some Cary Grant elegance, was always going to be a sure fire recipe for success, but who could pull off the scented version?

The task of creating Charade fell to Swiss perfumer Andreas Wilhelm. He had set up his first olfactive studio in 2008 and, from the very beginning, was always breaking the conventional rules of fragrance. That’s why asking him to help Sarah realise the iconic film through scent truly was the perfect pairing. The two worked closely on the project, trying to pull out the duality of the characters, but always holding onto the idea that keeping the essence of danger was vital to the finished scent. So, are you ready to travel back to sixties Paris and take on the murderous Carson Dyle? Keep your eyes open and watch your back!

opens with the undeniable blend of vintage tuberose, ylang, and a huge note of galbanum. However, before you think this is just another floral, a dryness reminiscent of cedarwood comes drifting through the centre. This is joined by an intriguing resinous aroma, placing you firmly in Paris stairwells, alongside a honeyed leather that hints at expensive suitcases. The vetiver and moss in the base add a wonderful chypre earthiness, which stops the amber accord becoming too warm, and a final touch of sandalwood completes a stunning scent that contrasts masculine with feminine and deceit with desire.

Charade is available from the Sarah Baker Perfumes website at, or Bare & Bond at, priced at £35 for 7ml and £120 for 50ml. [Sample provided by Sarah Baker]

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