Words & Images courtesy of Johan Bergelin.
Cosmetic cult brand 19-69 was founded in 2017 by the Swedish artist and product developer Johan Bergelin.
A two year creative process with artisans in Scandinavia, France and Italy lead to the launch of 5 unisex perfumes. Each scent draws inspiration from a different era, culture or setting from Africa, Europe, the States and Asia.
“The name of the brand 19-69 is a very powerful statement. The year of 1969 represents an era of freedom, tolerance and counterculture. It is also the year I was born and my way of putting my heart on the sleeve and say – This is real. This is who I am.”
- Johan Bergelin
Take a journey across continents and back through time as Johan Bergelin tells the story of each of these transporting scents in his own words.
Elements of wild citrus trees, orange blossoms, green olive groves, blue skies and the endless ocean that encircles the island.
A reflection of contrasts. East meets West, the old and the new.
It is long after midnight. The neon lights light up the dark sky here in Terengganu, Malaysia. I am close to the chaos of the city, but it is quiet here in the park. I am surrounded by old gigantic trees, enormous vegetation and tree crowns. I open the doors of the wooden colonial building and enter the traditional Chinese restaurant. The air is filled with wonderful aromas and spices from the kitchen area. A man is sleeping in his chair while resting his head on the table. A group of men is playing cards while smoking under the fluorescent light.
Women engage in loud conversations while chopping fresh spices and a small child sleeps in a basket at the end of the room. A TV screen presents the latest music videos from London. The kitchen's gasburners fill the air with a burnt scent. East meets west.
The notorious Rainbow Bar on Sunset Strip was founded when the word rainbow signified peace and freedom. Think Pamela Courson, sex, drugs and rock'n'roll.
I'm at the hush-hush security area of Van Nuy's airport, waiting for my new employer V. S. I´m excited, bored to death and a bit nervous. Next level – here I fucking come.
I have been hanging around this lounge for four days now and been getting hourly updates regarding my employer´s whereabouts. And finally. He’s arriving, through the glass doors I see this persona coming down the stairs from the small jet. Super tight yellow shorts, way too short leather jacket, long sweeping hair and boots. Small tote over his shoulder. I rest my case. This guy is an icon.
First thing he says: ”Howdy man. Have you got any coke?” My head spins and I do a double take. He is asking for coke now? It's 3.30 am. How the heck am I going to get hold of anything stronger than coffee at this hour? I grab my phone and start flicking through my contacts for Doctor Emergency´s details. If I don´t get hold of this special order I might loose my job before I even started it. However, V.S chuckles. ”It's all right son. I meant Coca Cola.”
He produces a brand new bottle of Jack Daniels from his bag and snaps it open. Relieved, I enter the lounge area and push the button of the vending machine for a soda. I return to V.S with the can of Coke and say: ”You want ice with that?” He has already enjoyed what must be an impressive exact amount of 33 cl while I was away fetching the drink. There is a moment of silence while he empties the soda into the liquor. ”No, son. But you can drop me off at the Rainbow ”
A celebration of the 80s when the rock scene ruled the strip in L.A. For all the groupies, the endless parties, the indulgence and the beautiful corpses.
A tribute to creativity, freedom and indulgence. It is deep, powerful, quirky and captivating. Purple Haze sets the ambience for 19-69.
Key West is one of the most fragrant and inspiring places I know. It is so empowering and plays all my senses and emotions. Swaying palm trees, orchids, beautiful bougainvilles and situated on the most southern tip of the USA, only 90 miles from Cuba. The motto of this melting pot is “One Human Family”.
This is also where the story begins with me and Keenak. I had already spent a few seasons in Key West and was getting to know the locals. Only a few yards away, this eccentric character was passing by, just outside my favorite coffee shop in Bahamas Village. Guitar on his back, snake skin boots, skinny jeans, black silk shirt open – all the way down to his belly button. Add to that: layers of necklaces, bracelets and headband under his trademark – a black feathered hat. Who was this man? Was he an old hippie, a survivor from Woodstock? Or maybe a rockstar?
I was captivated and knew I just had to meet him again. I started to ask around the town for clues. They told me he was a busker living on a boat. Others said he was a talented musician with a special liking for booze and psychedelic substances, sleeping rough under a bridge. One day, I bumped into him yet again. I had been getting groceries at Faustos with my three year old daughter when I spotted him sitting on the pavement, casually playing his guitar. There he was, this mysterious man from a different time and place. We hit it off right away and Keenak invited me to come by his place for a fluid lunch (or perhaps a few uppers if I so prefered) the following day.
His trailer park was in the shady bad lands of Stock Island, a tiny parcel of land just across Cow Key Channel. We talked about life, music and litterature. My European heritage and his life as a roving artist. I was intrigued by the quirky scent that embraced his home. I recognized patchouli, tobacco and woody scents mixed with vanilla and leather. When I mentioned this he told me about a special patchouli oil he had been using since he was a young man in “Nam”. The ladies loved it so why break a winning concept he said and laughed. Then he leaned over towards me and whispered “But man, if you really want to know my real secret spice, it is the weed. The best one is Purple Haze, but it´s fucking hard to find these days”.
Woody and welcoming, the fragrance of Kasbah channels multi-layered soft oriental spices with lots of body and fullness.
I meet with the taxi driver Said at the port of Tangier. He is my designated driver for the next couple of days. I am on a cultural roadtrip, exploring the kingdom. Ahead of every big crossing I toss the diram coin. That´s how we decide whether to make a right turn or take a left. The Atlas mountains rise far in the distance. As I enter the Kasbah I can sense the logs still glowing from last night. The gigantic rustic leather covered doors in combination with the clay walls create an ambiance from the past. An oil burner leaves a pleasant scent of woody notes. A woman in a long white linen kaftan passes by, leaving subtile notes of white honey, vanilla and amber.
I leave the house and enter the courtyard which is filled with lime and orange trees. The alley of old, quirky olive trees leads to the herb garden with wonderful scents of spices. The morning sun is beaming. My bare feet against the smooth black-and-white patterned tiles, I close my eyes and breath in. My driver Said is sitting on the terrace, holding a hand rolled cigarette in one hand and a sebsi full of smouldering kif in the other. Hashish fills the air with a sweet, soft aroma together with a fusion of Berber, African and Arabic music.