A passion for perfumes: One Parisian entrepreneur looks to the Middle East for olfactory inspiration

Born in Paris in 1989, David Benedek is a third-generation perfume maker. His paternal grandparents moved to the French capital from Transylvania in the 1950s where they opened their first boutique in the Palais-Royale neighbourhood.

“My parents still own the shop today. So I really grew up surrounded by perfume. And actually, that’s how my love for perfume came,” David told Euronews.

He set up his own brand BDK Parfums in 2016 after studying perfume and cosmetics at the French Institute of Fashion. 

“I used to do a lot of paintings when I was younger. So when I create my perfume, I always think about texture and colour, and then I’m thinking about the message I want to deliver to my customer,” he added.

David says that the process of creating the perfect scent is a science.

“You know, it’s like when you’re cooking…you have to build your own recipe, right? And depending on the mood I want to express in the perfume, I’m trying different combinations with the perfumer and I’m looking after the formula. If it’s well blended, it is well-balanced. And actually, this takes time.”

The global market for perfumes is expected to grow to €53 billion by 2027. David told Euronews that Covid had a big part to play in driving the current markets. 

“I think especially after COVID…people now are taking much more care about themselves…and they really focus on what can bring them joy. And I think perfume is part of the game finally,” he said.

Speaking to Euronews in Dubai where he was launching his new fragrance Ambre Safrano, he also commented on the ingredients he likes to use in his creations.

“Here in the Middle East…perfume is really part of their education”, he said.

“[There] are common raw materials that I like to use in my perfumes, like, for example, sandalwood, like vanilla. I love to use a lot of musk to make it to make the people even more sensual.”

“I love oud wood”, David said, referring to the warm, musky fragrance which is synonymous with the Middle East. “Oud wood is something very symbolic”

“I have one creation [called] Oud abramad and it’s a very textured, smokey oud wood.”

The debate on the use of synthetic versus natural perfume ingredients is a hot one, particularly within the perfume industry. But David explained that, as far as he is concerned, he doesn’t want to pick a side. 

“I think that you have amazing synthetic raw materials that cost even more than natural raw materials. And I think to do beautiful perfume, you really need the two. Synthetic [molecules] have the natural want to express themselves in a formula”.

“So at BDK, I use both natural and synthetic raw materials, especially the musk. We have amazing synthetic musk that has the fragrance to bloom and blow out”, he said.

David concluded that his grandparents had taught him valuable lessons which he will bear in mind throughout his career. 

“They taught me to do this with honesty and authenticity. And that’s the values I’m trying to keep with me”, he said.


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