DUBAI: Can you imagine what friendship and loyalty would smell like? Famed perfumer Christopher Chong’s latest offering, Bravi, attempts to bottle that scent in a luxury fragrance available at the newly opened Dubai Mall outlet of British label Thameen.
The Brand and Artistic Director for Thameen London says the idea for the perfume came one night as the restrictions imposed by COVID-19 eased.
“I am a true opera lover. So, when (opera houses) opened up, I decided that I am going to book a box of seats (for a) production (my friend was performing in) and I wanted to bring my other friends to support. One of my friends was the perfumer Bruno Jovanovic. And I said to Bruno during the interval, ‘It (would be) amazing if we can create a perfume that gives the scent of elegance, of going out with our friends and celebrating friendship and loyalty.’ He said it would be difficult, but he would work on it.”
The fragrance, explains Chong, opens up with citrus bergamot and orange flower, then has notes of ginger and tuberose wrapped in saffron. Then comes gourmand, a walnut milk accord, honey and white tobacco.
The label was founded in 2013 by the Saudi entrepreneur Basel Binjabr — “thameen” translates to “precious.”
“I see Thameen’s collections, the sovereign collection and the treasure collections, (as) my adoptive babies. So, in the past, I think (Thameen) was more traditional. They were a bit more classic. They are excellent creations. But then by me joining Thameen, it’s obviously my responsibility to put my artistry, my trademark into Thameen and to create something that's fresh for the market.
“The plan has always been able to rejuvenate itself, to remain fresh for the customers,” he said.
Thameen, explains Chong, has always been a celebration of British culture and heritage. “To me, it has always been a celebration of British heritage and culture since it was founded in 2013. What I'm doing is basically polishing off some of the edges and modernizing a bit by taking it a step further by focusing on the story of British heritage, highbrow and lowbrow cultures, mainstream cultures with very artistic elements in it as well,” he said.
Chong has been part of the perfume industry for more than 15 years.
“I came into this profession by chance — I belong to a very cliché saying, that we always end up doing but we never plan in life. And I have done many perfumes for another brand in the past. And so now I can say that I am not a rookie anymore. I have a lot of experience working with perfumers, but going back to the core of what I am, I am a storyteller. I take my storytelling and I translate that to the process of how I create a perfume. The story comes before the perfume for me.”
He also believes he is uniquely suited to take Thameen forward.
“Thameen is an Arabic word meaning precious, and it represents that there are lots of foreign-born British people, citizens, who are not represented. We want to basically represent that part of British culture. For example, I am British, but I am Chinese. Also, I am one of the best candidates to analyse British culture from that perspective. I think that is one of the key elements, how I'm going to take Thameen forward is to be much more inclusive of different cultures around the world.”