The new perfume Båre – part of the newly launched ånd range from perfumier Simon Constantine - captures the essence and spirit of Canada’s Great Bear forest and connects us directly with the Indigenous people caring for it…
The truth is if the local community hadn’t got its act together, there’s a good chance chunks of the Great Bear Rain forest would be entirely missing right now.
Despite Canada’s ‘oh-so-Green’ image it’s become clear over the last few decades that it is just as committed to ecological destruction as the rest of us... maybe even more so. Canada has an appetite for clear fell logging for paper, pulp and timber, and the drive for ever increasingly complex sources of oil through the infamous Tar sands project – those once pristine stretches of Canadian temperate forest are depleted at horrifying scale (see What Are The Tar Sands?).
This is important to note because with our latest fragrance offering, Båre, we source from deep within one of the last largest untouched tracts of forest along the coast.
Not only is this a beautifully wild place, but it’s unique in a number of ways: Firstly, it’s a temperate rainforest, somewhat of a rarity in the northern hemisphere now but the forest itself generates enough humidity, benefitting as it does from strong coastal rainfall, to be classed as a self-sustaining rainforest in temperate climes. Within it are a range of common and decidedly uncommon tree species including Douglas Fir, Pines and Cedars - their distinctive piers often snow-covered and battling the harsh mountainous conditions during winter. And beneath them can be found the enigmatic Kermode Bear - an albino brown bear also known more romantically as the ‘Spirit Bear’.
On my visit to Bella Coola — a small town located deep in the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest — back in November 2016 I saw for myself the pawprints of Grizzly bears along the rugged riverbanks; carcasses of salmon tossed aside in what had been their fervent search for food before they settled down for a winter of hibernation.
"Above us soared Bald Eagles, their distinctive white caps and heavy beaks silhouetted against a fading sun. It felt wild. It is wild"
The people who have lived the longest alongside this ecosystem, and who have found the best balance with it, caring for it for countless generations, are the Nuxalk. On my trip I was hosted by them on behalf of the Great Bear Rainforest Essential oils company, a company set up to sustainably harvest the forest for the economic benefit of the First Nations living here.
When plans were made by logging companies to clear cut much of the coastal rainforest up from Bella Coola and through many other First Nation communities the forest’s caretakers knew something had to be done. A mix of global activist groups such as Greenpeace and Canopy, alongside local communities and First Nations, set about devising a plan to protect it. The result was ground-breaking in that not only did they agree the protection they sought but they were actually granted rights to trademark the name Great Bear Rainforest and determine how it would be used in an effort to keep its immense value of legally in the hands of those who belonged there.
When I sat down to create the perfumes for my new ånd range, I knew I wanted to reach beyond anything I had done before. Sadly, my trip to the Great Bear Rainforest had failed to yield a way to work together and it had bothered me. Really bothered me. I felt strongly that we all need that message of hope that the Great Bear provides and so I’m proud to say that with the launch of ånd we have Båre; a fragrance encapsulating the power of the forest through its notes of Douglas Fir, Western red Cedar and Shore Pine.
I want to connect you directly to the Indigenous people helping to keep the natural world alive, and guarding our planet better than, at the moment, we know how.
And my best attempt at doing that is expressed through Båre.
Activism through perfume
The ånd perfume range has been developed to ‘unstink the world’ and put its green recovery at the heart of the alternative perfume industry. This is activism through perfume and for the first time these essential oils have been used in a fine fragrance to support the First Nations communities that produce them.
Find out more about The Great Bear Rainforest and the people protecting it here: