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Ben Gorham’s nose is big business. By following it, he’s expanded his fragrance brand Byredo into a global empire with a new store in Manhattan and a lucrative line of luxury goods. But Gorham was once an outsider in the world of beauty. A tall, tattooed and hard-working guy from the suburbs of Stockholm, Gorham tells how he built his business on nothing but gumption, good taste and a desire to bottle the essence of green beans.

“If only there could be an invention that bottled up a memory, like scent. And it never faded, and it never got stale. And then, when one wanted it, the bottle could be uncorked, and it would be like living the moment all over again.”

Almost eight decades after Daphne du Maurier first published this idea in her novel Rebecca, Ben Gorham has managed to achieve just that. Armed with a notebook, the founder of Swedish fragrance brand Byredo jots down his experiences and feelings as they occur. Later, many of those scrawls end up as fragrances neatly stocked on shelves around the world—fleeting thoughts that he tries, quite literally, to bottle up.

  • Words:
    Pip Usher
  • Photography:
    Lasse Fløde

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