By Evie C.
Portia recently discovered the wonderful Bud Parfums, based in the Australian state of Victoria. Howard Jarvis, Bud Parfums’ founder, was kind enough to let us add him to our series on Australian perfumers. Enjoy!
Howard Jarvis developed his love of fragrance early – at the age of three he was found eating jasmine flowers in his grandmother’s garden. Despite his early interest, however, he lived several different lives before finally deciding to seriously pursue his love of perfume. He was variously a bricklayer, builder, photographer, naturopath, homeopath and herbalist. He even consulted to the Sultan Brunei on medicinal uses for Brunei’s rainforest plants. By the time he decided to focus on fragrance, he had 15 years experience as a naturopath and a long-held fascination with the oils of Australian native plants on which to base his company, Bud Parfums.
Jarvis says he is self-taught as a perfumer but names Jonathan Midgley of Brisbane-based fragrance laboratory Damask Perfumes as an important mentor. “My mentors and inspiration come from the genius of Jonathon Midgley and avant-garde perfumers who buck the trends like Jean-Claude Ellena and Christopher Brosius. These three are changing perfumery as we know it into something finer.” Jarvis also cites independent perfumers Andy Tauer and Neil Morris as favourites. “I do admire the boldness and the perfumes of Tauer and Morris. They’re both introducing people to new experiences.”
Jarvis is not a huge fan of mainstream perfumes. “Mass market perfumes seem to be a little boring at present. I see the same things rehashed with a new ad campaign. I was impressed by the difference of Angel when it first arrived.” His personal signature scents are constantly changing, he says, “I have a brief ‘fling’ with each new perfume I create. I’ve had a long ‘affair’ with Shalimar ever since I was knee-high. Our perfume Sophia is a tribute to the beauty of Shalimar.”
As to the business of making it as a perfumer in Australia, Jarvis says, “Australian perfumers can make a living, however it takes years to build a reputation or become known by the rest of the world. Blog sites are fast changing this situation – the world is now as small as the click of a mouse.” Bud Parfums is presently primarily an online business. Jarvis says he will continue to run online for another two years until his customer base is large enough to support opening a shop. “My plan is to have a 19thcentury apothecary where tourists can come to Warburton and watch me making perfumes.”
Bud Parfums’ devotees include all types and range in age from 8 to 90 years old. “We sell slightly more perfumes internationally than in Australia,” says Jarvis. “The Europeans love rich, deep, dark perfumes, while Brazilians love fruits. Our Asian customers enjoy light, airy, soft scents. I think climate and cultures influence perfume buyers.”
Jarvis has a line of perfumes for men and women with names ranging from the strident – ‘Ugly Bastard’ – to the delicate – ‘Elysium’. His latest scents, ‘Scarlet’ and ‘El Diablo’ were the result of a long Warburton winter. “Each day here it either rained or snowed. I was craving spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, clove etc. Scarlet is a gypsy dancer and El Diablo is her torrid partner. It took a long time to fine-tune both and I only just managed to have them ready for the cold European Christmas. Our German friends at www.parfumo.net loved them both.”
Jarvis says he can still be found nibbling on jasmine flowers from time to time and no doubt they’ll continue to aid his inspiration as he brings more Australian scents to life.