It was sometime in 2011, while systematically working my way through the archive of MR PORTER’s ‘Men of the Moment’ (for I do love the thrill of being granted a personal passport into the worlds of fascinating and colourful characters), that I was struck by the image of Mr. Ben Gorham. Beyond the initial curiosity sparked by his somehow manicured ruggedness and eyes that sang of an exotic ancestry, there was something else that held me in dazed intrigue. Staring at the picture before me, I drank in the most paradoxical juxtaposition. My eyes, wandering over his heavily tattooed forearms, deciphering each piece of imagery and wondering about their meanings and origins, were struck suddenly as they fell on the word ‘Perfumer’ that mysteriously captioned the image.
Fascinated by the visual irony before me, I was instantly hungry for more information about this creature who, without progressing any further into my investigation, I knew to be inspiring. As I read further, learning of the 6’5” native Swede, whose ties to his mother’s India were strong enough to paint an exotic wash over his father’s Scottish-Canadian genes, I only become increasingly enthralled in the gentle giant’s story.
Undeniably an artist and an entrepreneur, this not-yet-30 year old is the reason for the existence of BYREDO Parfums, a boutique house responsible for sensory creations of the most hallucinatory and transportive nature, each fragrance designed to conjure a time, place, experience or memory close to Gorham’s heart.
The more I learned of the perfume puppeteer, the more I was eager to know: who was this curious creature, whose illustrated skin cast an armour of toughness, but whose senses were so gentle and delicate enough to be able to skillfully conduct an orchestra of exotic and precious ingredients, and create surreal sensory symphonies? With characteristic curiosity comparable to a cat’s, I am always only too willing to become caught up in a bit of mystery.
Forever favouring interesting and intriguing individuals as illustration subjects, I was immediately compelled to put my Pacer to paper and earn myself a lead Gorham, where he can stay put long enough for me to ponder his mysteriousness. So here he safely sits, a graphite-toned twin of his physical self, as wafts of the dream-spinning Rose Noir that I doused myself with today at Liberty happily float around a contented me.
Pictured left: my work in progress…