Nick Steward enjoys a good gallivant – traveling from one bustling city to the bright lights of the next – this modern day perfumer crosses time zones like the rest of us cross T’s.
In Vancouver at Carey Melnichuk’s concept boutique Secret Location in Gastown, Steward stopped long enough to launch TOKYO, the seventh perfume for GALLIVANT, his London-based indie perfume brand.
The collection of hand-crafted fragrances – THE COLLECTION: STORIES IN SCENT – are cruelty-free and vegan, and inspired by the breezy vibe of the coolest, most creative urban destinations. I sat with Steward, so cosmo in a crisp tuxedo, cuffed trousers, and green suede kicks, and together we went on an olfactory journey around the world.
With two decades of hands-on experience in perfume making, this former product and creative director of L’Artisan Parfumeur, says of the business: “It is a very difficult craft, it is very abstract, it is difficult to explain the materials and the methodology…I think of it very much like music, to me it doesn’t matter if it is D Minor or F Flat Sharp, what matters is when you feel the composition. Does it feel well-composed and a pleasure to the ear? That doesn’t mean there isn’t space for a discordant note because they can be an interesting interjection, but above all I want to create very harmonious and most elegant perfumes.”
Available in a versatile 30ml size for the frequent traveller and encourages fragrance play between the many scents. GALLIVANT is handcrafted in France and hand-finished in England, in a genuinely artisanal, small-batch, human process – done with care and attention.
The seven perfumes are as unique as the cities which inspired them:
- TOKYO is a zingy, spicy, woody fragrance. A citrusy head of yuzu and bergamot with black pepper and cardamom, electrified with a dash of wasabi. A woody heart of hinoki, cedarwood, and incense, with iris, rose and nutmeg, on a base of amber, sandalwood, patchouli, and vetiver.
- BERLIN is citrus, spicy – a contrast of light and dark, a woody play of notes. A spicy heart containing black pepper and black tea, and woody undertones of Haitian vetiver, cedarwood and patchouli.
- BROOKLYN is musky, fresh, citrus – the fizz of an urban playground. “The feeling I have in mind is non-stop go-go-go. Energetic with a creative and intellectual fizz. Power-walking to a breakfast meeting over the Brooklyn Bridge. It’s life on the sidewalk, early summer breezes, the glow from the lighting in bars and diners, bright apartments with books. Cocktails with friends. A lazy May afternoon in the sun at Park Slope, warmth on the skin. Small flowers in the grass. Fresh air,” says Steward.
- TEL AVIV is floral, fruity with notes of clementine, bergamot, and blackcurrant bud. A floral heart with jasmine sambac absolute, Comoros’ ylang-ylang, rose oil and freesia, and a warm, musky base with sandalwood.
- ISTANBUL is ambery, woody, spicy – where East meets West. “I wanted to translate this feeling of an ancient city, but with a freshness, a modernity. An old luxury and a new confidence.” Created with lavender absolute, Egyptian geranium essence, patchouli heart and sweet myrrh essence and base notes of sandalwood, vanilla, tonka bean, amber, and musks.
- LONDON is floral, green, leathery – rain, shine, a touch of grit, a dash of glam. “It’s addictive, big, small, soaring, down to earth, and a wicked sense of humour,” says Steward. “It’s a wet spring. Roses from Columbia Road. Georgian architecture. A hint of dustiness. A lush earthy wetness you can almost taste. East end boys and west end girls. Second-hand leather jackets. Creative, new, old, beautiful, ugly, rich, poor.”
- AMSTERDAM is glorious floral, spicy, and woody. “The moment I want to capture is autumn going into winter,” says Steward. “The freedom of cycling, past the former spice warehouses of the Warmoesstraat to a canalside apartment on Prinsengracht on the elegant south side of the city. Wind in your hair.”
TOKYO, in its minimalist packaging, came home with me tucked into a beautifully designed Secret Location gift bag. It smells like warm cinnamon on me and spicy pepper on him. We love it.
- Helen Siwak is passionate about content creation, marketing, shopping secondhand, promoting a vegan lifestyle, and supporting organizations and activists fighting against the status quo. She is founder and president of EcoLuxLuv Communications (Folio.YVR Luxury Lifestyle Magazine, EcoLuxLifestyle.co). She is the founder of V.E.G. Networking Group and soon-to-launch LittleBlack.Tee | firstname.lastname@example.org.
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