I've found a new everyday scent: Baudelaire by Swedish perfumer Byredo. I'd describe it as oddly handsome, the first whiff evoking fresh leather giving way to an herbaceousness that reminds me so vividly of the smell of that malevolent forest in Punchdrunk's Sleep No More. My mother, sour-faced, dismissed it at first smelling, saying it reminds her of the scent of a new bag. (Believe me, she knows very well the experience of opening up the box to many a new handbag..) Confuzzled, I thought to myself, what could be a more festive morning pick-me-up than a fragrance that smells of new leather goods?
Opening the box, I was delighted to find a little envelope...
...that contains an excerpt of the poem Parfum Exotique by French poet Charles Baudelaire, who the scent was named after:
It's a beautiful, sensual piece. Allow me to share with you the full English version:
When, with both my eyes closed, on a hot autumn night,I inhale the fragrance of your welcoming breastI see happy shores spread out before me,Blazing in the flames or a monotonous sun;A lazy isle to which nature has givenSingular trees, savory fruits,Men whose bodies are vigorous and slender,And women in whose eyes shines a surprising candor.Guided by your fragrance to these charming climates,I see a port filled with sails and mastsStill exhausted by the waves of the sea,While the perfume of the green tamarinds,That fills up the air, and widens my nostrils,Mingles in my soul with the sailors’ songs.
Here it sits as the star of my scent-shelf, flanked by L'Occitane's The Vert (for sweltering summer days) and Comme des Garcons Eau de Parfum (for weary whiskey winter nights), with my old everyday fragrance Bvlgari's Pour Homme Extreme sitting jealously behind.
photographs by Mikee Tuason