Sunday, March 25, 2018

Goldfield & Banks Australia: Perfume Reviews

The relatively new brand Goldfield & Banks Australia is perfect for my previously stated desire to review Australian perfumers during my time as a semi resident Down Under. Dimitri Weber traveled from Europe to explore Australia and unexpectedly fell in love with the dramatic and vast open landscapes. Realizing there was no luxury brand of perfume highlighting Australia's indigenous botanical heritage and extraordinary scenic beauty,  he resolved to start a brand to capture the true spirit of Australia, the result being Goldfield & Banks Australia.

 Dimitri Weber, founder of Goldfield & Banks Australia. Photo from website.

The 'Banks' of the fragrance name is in homage to Sir Joseph Banks, an English botanist who first collected and made known the vastness of Australia's plants and wildlife to the outside world. Banks began his career as a botanist and patron of the sciences when instead of partaking a "grand tour" of European antiquities as was common of men of his ilk, he chose to take an adventurous voyage to Labrador and Newfoundland to explore the natural life found there. Thus a couple of years later he found himself aboard The Endeavour captained by James Cook, and was present for the historic moment when Australia was "discovered" by the British explorers in 1770. Banks was the first to record and collect impressions of the Australian flora and wildlife and he was also instrumental in the following immigration from Britain to Australia. So that explains Bank's connection to Australia. I am assuming the Goldfields in the name is a reference to this valuable Australian national resource, plus it sounds stately. My guess, of course.

Sir Joseph Banks, as painted by Sir Joshua Reynold in 1773.

Pacific Rock Moss

Goldfield and Banks Australia has been generating a whole lot of buzz for a newish perfume brand from a rather large but remote location. Pacific Rock Moss in particular has sent the scent world buzzing, being discussed on blogs, vlogs, and fragrance forums; some lauding it as the best ever fresh ozonic fragrance and a few dissing it as overblown hype. For the most part, though, the reviews have been overwhelmingly favorable.

I am usually not a fan of the ozonic ocean-fresh perfume but in this case I make an exception. It is one of my two favorite scents from the collection. On my Goldfield & Banks sample cover the scent is described thusly: "Seize the day and experience a moment of pure bliss with this invigorating fragrance. A distinctive marine note graced with aromatic essences brings you on a lush coastal walk on a beautiful summer day." Notes listed are Australian coastal moss, lemon, sage, geranium, and cedarwood. Normally ozonic ocean scents are ones I actively dislike. To me the opening spray is always a big whoosh of chemical smelling "freshness" which I find irritating and unnatural. In this case there is no big ozonic opening. I smell cool water with a mineral-like freshness but it is a natural smell, like comparing still bottled water to fizzy sparkling water. This opening is quiet without that itchy fizz. There may be lemon but this certainly is not a citrus beach perfume. There may be sage but I don't get a strong herbal vibe. There may be geranium but the scent lacks the peppery  freshness that note sometimes imparts. The only note from the list I can really identify is the cedarwood.

Coastal moss on rocks, Sydney beach. Photo from Pinterest by Ian English.

Central and southern Australian beaches have cool water chilled by the Southern Ocean rolling from not-so-distant Antarctica, and you can feel that coolness in the scent. Australian beaches are among the most beautiful in the world, but are very different from tropical beaches. Vast open stretches of often untouched sand, sometimes rimmed by rugged cliffs; rolling waves littering the beaches with seaweed drying in the sun and moss coated rock formations. My favorite phase of Pacific Rock Moss comes later. As the scent melds with my skin it becomes a true skin scent. It is the scent of a good day spent jumping in the waves, lying in the surf, then sunning atop a towel thrown onto the golden warm sand. It is the smell of salty marine water drying on sun warmed skin, tinged with a tiny bit of sweet sweat. It feels realistic, natural, and quietly present. This scent is unisex, as are all the Goldfield & Banks scents. The scent is light but has very good longevity for me.

Blue Cypress

Blue Cypress is another fresh scent in a similar vein to Pacific Rock Moss, except instead of a marine freshness this one is aromatic. Blue Cypress is described on the website as, "A haze of light incense that fuses with the scent of the morning dew evaporating from a deep blue-green forest." Listed notes are Australian blue cypress, lavender, patchouli, clove, and star anise. Australian blue cypress is harvested in the Kakadu in Northern Territory. When the oil is distilled from the bark it comes out a vibrant bright blue!

Blue cypress oil from

Blue cypress oil is thought to ground and stabilize the wearer, and if you're sensitive to the healing aspects of fragrant oils as I am, you might find that this scent does give a sense of calmness. Blue cypress oil can smell woody and smokey and I smell both of these notes, although the smoke is only evident to me at the beginning of the fragrance's life on my skin. I can sense the spices and patchouli but they are light. There is a wetness to this scent, but again for me, without the annoying chemical ozone. I found this a very pleasant scent to wear but not one that I feel compelled to own, due to personal preferences.

Sandalwood plantation in Western Australia, Google image

White Sandalwood

White Sandalwood is meant to evoke the dry flat land in Australia's deserts; the cracked red earth against the background of a huge blue sky. This is how a huge portion of Australia's vast uninhabited interior looks and White Sandalwood is meant to portray the dryness. In addition to sandalwood, listed notes include thyme, amber, rose, saffron, and pepper. These notes describe the structure of several sandalwood-based perfumes I wore on a trip to India this year.  Those perfumes evoked the rich exoticness of sandalwood, especially the rose/sandalwood combination. Here in White Sandalwood, however, the perfume feels dry and almost austere. Here the notes are neutered of their rich spiciness and instead of broad strokes of red paint they send a pale whisper of spiced smoke. I could almost say that it reads like a sandalwood soliflore on my skin, but on Fragrantica reviewers discuss how floral it is and that the sandalwood is faint. So as with all perfumes, try before you buy. I enjoyed the quiet slightly exotic aura of this scent and it was a great accompaniment to my yoga class. In the future I plan a post of the best perfumes for yoga, and this will certainly be on that list!

Wood Infusion

Wood Infusion is, unsurprisingly, a wood based scent featuring Australian exotic woods of eucalypt, sandalwood, and agarwood. The scent is inspired by Fraser Island, Queensland, and the exotic and lush nature there. Notes of orange, lavender, and iris are also listed. As always when agarwood is present, it's the main thing I smell. Fortunately for me anyway, this is a milder, less intense version of agarwood so it doesn't repel me as full on oud can. The woods are lightly fragrant, iris I believe is adding a dry formality, and the lavender I do not smell. The orange is just in the beginning rush, then disappears. Eventually on my skin the wood notes dominate. It is mostly smooth with an occasional tangy note from the agarwood. This scent fades within a few hours on my skin.

Desert Rosewood

My other favorite of the line is Desert Rosewood. This is another fragrance meant to evoke the dryness of the desert and utilizes Buddah Wood, which is also known as native Desert Rosewood. This small tree grows in the desert and its distilled oil is said to smell of smoke, whiskey, and wood with rich resinous tones. The scent also has notes of mandarin, cardamom, benzoin, vanilla, and patchouli. These notes read like an oriental perfume to me, and I do sometimes get that vibe from the perfume. The perfume website mentions a leather note, and while not strong on my skin, I can smell it.

Eventually a powdery note starts to become very noticeable, reminding me of the clove note found in carnation perfumes and a combination often used in Oriental perfumes. (No carnation is listed).  I can smell softened woody notes and the creaminess of the vanilla and benzoin combination. This scent has great longevity and projection on my skin. The wood/powder/vanilla notes give a comforting vibe and I feel comfortably cocooned within the scent cloud. It smells of sweet woods and creamy softness but don't think this makes it feel feminine, it's very unisex.

I found the Goldfield & Banks Australia line to be well constructed and I enjoy the connection to Australian scenescapes and the use of plant life unique to the Australian continent. The prices are for the luxury market although you do get 100 ml for the price, instead of the 50 ml that seems to be more common with luxury pricing these days. It would be great if they would make a smaller size for those who can't quite afford the big bottles. Both the Goldfield & Banks website and now Luckyscent offer an affordable sampling option. Some of the discussion online has been about pricing vs. wear time. The pricing is upmarket, however hopefully from my descriptions you can see that I found the ingredients to be natural and high quality. They do wear fairly lightly on my skin and I found the wear time to be about average. It is up to the consumer and their pocketbook if all these factors justify a buy. I found them to be a nice homage to Australia and a good fit for the spirit of the country.

Perfume samples purchased from Opinions my own. 


Undina said...

I've tried only Wood Infusion so far and liked it.
If you still have anything left in your samples and do not plan finish them, I'd swap them from you (or maybe you could buy them for me from the site, I'll send money through PP, and bring them back when you return - the same set is 50% more expensive from Luckyscent, not counting the delivery, and sold out).

Cynthia said...

Undina, I've PM'd you on FB.