Who: Dimitri Weber, artistic director and founder of Goldfield & Banks Australia. After many years in the fragrance industry, Dimitri found himself in Australia, home to many wonderful indigenous fragrance oils and inspiring botanicals. So, using his fine fragrance experience and the Australian landscape as his inspiration, Dimitri decided to launch Goldfield & Banks, named after the British botanist Joseph Banks and the gold fields where the sandalwood trees of Australia thrive.
Today I’m wearing Desert Rosewood. It’s a fragrance that takes me back home when I travel, it’s exotic but reminds me of Australia. And because I know how it’s formulated and crafted, I feel like I’m wearing a very rich, complex and high quality perfume.
It’s earthy, resinous and oriental, with a sunny aspect. We don’t talk about top notes or heart notes, instead we call the opening the sunrise, and it features mandarine and cardamom. Then you’ve got ambergris and buddha wood oil, an indigenous Australian ingredient which comes from the central highlands of Victoria. The scent is so chic and different, with a sturdiness to it.
Fragrance is very important to me and I’ve been wearing it all my life, my first purchase was a little bottle of Jacamo, very 70s! I can’t live without fragrance, I even have to have a spritz before I go to bed. I was recently in Paris and bought a bottle of Roger & Gallet Bois D’Orange, not to wear but to take a piece of my previous life in Europe back to Australia.
I’d been working for 25 years in the fragrance industry before launching Goldfield & Banks, it was a breath of fresh air to go to Australia and realise there was so much untapped beauty in the indigenous ingredients. The recognition came almost instantly, which was unexpected because Australians are hard to please and I’m not even Australian!
We had great support from the media from the start. We also have luxury consumers in Australia who buy Gucci and Chanel but increasingly want to be patriotic and buy Australian. The best example is Nicole Kidman and her husband Keith Urban who are lovely clients, they have everything you can imagine gifted to them, but they chose to wear Goldfield & Banks. Pippa Middleton found us on her honeymoon in the pop up shop at the Opera House.
I’m fortunate to live by the water so we have amazing smells of the sea straight into the house. The air is so clear, I always thought my favourite places in the South of France were heaven, but nothing compares to the fresh air and clarity of the skies in Australia, There’s no pollution, I love it, it’s so much more aromatic.
We often visit the Blue Mountains just outside of Sydney, the reason for the name is because of the eucalyptus forests, which excrete an oil which evaporates on the tree and turns blue blue. It’s so beautiful. There’s also lots of wattle – mimosa – and wild Casablanca Lily flowers growing on the sides of the road as you leave Sydney on the way to the south coast. Sometimes I just have to pull over and smell them.
There are so many interesting indigenous Australian ingredients, my favourite currently is buddha wood oil, no one knows it! Well, it’s known by perfumers in the industry, but less so by customers.
We’ve also known about oud in Australia for a long time because in 1850 the Afghani people came here to build the train line that connects the top of the country, Darwin, to the south. They were the only people who could tolerate constructing it in the heat and today the train is still called the Ghan as a tribute to the Afghanis. They also brought agarwood with them, so ever since we’ve had oud in the country. And camels. We have the biggest concentration of camels in the world because they brought them to help with the construction and they’ve thrived.
My scented rituals include a good body cream and I like to spray my shirts, probably more than skin actually, although Goldfield & Banks fragrances are crafted to be worn in warmer countries. Sometimes fragrances can shift when worn in hot countries, and don’t perform as they should, so we’ve worked hard at making them stable in heat. Our perfumer Francois created them to improve when they get warmer.