Fueguia 1883 is Argentina’s first luxury perfume brand, which launched just three years ago by the entrepreneur Julian Bedel, son of the illustrious Argentine artist and architect Jacques Bedel.
Cross the threshold of its flagship store, located on Buenos Aires’ coveted Recoleta neighborhood, and prepare yourself for a heady sensorial experience. A softly lit environment with dark velvet lined walls and row upon row of perfume bottles give ways to a warm welcome. Fueguia 1883 is the only perfume laboratory specialized in creating fragrances from Argentine botanicals and animals, with up to 60 varieties of niche scents all of which are the result of a rigorous and artisanal production process.
In fact Bedel’s efforts to make the brand sustainable has led to philanthropic endeavours such as a partnership with a US business associate who brought millions of dollars into the country to be channeled into social projects. The characteristic wooden perfume boxes are made from fallen trees in rural Junin de Los Andes where the local community not only learns a valuable craft but are also educated on the preservation of these sacred trees.
Bedel and his business partner Amalia Amoedo’s intention was to create a globally marketable brand from the outset, without compromising the brand’s distinct Argentine identity. What to most non Argentines would interpret as merely exotic names for the perfumes are in fact loaded with meaning. “Metafora” contains pink peppercorns from Mendoza, “Ama” which also means to love is a homage to Bedel’s associate, comprised of pure jasmine.
On the back of a hugely successful debut at an Italian trade fair where they sold out of their stock in weeks, their perfumes have gone on to turn on the olfactory senses of the likes of Lady Gaga and Elton John (a huge fan and regular client) with demand in Russia, China, Singapore and the US.
With plans to expand into the Middle East and with already 30 stores around the world from Moscow, Amsterdam, Sweden and even Monaco where they have their own store at Norman Foster’s Yacht Club, they still adhere strongly to their founding principles, in an industry famed for its secrecy but also for outsourcing and being overly industrial in its manufacturing process. Bedel’s approach is simple. They source the materials themselves, distill and refine the ingredients, seal the bottles and sell them. The quality and provenance is assured and that’s an increasingly rare quality in this market.
Written by Vanessa Bell