10 Minutes with: Ben Gorham of Byredo at NM NorthPark
March 30, 2015
Since launching his Byredo fragrance collection nine years ago, Ben Gorham, still seems a little surprised his career path led him to the heady world of eau de parfums. Born in Sweden, reared in Canada, and college educated in New York City, the hulking 6-‘5” former European Division 1 basketball player has an unusual flare for creating intriguing, dimensional fragrances—scents so unconventional, they’ll make you want to come a little closer.
Here, the tatted fragrance designer gives us some insight on his passions, his muses, and the memories that form his evocative blends.
NM: Your favorite tattoo?
BG: I have two: I have one for my 6-year-old daughter, Ines, and I’ve added another with the name of my 6-month-old daughter Anouk.
NM: Can you name a particular memory that you wanted to emulate in scent?
BG: Yes, Green. It was my first fragrance. I wanted to capture the way I remember my father smelling. And Bal d’Afrique, based on my father’s diaries. He lived in Africa in the ’60s. I blended the ideas of African culture with dance of the ’20s. It’s one of the best-selling fragrances.
NM: Any muses, influencers?
BG: My wife. She’s so picky—impossible to please. It’s good, because she raises the bar. I have a lot of friends in fashion and have great respect for what they do—Riccardo Tisci with Givenchy, Kris Van Assche men’s designer for Dior, British designer Jonathan Anderson.
NM: Can you name a favorite fragrance from your collection?
BG: They’re a bit like children. I love them all equally.
NM: Many of your fragrances recall places you’ve been. Do you have a favorite city?
BG: Right now, it may be Tokyo. I’m fascinated by the shift in the city; it has this old facet and this young vibe at the same time.
NM: What about a favorite restaurant?
BG: Mathias Dahlgren in Stockholm. Matias, the chef, is an anomaly in Northern Europe—constantly evolving. Anyone traveling to Sweden should try it.
NM: Besides developing fragrances, what are your other passions?
GH: Running. And I’m starting to love skiing—the Alps are just two hours away. And I really like paddle boarding.
NM: So what’s the next place, or memory you want to capture in a bottle?
BG: I was at an event in Houston and had this train of thought—to capture experience smells that maybe no one had ever smelled before. I though it might be interesting to interview an astronaut, to play around with the idea of space travel. Then later, I pulled out a card from my pocket that read, “Call me, I’m the astronaut’s wife.” So maybe that means something.