An address with a long history
312 Rue Saint-Honoré. David Benedek did not choose his store’s address by chance: “Back in 1959, my grandparents opened a perfume shop on the corner of Rue Saint-Honoré and Rue de la Paix. I am very proud and moved to be part of this family heritage”, he explains. The young entrepreneur is quick to point out his attachment to the world of perfume, which shaped his childhood, as well as to the central Palais Royal Parisian neighbourhood, where he set up his company’s offices in 2016. Not far from there, the Benlux Louvre perfume shop at 174 Rue de Rivoli is part of this history. It is the story of a family saga that began two generations ago, when a couple of Romanian and Hungarian origin, David’s grandparents, moved to France.
The brand’s first flagship store is thus taking root in a territory that is both familiar and the epicentre of the international clientele targeted.
When it comes to the interior design, David Benedek gave their chance to two young architects, Arthur Blanche and Daniele Profita, for whom it was the first retail space concept. The glass front extends over two levels, flooding the interior space and its mezzanine with light. A combination of mineral materials, Burgundy stone and travertine creates a monochrome effect. Longitudinal shelves run the length of one wall, embodying the “olfactory library” concept dear to the company.
“We thought of it in terms of a living space, rather than a commercial area. The mezzanine is a place for conversation. And we have been thinking of organizing master classes that would bring together a perfumer and an artist”, reveals the managing director.
A signature fragrance to embody the spirit of the place
Alexandra Carlin, who previously worked with the brand on Villa Néroli and Velvet Tonka – which won a Fragrance Foundation France Award in 2022 – supported David Benedek in creating the 312 Saint-Honoré perfume to celebrate the opening of the store. The result is a sensual, mineral, bright musk built on an original chord of woody and amber notes.
“The brief focused on the materials that make up the decoration of the venue. I wanted to use a palette of materials ranging from transparent to off-white and recreate this subtle mineral harmony of white tones. I built up a vertical composition that echoes the high ceilings. The other guiding principle we set ourselves was that of the cocoon: the store actually helps withdraw from the hustle and bustle of the neighbourhood to better connect with the fragrance. For this reason, priority was given to musk, because it is a material that relates to intimacy and to the skin”, emphasizes the Symrise perfumer.
Artistic director David Benedek describes the new fragrance as follows: “It is a comforting scent that anyone would like to smell on someone’s neck. It is a rather abstract fragrance that stands out by its great delicacy and goes against what is expected in niche perfumery, whose proposals are often extreme. We are taking a conscious risk, given the type of clientele“.
Paris and beautiful materials
Trained at the well-known French fashion school Institut de la Mode and by Cinquième Sens, David Benedek was just 26 when he set about creating his own company. Here is how he laid the foundations: timelessly chic fragrances that tell a Parisian story, and a focus on beautiful materials. The collections (Parisienne and Matières) are structured around these two creative lines. The Azur collection, with its emphasis on citrus notes, and the Exclusive collection are built on these two pillars.
The company currently offers 20 fragrances, as well as a collection of candles known as “Les Nocturnes” and a refined detergent water.
Today, the bestseller is Gris Charnel, in its eau de parfum and extract versions composed by Mathilde Bijaoui (Mane). Next come Rouge Smoking by Amélie Bourgeois (Flair), and Pas ce Soir by Violaine Collas (Mane).
Traditional French know-how
Based in Paris, the company has selected only French partners to promote the excellence of its different skills. The iconic bevelled bottle is made in Normandy by Verreries Brosse. It owes its unique transparency to the re-burnt glass technique. The caps are developed in the Paris region by a traditional goldsmith and jeweller. Their shape is inspired by one of the most emblematic monuments on the Parisian Right Bank: the dome of the Grand Palais. The paper label is produced by the Bordeaux-based printing house New Darmon Étiquettes, and then affixed by hand to each bottle. Just like a book binding, the box is crafted by MPO, a family business based in the western region of Le Mans. Finally, the ink is of natural origin and the paper, dyed in the mass, is recycled.
BDK Parfums currently counts 500 points of sale, exports to 58 countries, and employs 16 people.