M/MINK by Byredo

10 Nov

Would I invest in a fragrance based on ‘black ink’? As such an unconventional concept, I would expect it to stand out in my personal scent wardrobe, promising to offer something more obscure than my shelf of longstanding favorites. Yes, I’d be curious but also hesitant to spend £115 on 100ml. But with acclaimed graphic design duo M/M (Paris) behind not only the seductive campaign imagery but also the fragrance itself, its provenance is unique; an olfactory invitation one cannot ignore.

Founded in 2006, Stockholm-based fragrance house Byredo now have a collection of 12 unisex fragrances, each of which is an unexpected but inspired collaboration. Their latest partnership, with M/M, is particularly interesting. Not only are they the first graphic designers to create a perfume for distribution but the pair have turned the process of fragrance creation (and their own working style) on its head. Whereas Mathias Augustyniak and Michael Amzalag’s usual role in the beauty industry is to respond to a fragrance with a visual, M/M asked Byredo’s Ben Gorham and Jérôme Epinette of ROBERTE to produce a fragrance in response to 3 reference points: a block of solid ink purchased in Asia, a photograph of a Japanese calligrapher and a large Utopian formula that Mathias drew on Korean traditional paper.

As one would expect, no less attention has been given to the packaging and promotional material. M/M’s distinctive logo and signature organic aesthetic is splashed across the box. The duo are also reappropriating a series of images by photographers Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin for the accompanying campaign imagery, available to download as wallpaper for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad users.

And the smell itself? Simple in structure, M/MINK has an Adoxal top note, an incense middle note and a Patchouli leaf, clover-honey and amber dry down. Its composition is also in keeping with the current women’s wear minimalist trend. It lives up to its namesake: strange, yet familiar, warm, its most appealing attribute is an unexpected lightness. Worth every penny, M/MINK is a scent to sit proudly on my shelf and occasionally, smell on a partner.

M/MINK Eau de Parfum by Bryedo, £115 for 100ml, available at Byredo’s flagship store, Colette, Liberty and Barney’s

Photography Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin

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