A picnic spot in Chembur, a Mumbai suburb where Ben Gorham’s mother grew up, plays a major role in the perfume designer and entrepreneur’s olfactory story. Gorham – born in Stockholm and raised in the US and Canada before moving back to Europe – visited Chembur as a child, returning 15 years later to find the area densely developed but still aromatically permeated with the distinctive incense of his boyhood memories, emanating from a Hindu temple. When he started his Stockholm-based fragrance brand Byredo, the exotic Indian aroma became the inspiration for a perfume, Encens Chembur.
‘Making perfume is an emotional experience,’ explains Gorham. ‘For me it starts with a collection of inspirations – poetry, literary texts, art, anything that helps me communicate the ideas and feelings for a new fragrance.’
It was whilst reading fine art in Stockholm that Gorham had a chance meeting with Swedish perfumer Pierre Wulff and became fascinated. An interest grew into an obsession and then a brand… to support the obsession! Six years later it’s a global business.’ Gorham’s aim is to create beautifully packaged fragrances that are potent evocations of poignant moments.
‘ We focus on a select, small amount
of raw materials and let them speak