Created and launched by, now 25 year old Wellingtonian Alexander Herdahl-Thorsing, after making the decision to leave university early, this all new vegan friendly fragrance is one we at Black Magazine are very passionate about.
Director, Rachael Churchward connects with Alex on inspiration from his love of traditional art, a higher power, his definition of beauty and a spiritual love of olfactory.
HERDAHL-THORSING launched a line of fragrances a few years ago. What is it about?
All of this really started with my love of traditional art. I’m honestly fascinated by old religious paintings, specifically early renaissance era. I’m not entirely sure where this sudden attraction started with these paintings, but what intrigued me, was that these paintings represented a God, a higher being that was deemed ‘perfect’. And because of this, these paintings were in essence, physical depictions and embodiments of this mythical Devine perfection, and the works themselves needed to be just as perfect as the God it represented.
I find these works breathtakingly gorgeous, genuinely beautiful. Because the very idea that these paintings were to be ‘perfect’ is such a baffling idea. That you can actually interpret or even chase perfection.
Everybody aspires to their own perfection, it’s natural. What I wanted was to chase perfection in the world of beauty. Everyone has their own image of what beauty is, in its most purest and flawless form, but I needed to chase this, I needed to find this, in the same way those artists did in depicting god, something that I could deem perfect.
I’ve always had this innate need to explore the world of the arts. Particularly beauty and fashion. I decided on fragrances in the beginning because I feel fragrance represents a personal beauty. Wearing a scent is an extension of who you are, it becomes you. Your body’s signature. It’s experienced by those around you, those intimate with you. Without speaking a word, the space around you is alluring and seductive. All those that pass you are blessed with this raw beauty that emanates from you and you alone. Instant attraction on varying levels and subtle recognition. All of this due to pairing yourself with a perfume that brings the best of you out, and suddenly you’re transformed, and your day as a result.
There is something very intense about scent and it’s why I wanted to begin my journey into chasing my depiction of Devine perfection, my world of beauty.
You are fascinated by the world of art. This obviously has an impact on creating your fragrances.
Absolutely! Every depiction of art, be it dance or the written word captures something in that moment and if that work resonates with you, communicates to you. It can be a very debilitatingly beautiful experience.
With every fragrance I created, each had to be their own completed whole works within themselves. Everything from the opening notes, the dry down, how it’ll mature throughout the day on your wrist and neck. They had to be able to be bold enough to stand alone, but be charismatic enough to bring out the best parts of you when worn.
A fragrance should never disguise or hide it’s wearer under a vale of scented mist. It should invigorate and add to your character, enhance a persona. Another dimension to who you are in a way.
Because what a fragrance should be, is a wordless expression of who you are, a memory that walks past you. An impression that lasts a lifetime for all those that meet you.
My inspirations for the three fragrances we currently have in our range. Berry Tobacco, Cream Flower and White Rum. Is that each occupies a particular characteristic, a prominent feeling and mood. All different, our fragrances are unisex, because I don’t believe something like fragrance can be categorised in that way, sure they are either more masculine or feminine, hovering on that spectrum. But how you feel and interpret fragrances, smells and tastes, I believe transcends that of gender or sex.
Every work has some form of meaning behind it, some story it wishes to tell. Any piece of Couture, handmade watch has something to say. When we produced the first batch of the Personal Blend collection, we made less than 200 bottles. Which means there have been around 65 bottles made per fragrance. The bottles are all individually completed pieces, hand finished and polished. Entirely all glass made bottles and lids. Every bottle and glass lid is each unique. The fragrances themselves were formulated originally In New Zealand, Vegan friendly and not animal tested. With ingredients from across the globe. Vanillas from Thailand, Sandalwoods from Australia, Ambers from Europe. Right down to the lovely people I’ve worked with, Zakur Amun-El in America for being an absolutely amazing photographer. Michelle Cameron and Ash Rockett, both here in Wellington, unbelievably talented creatives and purely because of them, brought HERDAHL-THORSING to life when it was just a dream.
A HERDAHL-THORSING Personal Blend fragrance, is half the world in the palm of your hand, a collaboration of a dozen cultures and a hundred hands to perfect something beautiful.
What is your definition of beauty?
The definition of beauty? I both love and hate this question and I say that with affection, as its rather unfair in its presentation, but is actually a genuinely innocent question. Well let’s start with what is beauty? Simply, it's something that you find perfect, pleasing to you. It’s an experience that you’ll remember, something you might even, if you could, place it under a glass encasing in a museum. Because it’s so fantastic that not even you, yourself, would want to both revisit it and even, not partake in it again. Maybe it’s so beautiful, that you don’t want to experience it again with anyone else or anything else, because that moment was special enough to only have once, and you’ll be happy with it forever.
But my personal definition of beauty? It’s something or someone, that once you lay your eyes on. It makes you happy. When you’re with, you can’t stop smiling. If and when something better comes along. You refuse to see the imperfections of what made you happy in the first place. Entirely irreplaceable.
Anything can be alluring, sexy and seductive. Gorgeous and attractive. But very few things in life are beautiful. All I ever want to do is try and explore this world and create beautiful experiences. To create my very own definition of beauty and I want everyone that has the chance to experience the Personal Blend collection to feel that they themselves become beauty itself. I desire, on my journey of chasing perfection, to create a world of beauty, that there is something that I’ll create so that someone out there will smell, touch or wear. Will become irreplaceable to them.