Look at the list of herbs that go into flavoring gin, and you’re half way to a good fragrance. Bombay gin made this connection in 2001 when they conceived Infusion, a unisex fragrance “inspired by” Bombay Sapphire’s ten botanicals. It smells like gin, but without the boozy-ness.
This is a perfect example of the strong connection between liquor (and cocktails) and fragrances, and I’m delighted to highlight such connections when I find them made so clearly.
Infusion, which was created by the German perfumer Geza Schoen and the French fragrance house Expressions Parfumées, was introduced in November 2003 and distributed only as a $39 duty free gift-with-purchase (of a half-liter of gin) at certain airports, London Heathrow among them. My girlfriend managed to get a bottle on a trip in 2004.
The top notes of Infusion are clearly ginny, and this could have been a bad thing. Who wants to smell like liquor? But the juniper berry and lemon combination, once sprayed on the skin, are pleasant. The heart of Infusion is orris, which is the root of the Florentine Iris, an ingredient in both regular Bombay and Bombay Sapphire. The dry down—what’s left after an hour or so—is mild and clean, not quite floral, not quite citrus.
It isn’t available anymore, and it doesn’t sound like it will be again, despite its warm reception among gin and fragrance enthusiasts. But it isn’t the only fragrance based on an alcoholic beverage. Brazilian cosmetics firm O Boticário came out with a wine-inspired cologne called Malbec and Courvoisier licensed its name to an expensive cologne a few years ago (a woody fragrance with floral hints on a base of leather, smoked tea and amber).