Monday 16 January 2023

BÅRK by ånd fragrance

And Fragrance bottle of Bark perfume
There are two ways that a perfume company can approach new launches; they can either machine gun them out as fast as possible or take a more measured approach. The former is guaranteed to generate sales, but it’s the latter that’s more likely to also create loyal followers. The market is saturated with new releases every month, and so gathering this fan base is vital. That’s the direction that
ånd Fragrance have taken under the ever-watchful eye of founder Simon Constantine, and 2023 sees a new perfume join the collection. So, with Brazilian rosewood under the spotlight this time, it’s time to discover Bårk.

I’ve reviewed ånd fragrances since they first launched back in 2020, and we all remember what a troubled year that was, but it’s been Simon’s dogged optimism and untiring zest for creation that has shone through in every release. The philosophy of the company is to truly give back to the communities that provide the star ingredients, by purchasing directly from them where possible, and this has led to fragrances that amplify and explode particular oils rather than being governed by trends or styles. Originality is often hard to find in the world of perfumery, and that’s probably because ånd has it all.

The company launched with five fragrances: Sånd featured Dutjahn sandalwood, Frånk offered Marda Moge frankincense, Beån showcased Kayapo tonka, Måd focused on Madagascar’s vanilla, and Båre used a suite of ingredients from Canada’s Great Bear Rainforest. This was followed in 2021 by Påtch, which spotlighted Sumatran dark patchouli, and Får in 2022, which took zesty Portuguese yuzu as its focus. However, finding a sustainably farmed source of Brazilian rosewood gave Simon the inspiration he needed to create Bårk. Rosewood is more often synthetic or of Indian origin now, which makes this latest release a wonderfully unexpected treat.

And Fragrance box for the bottle of Bark perfume
Rosewood essential oil is obtained by steam distilling the wood chippings from the Aniba rosaeodora tree. Now, the tree was aggressively felled in the past, which is why it’s now a protected species in Brazil, but sustainably sourced supplies are available. By confirming with his supplier the providence of the rosewood that he uses, Simon is helping to fund these sustainable practices in Brazil and ensure that the Aniba rosaeodora tree continues to grow in the country. The oil itself gives off a delicately floral and woody aroma, with just a hint of spice, so how has Simon Constantine showcased it in Bårk?

The fragrance explodes from the bottle with an excitingly piercing blend of galbanum and neroli, so a real shot to the senses, before the arrival of a playful sherberty orange. It then reveals the first floral hints, with a rose and apricot-tinged osmanthus, but in the background is the herbaceous note from conifer-edged marijuana oil. This draws in the peppery quality from the rosewood, before then revealing more of the star ingredient’s woody aspect. However, the development goes off on the perfect tangent with mango leaf absolute giving you first a subtle leathery aspect but mixing it with a dry hay and tonka bean. Originality and excitement are a much-desired pairing in perfume, and Simon Constantine has achieved both with Bårk.

Bårk is available from the ånd fragrance website at priced at £125 for 50ml, £35 for 10ml, or £6.50 for 2ml. It’s also available as a solid perfume for £35. Click on the image below to read my “Stephan's Six” interview with Simon Constatine from September 2020. [Sample provided by the company]

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