Known for fragrances that induce nostalgia, these ‘bottled memories’ borrow from the natural scents an Indian lifestyle offers. Hailing from an established family business in fragrances, the foray into the sector was a natural choice for Manan. With Masters in International Business, he worked on sourcing perfume ingredients while based at Grasse (France) for five years. As his grasp of the business increased, so did his understanding of the gaps the market offered. “India did not have a contemporary fine fragrances brand,” he rightly noted, and launched Bombay Perfumery to address this need.
A lot of work goes into every bottle of Bombay Perfumery. A team of international perfumers handpick each ingredient. The influences range from strong aromatic freshness of lemongrass and masala chai, to the warm and sweet aftertaste of leather. The clientele is fashion forward, and seeks to identify with the purchases made. Manan offers authenticity, a lifestyle and a sense of belonging in the form of a heady fragrance. He offers an alternative to the stereotypical western perceptions of India, and portrays the culture as “confident, complex and experimentative.”
The organization has been built around the founder, and clearly carries his grace and subtleties. From a focused website to the soft-spoken descriptions, one would long for an intimate conversation with the persona crafted around the brand. It has a delicate mix of the mystic orient we have all grown to be fond of, and the modern well traveled element that adds a regal sophistication. The intangibles tend to make our knees go weak, and Bombay Perfumery manages to do it oh so well.
Manan confesses to having difficulty staying organized, and makes up for it by being diligent on all incoming communication across devices. Quite like the perfume mixtures he experiments with, masking certain weaknesses by complementary whiffs, bringing together the strengths of two partners as unlikely yet charming as lemon and musk (see Les Cayes). The informal atmosphere at his office lends to a free flow of creative thought and constructive criticism, that drives the focused brand story ahead.
“Fragrances and smells are so different and everyone perceives them differently,” Manan explains. As a perceptive art, much depends on how people relate to the perfumes. Conversations lead to a deeper understanding, and that allows the Bombay Perfumery team to create a winner. “Art asks you to stop and reflect,” he suggests against rushing into black and white decision-making. Just like human beings, there are no good and bad fragrances. Every individual has a unique taste.
Bombay Perfumery is growing up to be a carefully crafted fine fragrances brand. Sold across a curated list of partner boutiques, it clearly speaks to the select few. Sporting a stiff upper lip yet a glowing smile when introduced is how the brand carries itself. It invites slight hesitance yet an irresistible pull - an intellectual desire to breathe in the dusky elegance of a Calicut or the stately mischief of Madurai Talkies.
Written by Sushrut Munje
Photographed by Blake D'Silva
Art Should Tempt Magazine, Vol. 02