One moment I was in the urban confines of Tangs, a multi-brand departmental store in the hub – buzz of Orchard; the next, a wood cabin in the fringe mountains of Tibet, redolent with the musky aromas of hanging herbs, chopped roots and bubbling butter tea.
I guess I must be more careful where I sniff.
The olfatory teleporter I held in my hand was Xun, a fragrant bomb of Rose, Lavendar, Cananga, Marjoram, Clary Sage, Bergamot and Melissa. The maker of this aromatic wonder – Ba Yan Ka La.
The name comes from the mountain range at the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, that births the famous Yellow River – the water artery of China. Founder Jean Zimmermann was inspired by this area, its inhabitants, and their stories during one of his travels. A fan of alternative medicine, he quickly realised the treasure of luxury that hid behind 5,000 years of natural wisdom. So, he found himself an oriental herbalist and came up with a beauty and body care range that had its cornerstones in traditional Chinese medicine.
And maybe that’s why – the bottle with its I-Ching patterns, corresponding direction, and vibe – was so rapturous. The scent I held was not a coddling one. Although currently used in select 5-star spas, this was not your typical nose. The sharp front that opened up to a complex balm of wood, resin and flower, was full-on character, and was shockingly trans-formative. The label promised the usual – comfort, rest and dreams – fluffy terms usually, but this time, really delivered. A few nights in, this curative formula lulled me to a deep uninterrupted sleep every time I had it on my burner.
Given the prevalent bad veil that shrouds everything that is “Made in China”, it is a surprising move for Zimmermann to actually proudly insert this in the midst of his marketing voice.
He shares that there has been decades of quality goods from China that have served an international market (and are still); and that with the right instructions and stewardship, the combination of quality resource, unique wisdom and cultural identity will carve a distinct impression in the market.
“In that regard, we are rather unique, and our client list in China – and now in Hong Kong – is a simple testimony that China can produce some of the best products in the world.”
- Jean Zimmermann, Jing Daily, 2013
It’s also hard to argue with a brand that is Ecocert Certified, and champions sustainable development, fair trade, and no animal testing. Even though Ba Yan Ka La was launched in 2008, the brand is still relatively niche. But looking past the fast-growth formula, the responsible and controlled influence gives us a company that understands brand development in a way that is rare – much like some of the ingredients and recipes they work with.
“By combining passion, experience and focused intention, we have carefully formulated exquisite and unique blends, with a selection of the most noble and rarest essential oils available, for you to access nature’s calling, and create a world of wellness.”
– Ba Yan Ka La Website
It’s safe to say I’ve been spoilt by this range, as I’ve never encountered a selection of home fragrance whose palette is as unique and holistic as Ba Yan Ka La. It’s a premium way to leave the confines of my little room and be taken away to my secret happy place.
Their newest range this 2016 features the Chaga Mushroom, a powerful fungi that has all the antioxidants you need to protect your skin from pollutants. If it’s anything like the Tibetan Roseroot Shampoo and Conditioner samples I got as a gift for my oil purchase, then it’ll be the consistent remedial elegance that comes with every Ba Yan Ka La experience.