With Bombay Perfumery bottling all the fragrances you associate with India, we smell a hit on the cards.
Growing up in a family that has been in the perfume industry for 35 years, Manan Gandhi has had a front seat view of the supply chain for natural ingredients used in creating the world’s most exquisite fragrances. Sourcing and supplying them to leading perfumeries and international consumer brands not only presented him with the opportunity to travel to exotic Sulawesi and Haiti, it gave him firsthand access to cultivators collecting ingredients, distillers, extractors and the fragrance formulations used across consumer categories.
So when he completed his Masters in International Business in France, Gandhi decided not to return to the family business immediately and headed to the perfume capital of the world – Grasse – instead. His start-up supplied ingredients to European fragrance houses, giving him valuable experience in dealing with everything from French bureaucracy to building relationships with suppliers. Five years later, armed with ample knowledge, Gandhi returned home. The time, he felt, was ripe to set up Bombay Perfumery – a contemporary fragrance brand that would showcase natural Indian ingredients in all their glory.
“I noticed that there were so many categories where young, creative Indians were breaking the barriers and developing world class products – fashion, lifestyle, cosmetics, hospitality – and felt the timing was perfect to develop a niche perfumery brand that puts a modern spotlight on Indian ingredients and develop something distinct, memorable and luxurious,” he says.
Available on the Bombay Perfumery website are eight fragrances – two each for men and women, and three unisex ones – that proudly flaunt their Indian-ness, from matka inspired bottles to Coimbatore’s tuberoses and Calicut’s pure black pepper oil. “I was very careful to avoid developing fragrances that are conventional or clichéd and ensured that though the ingredients are Indian, the final composition is truly progressive. For example, Calicut pays homage to black pepper, the king of spices, while Chai Musk is inspired by the famous Indian masala chai with a dash of Indian lemongrass, ginger and sandalwood for its milky undertones, but built around an addictive woody musky base,” explains Gandhi.
Its Indian roots apart, Bombay Perfumery has plenty of international flair too. Gandhi personally travels to Les Cayes in Haiti to source his favourite ingredient, vetiver, and makes frequent trips to the small Indonesian island of Sulawesi for a top-notch supply of patchouli. And while they may be bottled in India, the perfumes have been created in France, in collaboration with renowned international noses like Jacques Chabert and Alexandra Carlin.
Named after a pantone shade that bears the number, the fragrance is built around the concept of two roots – ginger and vetiver.
An ode to a strong cup of tea. Look for lemongrass, ginger root and green tea in the top notes, while hot milk and sandalwood form the base notes.
A modern patchouli elixir that combines wood, amber and tobacco with spices and sweet custard apple.
Inspired by India’s rich history of spice trade, it bears top notes of bergamot and cardamom. Base notes range from musk and vetiver to oakmoss and patchouli.
A touch of grapefruit, with the earthy base of vetiver coming together for a citrusy fragrance.