Josh Mihan and Jules Brown on Mihan Aromatics and Australian botanicals.
Jules Brown and Josh Mihan are the Melbourne-based Founders and Creative Directors of Mihan Aromatics. We truly enjoyed learning more about their brand and fragrances, and think you will too...
Q. There seems to be an exciting fragrance community growing in Australia, including the emergence of a few excellent new brands such as yours. What do you think is behind this?
A. It is definitely an exciting time for Australian perfume houses. For years, Australian farmers were working exclusively with overseas perfume companies, exporting rare Australian native ingredients. Alongside other Australian brands, we’ve formed strong partnerships to gain access to these ingredients and to respectfully pay homage to Australia’s raw landscapes and rare native botanicals.
Q. Can you tell us about some of the native plant ingredients you’ve used?
A. Kakadu Plum Seed oil is the hero behind our parfum oil range. Wildly grown in The Kimberley in the far north western tip of Australia, this fruit is hand-picked and harvested by the Bardi people during monsoon season. They are innovative farmers and traditional custodians of the land. Kakadu plum seed creates a subtle, open and long-lasting experience on the skin. It has also been proven to be one of the world's richest sources of vitamin C, high in antioxidants and used for its medicinal properties.
Munlark Ash showcases the Australian blue cypress tree traditionally known as "Munlark" by the Rembarrnga people of the Northern Territory. This botanical combined with cedar wood, vetiver and black pepper celebrates the complexity of Australia’s flora.
Q. Petrichor Plains has been a hit with our customers. It’s a beautiful scent with a rain/dirt/lightning opening. What inspired it?
A. Petrichor Plains is that hypnotizing scent experienced as the first drops of rain land on dry earth in the countryside after a long hot summer. Inspired by memories of childhood (we both grew up in the bush) and to acknowledge Australian scientists who defined this scent into a word. Petrichor — “petra” meaning stone and “ichor” meaning blood of the gods in Greek mythology. With the first drops of rain, minerals are released into the ether, these particles interact with the surrounding flora.
Our representation of petrichor will provide relieving, melodious rejuvenation and fresh inspiration to the beholder. [Fun fact from Tigerlily: Scientists believe the petrichor smell that occurs when rain hits dry earth/minerals comes from a molecule, geosmin, made by Streptomyces bacteria.]
Q. You’re partners in business and life. How has working together changed your relationship, and how do you collaborate?
A. Each day we’re very grateful for the love and support that each of us provides. Entering a business together with a life partner could have definitely gone two ways. For one, defining work and home life is very challenging as we’re constantly coming up with new ideas at random times and locations, so work really never stops. Respecting each other's excitement and energy for the business is crucial and it’s how we foster and harness innovation.
There is never a dull dinner conversation as we’re always planning our next scent adventure through food, wine, travel and exploring nature. Through Mihan Aromatics our connectedness has grown tenfold. We’re both motivated to represent Australian perfumery on the worldwide stage.
Q. In a similar vein, can you tell us about the perfumer you work with and what your roles are on the creative side of fragrance development?
A. We're lucky to have a brilliant perfumer in Melbourne. Having our perfumer in the same city is so important for our brand. She's such an amazing scientist who understands how certain molecules, both natural and synthetic, work to create different compositions. We have lots of fun indulging our noses with different scents and ingredients.
In regard to the creation, we’re both the directors of the story and our perfumer knows how to execute the vision. We all work meticulously back and forth many times until our senses have reached absolute bliss.
Q. Sustainability is an important aspect of your brand. How do you source ingredients with this in mind?
A.Sustainability is such an important part of Mihan Aromatics and this is the reason we always try to source the most available ingredients that are closest to us and native to Australia. We work closely with a company to connect directly with the farmers and have a strict policy of making sure that these farms have the right practices in place.
Q. Jules, we know Josh came to scent through his work at a salon in London as well as at his own salon, The Bearded Man. Was there a pre-Mihan connection to fragrance for you as well?
A. My scent journey accelerated when I experienced first-hand the power of scent. My professional background is in neurological physiotherapy. Whilst working in London’s top rehabilitation hospitals, we utilized household scents (i.e. coffee, rose water, rosemary, books, clothes, fruit, etc.) to stimulate patients in minimally conscious states due to catastrophic brain injuries. Witnessing the return of memory and movement by bombarding the olfactory system was when I knew how important my connection was.
Q. You tend not to talk about your fragrances in terms of individual notes, describing them almost more as experience of places and moments in time. Why is this?
A. The power of parfum is intoxicating. Focusing on ingredients alone biases the mind prior to discovery. The creation of Mihan Aromatics’ copy was inspired by blind smellings and asking individuals to describe the feelings and emotions a scent elicits, rather than detecting individual notes. In our descriptions, we want to captivate the reader and provide an imaginary portal to what a scent will conjure.
Q. We’ve just brought in your newest unisex perfume, Munlark Ash, which is like walking on forested clouds! How did Munlark Ash come about?
A. Thanks guys. Harnessing the enchanting feeling inside after a long day’s hike through a pristine forest. Reminiscing with friends about the beauty of the land whilst warming the heart and soul around a campfire, drinking whisky then tea before sleeping under the stars. Munlark Ash is our savior during Melbourne’s COVID lockdown, as we both cherish our hiking memories.
Q. What’s next for Mihan Aromatics?
A. We'll be releasing our existing collection in a 30ml parfum range at the start of November. Currently we're having fun finalizing our packaging and product design. With this range we can start to explore scent layering, so watch out.
Explore the Mihan Aromatics Collection