A perfume that smells like ink, to remind the wearer of a printers’ studio. This is the idea behind M/Mink, the latest release from luxury perfume house Byredo.

Byredo was founded in 2006 by Ben Gorham, a former basketball player covered in tattoos. It was a chance encounter with a French perfumer that reinforced his fascination for the evocative power of scents (that he had briefly explored in his youth) and convinced him to translate his ideas into perfume, launching Byredo, now a worldwide famous brand of the finest fragrances available.

His venture is now renowned for its unusual, highly evocative scents, such as Palermo, inspired by the history of the Italian insular city, or Gypsy Water, a celebration of the Romany lifestyle with a smell that reminds of fresh soil, deep forests and campfires.

The newest addition to the luxurious, eccentric offer is a collaborative effort with Michael Amzalag and Mathias Augustyniak from design agency M/M (Paris).

“We presented him a creative idea and concept,” explain the French designers, whose collaborations include Vogue and Interview, and whose work was showcased at Paris’ Centre Pompidou in 2008. The concept behind their first venture in the perfume world was composed of “a block of solid ink purchased in Asia, a photograph showing a Japanese master practising his daily calligraphy and a large utopian formula that Mathias drew on Korean traditional paper.”

Together with perfumer Jerome Epinette (a collaborator of Byredo since the very start), Ben successfully translated these images into an abstract fragrance that very well identifies the original idea of the designers.

With opening notes of adoxal, the fragrance moves on to a heart of incense, patchouli leaf, honey and amber—a simple structure that provides great character for a fragrance that is all about visual cues.

“A scent should be inspired by an image, and not the opposite,” explain Michael and Mathias of M/M. They were happy to collaborate with Byredo to create something so far from their usual work: “Everything about their products are perfectly detailed, from the box to the bottles to their evocative names. Even though perfume is totally useless, these seemed to fulfill a kind of spiritual function, to recall poetical experiences.”

“At first it truly smells like ink,” the designers explain, “but slowly it turns into the idea of ink, before finally arriving at a scent that will remind you of the ink that is most precious: the blood that flows in our body; it is the perfume of a spirit writing in immaterial ink under your skin.”

– Rosa Maria Bertoli