Monday 31 July 2023


Photograph of David Benedek, founder of bdk Parfums

Launching a fragrance company is something that isn’t for the faint hearted, but the success of bdk Parfums shows that it’s possible when quality and dedication isn’t compromised. David Benedek founded the company in 2016 with a quintet of fragrances, and the collection now numbers an impressive nineteen. With a family link to fragrance that drew him to create bdk Parfums, I thought it was time to discover David’s scented memories during “Stephan’s Six”.

What is the first smell that you can remember?
My mother is from Morocco and my father was born in Romania, and my mother always used to cook a lot when I was young. She would use lots of spices in her cooking. So I have this vivid scent memory of cumin, nutmeg, saffron, all of those spices that she used to use when she cooked. Perhaps this is why I like spicy perfumes.

Vintage advert for Guerlain's Habit Rouge fragrance
What perfumes did your parents wear?
My father has always worn Habit Rouge from Guerlain, and this is still his favourite perfume. He does like one of mine as well though, which is Sel D’Argent. My mother’s was Allure Sensuelle from Chanel and, because of the aldehydes and the floral quality, it definitely lives up to its “sensual” name.

What was the perfume of your twenties?
I had a few, but I would say the main one was Bleu de Chanel, although I also liked Bulgari Man, the classic one. I liked Bulgari because it was very transparent, very clean, and very fresh at the same time. However, when I was living in New York and doing my internship in perfumery, Bleu de Chanel was what I was wearing at the time. So I really associate that fragrance with my New York life.

What was your biggest perfume mistake?
This is a really good question. There is one of my perfumes, the name is Wood Jasmin, and it features the jasmine from India and the jasmine from Egypt. Along with the perfumer Camille Leguay, I really wanted to explore the contrast between the floral and the animalic aspects of the flower, but when you smell it you don’t immediately smell jasmine. So people often see the name, then smell the perfume, but don’t really understand the connection. It was one of my first perfumes, so if I made it today I would choose a different name. That was one of my mistakes, but I’ve actually had many.

Picture of Frederic Malle's Musc Ravageur perfume, created by Maurice Roucel
You can only choose one perfume?
That's a hard question. I have my own perfume brand because I’ve been in love with fragrances since I was very young, so I would be very sad if I could only choose one. So please let me choose two. One of mine that I particularly love to wear, and which gives me a lot of comfort, is Crème de Cuir by Violaine Collas. From another company, a fragrance that I have loved since the beginning of the niche era was Musc Ravageur from Frédéric Malle. I really like this scent because it’s very sensual, and it’s the perfume that introduced me to the niche industry when I was a young student.

What perfume should I try?
It depends on what you like, but the latest one that I launched at Harrods would be a good choice. It’s called Vanille Leather. I’ve been working with Dominique Ropion, who is a very famous perfumer, and we’ve explored the leathery notes of the vanilla pod. This vanilla is unusual because it’s not sweet, it’s not gourmand, it’s leatherier and woodier thanks to the oak wood. I think that it’s a very unique perfume, and one that people won’t have smelled before.

For more information about David Benedek and bdk Parfums you can visit Vanille Leather, the company’s latest fragrance, is available exclusively from Harrods or the bdk Parfums website priced at £195 for 100ml. You can also read my review of Tabac Rose by clicking on the image below.

A picture of Tabac Rose, a fragrance by bdk Parfums

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