May

PERFUMER Q&A: SPECIAL WFH EDITION

PERFUMER Q&A: SPECIAL WFH EDITION
What The Nose Knows

PERFUMER Q&A: SPECIAL WFH EDITION

PERFUMER Q&A: SPECIAL WFH EDITION


Just as executives and business leaders have needed to redesign their approach to matters both professional and personal in the past few months, so too have perfumers, the creative beating hearts of the industry. Separated from their labs and collaborators, noses have been compelled to find new ways to smell, create, and share ideas. In this month’s Q&A, they reveal how they have found inspiration, summoned calm, and discovered fresh ways of looking at the world in the midst of it all.

Mylene Alran, Givaudan

What are some ingredients used to promote calm and relaxation, other than the most talked about ones like lavender?

I recommend Ylang-Ylang oil and Neroli oil. Ylang-Ylang oil is mainly used for its calming and relaxing properties. You can inhale it, put it on the skin (mixed in a vegetal oil like sweet almond), in your bath or simply diffuse it in your home.

Then my favorite, Neroli, is relaxing too. It provides vitality, self-confidence and can calm anxiety and fear. To me it simply brings joy. I absolutely love composing with it because it’s a very rich raw material but also a delicate one. Working on its floral green and natural freshness is so interesting.

What do you use to help de-stress?

I would say, definitely yoga and meditation. They influence your perception of yourself which affects your outlook in a positive way: by loving yourself, being confident in your body, in your talent and by letting your good energies flow. I’ve practiced for many years now, and it has helped a lot while being at-home. Additionally, especially in winter, having a bath with essential oils is another helpful way to de-stress.

How has or will your creative process change due to the current global situation?

I think that this particular time has enabled collaborators to get closer and to increase the trust with their creative partners. That’s one of the good outcomes of this situation.

Where are you finding your inspiration in the new normal?

I find my inspiration in the same way as before. I can tell that nature and raw materials are my very first and greatest sources of inspiration.

 And beyond materials, is fashion. I’m always so excited to watch and admire new fashion shows―they’re immensely inspiring in discovering new fabrics and their unexpected textures. During the confinement, fashion houses have been very active on Instagram which has allowed me the opportunity to stay connected with my favorite ones!

Nicolas Beaulieu, IFF

How can people incorporate fragrance into their routine when staying home?

Spray your favorite fragrance on your wrist—it will allow you to keep smelling it throughout your day at home

What do you use to help de-stress? 

I have a sample of Sandalwood oil New Caledonia by LMR which I love smelling. Its deep woody creamy addiction is so comforting to me

How has or will your creative process change due to the current global situation?

I feel very lucky that IFF put into place a new business process which allowed me to work almost as normal in the safe and quiet environment of my Parisian apartment. Of course this lockdown affected who I am, my priorities and therefore my inspirations, but the creative process remains the same.

Where are you finding your inspiration in the new normal?

I feel simple things hugely gained in importance during this weird period: cooking for your loved ones, the special odor of a book, or the reassuring smell of clean laundry or hand sanitizer!

Nathalie Benareau, Symrise

How can people incorporate fragrance into their routine when staying home? 

Setting up a fragrance routine is an amazing way to put fragrance back into our lives and increase our wellbeing. I use fragrance first thing in the morning to wake up my senses and right before bed to unwind to something soft and comforting.

What are some ingredients used to promote calm and relaxation, other than the most talked about ones like lavender?

I love the smell of Japanese incense in my home, I find it soft and comforting as well as relaxing. The sticks are very thin so the smoke is not overwhelming and it promotes a sense of calmness. Chamomile is also quite good for relaxation as well as clary sage which is ambery and smooth.

What do you use to help de-stress?

I do an hour of yoga every morning before my family wakes up, it sets my intention for the entire day and gives me the tools to avoid stress. If I need to de-stress during the day, I bake a cake, cookies or any type of dessert with my kids, when it starts baking in the oven, the house smells delicious which always makes me happy and relaxed!

How has or will your creative process change due to the current global situation?

Working from home made me much more adventurous and daring in my creative process, I overdose on some materials I wouldn’t otherwise. I cannot waste any time and do as many trials as I would if I were at the office so I need to trust my intuition more and be more fearless. Sometimes it smells great, sometimes it’s terrible!

Where are you finding your inspiration in the new normal? 

I read much more, I have many art books and photography books that I had forgotten about so it’s very inspiring to look back at those. I also take walks in my neighborhood and look much more closely at what is around me, I have been living in Jersey City for 20 years but it is the first time I take the time to really see it, it’s amazing what I have discovered. I love where I live and it’s a great source of inspiration. 

Gabriela Chelariu, Firmenich

What are some ingredients used to promote calm and relaxation, other than the most talked about ones like lavender?

A favorite ingredient of mine is Tonka Bean, it’s warm and can be used to create an atmosphere that brings a sense of calm and encourages relaxation and wellbeing. I always associate it with summer because of the notes of dried grass and hay (very happy and nostalgic smells for me).  Another ingredient that helps combat stress and anxiety and brings balance is Cedarwood Oil. 

What do you use to help de-stress?

In general any fragrance I love and wear daily helps me de-stress because it brings me joy and a sense of peace and can transport me to happier times. That said, listening to music is also essential for me and sometimes dancing, even if I have to do it on my own. 

How has or will your creative process change due to the current global situation?

I have become focused on crafting fragrances that bring people happiness, optimism, and promote wellbeing. This is in line with a growing desire for clean fragrances with ingredients that have benefits that go beyond ‘just smelling good’. Along with that, sustainability is becoming even more essential in today’s global situation, and something that I keep top of mind while creating scents as well.  

Where are you finding your inspiration in the new normal?

I draw inspiration from my time growing up in Romania where my grandmother helped me cultivate my knowledge and love of nature. My travels around the world and the new people and things I learn from simple everyday occurrences is also a source of inspiration. As life continues to evolve, I can’t help but watch the new narrative unfold, and it influences my work greatly.

Steven Claisse, Takasago

How can people incorporate fragrance into their routine when staying home? 

This is a time to look at fragrance as an opportunity to play and explore. It’s about wearing or experiencing home fragrance for yourself and not necessarily for others. For example, a way to incorporate fragrance in this new normal could be taking all your fragrances, laying them out, mixing them, and layering them. Even going on Google and learning about them. The same goes for home fragrances; take 3 candles and burn them all at once. This allows for new experiences and a sense of play, which always feels more positive. Taking this time to really explore, just as we do in cooking new recipes. This is the time to be present and bring a sense of play into our olfactive experiences.

What are some ingredients used to promote calm and relaxation, other than the most talked about ones like lavender?

The phrase “stop and smell the roses” can be applied to anything that gives you a sense of pause. I personally grow Wisteria in my garden and that makes me feel relaxed. Or smelling the pine trees in my backyard, also feels very calming. It is really about the little things we take for granted and now have the time to notice, smell and explore.

What do you use to help de-stress? 

For me, during these difficult times, de-stressing means taking my mind away from the negative and going back to the small gestures that bring me joy. Sitting in my backyard at night and smoking a cigar relaxes me. It’s about creating the space to do something that brings happiness into the present moment.

How has or will your creative process change due to the current global situation? 

Time is a luxury we now have because most of us are working from home. This has allowed me to have more time to think in new ways, try new things, new combinations of ingredients, even see olfactive experiences from a completely new perspective. I am taking this as an opportunity to broaden my horizons of creativity. 

Natasha Côté, IFF

How can people incorporate fragrance into their routine when staying home?

My favorite way of incorporating fragrance while at home is by burning a candle, using my favorite shampoo, body lotion and even a fabric softener.  I’ve been having a lot of fun experimenting with different hand soaps. 

What are some ingredients used to promote calm and relaxation, other than the most talked about ones like lavender?

Chamomile oil, Peppermint Oil, Spearmint Oil and Bergamot Oil are great for calm and relaxation. 

What do you use to help de-stress? 

I adore peppermint oil because it allows me to breathe better and clears my mind, or Neroli because it reminds me of being on vacation near the Mediterranean. Lastly the comforting smell of musk makes me feel peaceful and at ease.

How has or will your creative process change due to the current global situation?

I’m not quite sure. I will need to see what happens when we are released back into the world.  I would like to see things slow down a bit. The speed at which we were operating before, I believe, is unsustainable. 

Where are you finding your inspiration in the new normal?

I’m turning within. I have more time to do yoga, cycling, reading, cooking new recipes and spending more time with my family. I feel more grounded and this allows me to relax and let the inspiration flow in a very natural way.

Jerome Di Marino, Takasago

What are some ingredients used to promote calm and relaxation, other than the most talked about ones like lavender?

At Takasago we do have specific studies regarding the effect of the smells on the brain. That’s how we can say that there is a proven relaxing effect on the brain when smelling Caraway, Olibanum, Sage or Sandalwood. 

What do you use to help de-stress? 

At home I love to burn incense, sage or Laurel leaves which helps me to create a non-stressing environment.

How has or will your creative process change due to the current global situation? 

Creating fragrances requires time and patience, and as I work from home, I have less meetings, phone calls…which allows me to focus on the essential: smelling and working on new ideas.

Where are you finding your inspiration in the new normal?

In the “new normal” I find inspiration in taste associations. I discover by cooking and baking at home. It’s the perfect moment to experiment and try out new recipes.

Jerome Epinette, Robertet

How can people incorporate fragrance into their routine when staying home?

It’s important to try not to lose the habit! It is the same as getting dressed every morning, use fragrance and keep the routine going and it will help you feel better and will put you in a good mood. In my house, we’ve been burning more candles and using reed diffusers to create our own olfactive world. 

What are some ingredients used to promote calm and relaxation, other than the most talked about ones like lavender?

For me, vanilla and tonka bean are very soothing and cocooning. I also love blond woods like cedarwood and sandalwood. Even iso e super is really calming. Frankincense can be very relaxing for its Zen-like effect.

What do you use to help de-stress? 

I am very fortunate to have a terrace. So being outside surrounded by plants like gardenia and jasmine help me de-stress. Gardening and watering plants is very relaxing.

How has or will your creative process change due to the current global situation?

The current global situation is reinforcing the fact that we need to be more careful, more sustainable and respectful of nature.

Where are you finding your inspiration in the new normal? 

I am still finding inspiration everyday living and working in New York City. I can still feel the rhythm and connectedness of the New York I’ve lived in for years. The local community has been so supportive and I find this to be so inspiring.  

John Gamba, Givaudan

How can people incorporate fragrance into their routine when staying home?

People can incorporate fragrance into their at-home routines in an assortment of ways, by spraying different fragrances into each room to create the right mood or wearing a variety of scents at various times throughout the day―try a fresh, light scent in the morning, something green or floral in the afternoon and a more sophisticated scent like a woody amber in the evening.

What are some ingredients used to promote calm and relaxation, other than the most talked about ones like lavender?

I like tea (especially green or chamomile) and vanilla for relaxation.

What do you use to help de-stress?

A little Eucalyptus Tea or Eucalyptus Mint will do the trick while sipping a nice Pinot Noir.

How has or will your creative process change due to the current global situation?

I’ve been appreciating the smell of the outdoors. Working in the garden now is an olfactive delight, you get to experience and take in your surroundings in a different way. I’m trying to make the most out of these new opportunities. 

Where are you finding your inspiration in the new normal?

Since we are all quarantined I spend a lot of time online. There are so many virtual tours of places I have never been. Music is also inspirational while taking long walks and stepping back to smell the roses…

Pascal Gaurin, IFF

How can people incorporate fragrance into their routine when staying home?

I have several fragrance diffusers set up in my house and it allows me to evaluate the fragrance I’m currently working on. It is a great way to change the mood inside your home. I think wearing your favorite fragrance or discovering new ones, even if you do not go outside, is still very important to lift your spirit.

What do you use to help de-stress? 

As a person who is easily affected by anxiety, I have learned over the years that the best way to keep stress in check is to establish a very strict and healthy routine. It allows me to stay focused, calm and productive while keeping those around me sane. Stress and creativity are rarely compatible.

How has or will your creative process change due to the current global situation?

I always try to find the positive even in the most negative situation. Extreme situations push you to get out of your comfort zone and discover territories you would not have necessarily thought about or had the time to explore.

As a creator I am mostly inspired by people around me. As good as communication via screen can be, you are still missing some emotions that only the subtlety of body language can deliver. The current situation has forced me to reevaluate the way I am interacting with those I care for and connect with an emotional level.

Where are you finding your inspiration in the new normal?

Inspiration is all around us if you care to look for it.

Today, first responders are probably the most inspirational people you can think of. Reading biographies of artists I admire also helps me understand their creative process and how they manage to find solutions when faced with challenges. I am currently reading the biography of Ridley Scott. Steve Lukather’s biography will follow.

Gwen Gonzalez, Givaudan

What are some ingredients used to promote calm and relaxation, other than the most talked about ones like lavender?

Notes of jasmine, neroli and cypress are very useful for relieving anxiety and inducing relaxation. Cedarwood, sandalwood and litsea cubeba are beneficial for promoting calm. I also find vetiver and patchouli very grounding and balancing.

What do you use to help de-stress?

The peaceful aroma of Palo Santo is a favorite of mine; it’s very de-stressing for me. I burn the wood to fill a room or wear the essential oil combined in a fragrance. I also use a diffuser with sound and scent which is not only de-stressing but also helps me sleep and gently wakes me up.

Where are you finding your inspiration in the new normal?

On a larger scale, the ingenuity, kindness and sacrifice I see emerging all over the world is truly inspiring. On a smaller scale, I’m finding inspiration and comfort in cooking. Whether I’m following a proper recipe or improvising on the spot, I have the time now to really experiment with spices I’ve discovered while traveling. Creating flavors both foreign and familiar—reviving happy memories of different times and places. I’m making much bolder alterations on recipes, simplifying a technique or perfecting a family classic like my mom’s creole gumbo recipe.

Alexis Grugeon, Firmenich

How can people incorporate fragrance into their routine when staying home?

Fragrance can be a key way to maintain a sense of normality in your daily life (especially during these uncertain times). Maintaining the habit of perfuming yourself every day, or of lighting a favorite candle is a great way to enhance and create an “at home routine”, by surround yourself with your favorite scents. It’s also a great moment to explore new ambient scents and match them with your current mood or activity as well!

What do you use to help de-stress? 

Taking a break from the news, and focusing on my work and wellbeing has been very helpful. I feel very lucky to be able to do what I love, and to help people find balance and happiness in their own lives as well through the power of scent!

How has or will your creative process change due to the current global situation?

My notion of time being extremely valuable has enhanced my appreciation for how I spend it during this pandemic. It’s been nice to take the time I need to think, explore and create; it’s helped make me more innovative and efficient. Right now I am able to really focus and dive deep into each project I’m working on. 

Where are you finding your inspiration in the new normal?

My network of inspiration has definitely changed. Whereas before it was very much based on social interactions and exploring New York City, it’s now shifted to be about personal experimentation and intellectual exploration.

Richard Herpin, MANE

How can people incorporate fragrance into their routine when staying home?

Right now we need scents for comfort, for remembering good times and escaping.  Also, working from home may give people freedom to wear scents that they don’t allow themselves to wear as often as they might like.  I hope people are taking advantage of this time to wear whatever makes them feel good—and I don’t just mean pajamas! 

What are some ingredients used to promote calm and relaxation, other than the most talked about ones like lavender?

Aromatherapy is part physiology and part Pavlov:  what do you personally associate with an aroma. Any fragrance that makes you feel calm–it can be incense, patchouli, it can be something far from obvious and intensely personal. 

How has or will your creative process change due to the current global situation? 

This is a time for simple gestures of kindness, for caring for your loved ones. Being able to enjoy and be grateful now puts me in the right frame of mind. I’m having vivid dreams and memories of the past, so I can dig deeper.  In my work, I’m focusing on what is essential.  I find myself writing shorter, simpler formulas.

Where are you finding your inspiration in the new normal?

I try to focus on some positive things that are happening in the middle of difficult things. The city is quiet; the air is clean; around the world, the environment shows signs of healing. Here in America, you always feel that something new is coming, the way America has reinvented itself, again and again— we’ve all had to adapt, we will continue to adapt. I choose to embrace positive, feel-good fragrances.

Jacques Huclier, Givaudan

How can people incorporate fragrance into their routine when staying home?

With limited social interaction, it’s important to continue to wear our favorite fragrances. They keep us grounded and give us pleasure. 

Staying home also gives us more time for rediscovering smells: fruits on the table, spices in the kitchen, flowers on our balconies, books in the bookcase…everything has a smell, let’s take this time to play and enjoy them!

What are some ingredients used to promote calm and relaxation, other than the most talked about ones like lavender? 

Personally, the smells of vanilla, chocolate and caramel bring me a sense of calmness and relaxation. They are warm and comforting, and remind me of my childhood when my mother made delicious pastries on Sunday mornings.

What do you use to help de-stress? 

My best remedy to de-stress is to open the window, smell the fresh air or to jump outside and breathe in the plants and flowers―with all the components their smells are so rich and reconnect me to nature, to reality.

How has or will your creative process change due to the current global situation? 

My creative process has definitely changed. I take more time in the exploration of my ideas, looking for the right balance or the best contrast solely from my experience and memory. I’ve also been finding inspiration in several ways: reading, watching documentaries, trying new things and exchanging points of view with friends.

Where are you finding your inspiration in the new normal?

In closing my eyes, dreaming about a better world with new smells for happiness and optimism. Thinking about the world I will rediscover soon, I imagine what we would like to smell next…imagination is key!

Christelle Laprade, Symrise

How can people incorporate fragrance into their routine when staying home?

I love to spray something fresh on my pillow from time to time. Planting is also a nice way to incorporate scents into our lives in the most natural way, basil, rosemary, thyme, lavender, spearmint can bring the outdoors in.

What are some ingredients used to promote calm and relaxation, other than the most talked about ones like lavender?   

For me Sandalwood transports me to a calming place. Its subtle creamy milky woody tones give me a feeling of cocooning.

What do you use to help de-stress?  

I try to exercise every other day to help me calm down. Being able to work and continue to create is also essential in preserving my sanity.

How has or will your creative process change due to the current global situation?

I want my fragrances to be even more transporting as we are all stuck indoors. I also made a promise to myself to travel more when we are able to again and get inspired by all the beautiful things the world has to offer.

Where are you finding your inspiration in the new normal? 

In my dreams 🙂  

Maïa Lernout, Takasago

How can people incorporate fragrance into their routine when staying home?

For my home I like to burn dried leaves of white sage. It purifies the air. Shaman and yogi used it to clarify the mind and remove negative thoughts. 

What are some ingredients used to promote calm and relaxation, other than the most talked about ones like lavender?

Sweet orange essential oil is also well known to calm down the mind and bring comfort. If you don’t have it at home, you can just squeeze some fruit peels and put the drops of oil inside your wrist. This point in Chinese medicine is called the serenity’s door. It is the point on the same line as the little finger below the wrist fold. If you activate this point, it can bring joy and soothe fears or anxiety.

What do you use to help de-stress? 

I practice yoga and meditation almost every day, I read a lot and I like to paint watercolors.

Where are you finding your inspiration in the new normal?

I am often looking to my childhood memories to find inspiration or connect to peaceful or joyful moments I am trying to share through my creation. Books or people could also inspire me to create some ideas.

 Domitille Michalon-Bertier, IFF

How can people incorporate fragrance into their routine when staying home?

There are so many different ways to bring scent into your home: soap for your hands, laundry detergent to wash your fabric and liquid soap for your dishes, candles, a powder spray in the vacuum cleaner, foam bath in your bathroom, and most importantly, your fine fragrance, like a comforting blankie, or with its extension line products: body lotion, hair spray… You can also scent your sweaters with your fragrance before putting them away in your closet. 

What are some ingredients used to promote calm and relaxation, other than the most talked about ones like lavender?

I connect orange flower to relaxation and calm, a reassuring childhood memory, with 3 drops in hot water. Cedarwood is equally reassuring, as sturdy as a tree. I associate lavender with the cleanliness of laundry, a reminiscence from a laundry room with a cupboard full of clean linen sheets and a lavender sachet in a corner.

What do you use to help de-stress? 

Breathing is an essential part of life. Every single morning, all year long, I open wide all my apartment windows, and bring in the fresh wind, which sometimes even slams the doors shut. And when stress rises, I try a few calm and long breaths while facing the sun.

How has or will your creative process change due to the current global situation?

I’ve been able to take time to think, and don’t need to respond to everything in the minute. Preserving my secret garden is of utmost importance to me, in French we say: “pour vivre heureux, vivons caches,” translated roughly as “to live happy, live in hiding”! In my creative thinking, I like to diverge, and use very diverse idea associations, then converge and bring it all together after the night’s dreams.

Where are you finding your inspiration in the new normal?

My inspiration always comes from daily life: cooking, art shows, books, films, travels and my own memories. I’m also very inspired by my interactions with others, and my children. A project, a customer brief, is also of great inspiration for me.

Alexandra Monet, Firmenich

How can people incorporate fragrance into their routine when staying home?

Fragrance can help people to feel better in many ways. Smelling a fragrance that someone you love wears (and you’ve not seen for a while) can generate a strong emotion, making you feel closer to this person. Perfumes have an ability to transport you, without having to travel anywhere! 

What are some ingredients used to promote calm and relaxation, other than the most talked about ones like lavender?

Wearing or smelling a fragrance that you were using during a particularly happy period of your life can help aid in feelings of relaxation and calmness.

What do you use to help de-stress? 

For me, undertones of musk help me de-stress because they are very comforting, warm and reassuring.

How has or will your creative process change due to the current global situation?

Creating fragrance is about tapping into emotions. I try to experiment with the emotion of empathy as much as I can, and to try to imagine what scent and ingredients profile would make a person feel joy, security and accomplishment.

Where are you finding your inspiration in the new normal? 

Currently, my memories serve as the best source of inspiration for me. I like to think of pleasant and happy times I’ve had throughout my life, and the scent that accompanies those moments, to translate them into a fragrance.  

Pierre Negrin, Firmenich

What are some ingredients used to promote calm and relaxation, other than the most talked about ones like lavender?

To me, relaxation comes from ingredients that help to soothe you, they are soft, warm and creamy notes. Any scent that brings you back to your childhood and reminds you of pleasant memories helps to relax your soul.

What do you use to help de-stress? 

I tend to cook a lot, as it helps me explore flavorful raw ingredients and new combinations of spices, aromatic herbs and fruits.

How has or will your creative process change due to the current global situation?

Due to social distancing, I think people are trending in the direction of wanting and needing more powerful fragrances to help them overcome certain strong emotions in an uncertain climate. This shift will change the structure of my fragrances greatly, by using more potent ingredients in smaller quantities.

Where are you finding your inspiration in the new normal?

A lot of my inspiration stems from my imagination. I tend to daydream and think about ways of unearthing new ingredients that have psychological benefits of wellbeing in order to present a fragrance that is more than just a beautiful scent. Moving forward, we will need fragrances that lend themselves to the notion of cleansing, sanitizing, protecting, and relaxing to help increase people’s sense of security.

Kaleigh Prokop, MANE

How can people incorporate fragrance into their routine when staying home?

Staying home means having more opportunities to enjoy all the options for home fragrancing.  Whether it’s lighting a beautiful candle, using plug-in systems, diffusers, fragrance reeds, incense, there are so many choices. Take the time now to use your most indulgent body lotion, your favorite shampoo, all those bath products and bath salts and bubble bath that live in the linen closet.  

What do you use to help de-stress? 

Memory scents are comforting for me. The smell of Ivory dish soap and Chanel No. 5 reminds me of walking into my grandmother’s kitchen. The smell of sunscreen and Avon Skin-So-Soft reminds me of childhood summers; Bath & Body Works has a candle called The Perfect Summer that really captures a moment like this.  Cooking for me has really been a great de-stressor. . .there’s nothing less stressful than the smell of sizzling sausage and peppers!

How has or will your creative process change due to the current global situation? 

I’m more in my own head now:  you have to rely on imagination and memory, and find inspiration from within. As a perfumer, when you are formulating you usually have an idea of what your creation will smell like, but now I have to wait for the lab to send it to me. It’s not as immediate, and sometimes there’s a real surprise. I’m dosing ingredients differently, and coming up with some cool new directions.

Where are you finding your inspiration in the new normal?

I’ve always gotten a lot of inspiration from market products, restaurants, bars and fashion. That has all gone away for the moment, so I’ve shifted my focus to more simple ways to create. I have been cooking almost non-stop, I’m painting watercolors, and sewing. I have been taking baths with different products to try and relax. Reading has always been a place to go to and I am noticing now, more than ever, the way that scent is described in books and how it supports the story.  I’m inspired by whatever brings me joy, peace, and escape. For me, that’s summer days, the beach, easy clean floral scents that remind me of vacations I’ve spent with friends and family. Trying to recreate scents from those memories has been very helpful.

Erwan Raguenes, Firmenich

How can people incorporate fragrance into their routine when staying home?

Candles are a fantastic way to experience consistent fragrance notes throughout your home. Burning destination scented candles in different rooms can help you transition from one mood or atmosphere into another. It’s a new way to ‘travel’ while staying safe at home. 

What are some ingredients used to promote calm and relaxation, other than the most talked about ones like lavender?

I find that Chamomile and Jasmine are extremely relaxing scents…they are warm, and have the ability to soothe.

What do you use to help de-stress? 

Personally, I am partial to burning Sandalwood candles to create a warm, woody, creamy and comforting space. Likewise, Vanilla and Sandalwood notes are a lush combination that wrap around you like a cozy blanket.

How has or will your creative process change due to the current global situation?

I find that currently it’s less about ‘pushing the boundaries’ or experimenting, and more about creating a sense of nostalgia, content and reassurance in the fragrances I craft. Gourmand scents need to be more sentimental, while fruity and citrus notes need to be brighter and bolder than ever before.

Where are you finding your inspiration in the new normal?

I’ve been researching old recipes, and watching the food creations people have been cooking and showcasing on social media. Additionally, I have been digging up past references, accords and trends that I can tweak and modernized to fit the new needs of people globally.

Donna Ramanauskas, Robertet

How can people incorporate fragrance into their routine when staying home?

People can take this time to focus on the fragrances that are present in their homes. Whether it’s starting your day with an invigorating scented body wash or lighting a gourmand scented candle while in your home office, it’s a reminder of the role that scent can play in uplifting our moods on a daily basis.

What are some ingredients used to promote calm and relaxation, other than the most talked about ones like lavender?

Being a fanatic for any fragrance that lends itself to rose notes, I find rose absolute to be extremely calming.

What do you use to help de-stress?

During these chaotic times, I find myself reaching for fragrances that transport me to the holidays (even though it’s spring). The holiday season always has a way of lifting my spirits, so recently I have been burning a lot of fir balsam candles. 

How has or will your creative process change due to the current global situation?

Due to the current situation, the freedom we once had to interact and brainstorm with colleagues face to face has unfortunately changed. However, that has not altered our passion for what we do. If anything, it has been a reminder of how important fragrance is across all applications. 

Where are you finding your inspiration in the new normal?

My family recently started our own garden (which is a trend I think many are taking part in). I am looking forward to having a variety of herbs and vegetables at our fingertips and getting to experience the fresh aromas that accompany each individual plant.

 Catherine Selig, Takasago

How can people incorporate fragrance into their routine when staying home? 

People can incorporate fragrances into their daily routine in a holistic way which can serve to stimulate their olfactive senses and elevate their mood. Simply spraying a little fragrance on your hand before or after a meal, on yourself after a bath or even just lighting a scented candle before meditation can go a long way to stimulate your senses and put you into a better frame of mind.

What are some ingredients used to promote calm and relaxation, other than the most talked about ones like lavender?

Personally, I really like rose because it promotes focus and helps you become more grounded.  Rose can also serve as a vehicle to connect you to the earth.  I also like citrus bright energy because I always found it helps clear your mind and enables you to be present in the moment.

How has or will your creative process change due to the current global situation? 

I start my work early, no later than 7.30am.  Starting early enables me to have the time to let my creativity flow at his own pace without being pressured by a timeline. 

Where are you finding your inspiration in the new normal?

Mostly by being more in tune with the nature around me, staying focused on the essential, unlocking my imagination during my meditation sessions and by experimenting new cooking recipes.

 Florie Tanquerel, Cosmo International Fragrances

How can people incorporate fragrance into their routine when staying home?

It is a good time to take care of ourselves so why not recreate a body care routine which can help bring escapism at home.. as we can’t travel! for example using a shower gel with a fruity exotic fragrance with a blend of mango and coconut which can refer to India, or a body butter with a fresh and energizing aromatic note from a spa in Bali !

What are some ingredients used to promote calm and relaxation, other than the most talked about ones like lavender?

I would say the chamomile which is for me very relaxing with its sweet herbal note. And the orange flower that I love because it reminds me the south of France (my birthplace)  for its delicate floral orangey and honey scents.

What do you use to help de-stress? 

In my case, to destress I can use a special incense coming from India in with notes of olibanum, cashmere wood and sensual musk! And it gives me a peaceful mindset during my yoga practice and meditation!

How has or will your creative process change due to the current global situation?

I would say, now more than ever I bring more pride, happiness, positivity and love in my creations.

Where are you finding your inspiration in the new normal?

Social media, especially Instagram, is a tool that I use for creativity and to get connected globally. You can always get inspired with beautiful pictures from places, food and people from all around the world.  For now, I would say that I am obsessed with watching the posts from a famous French woman chef Anne Sophie Pic (3 Michelin stars). She gives me ideas and inspirations to pair ingredients from her cooking i.e a pie with rhubarb and tarragon,  a fresh mango with a confit jasmine ice cream, and succulent dessert with coffee, passion fruit, topped with ginger and black pepper!

Carlos J. Viñals, Symrise

How can people incorporate fragrance into their routine when staying home?

Starting the day with your go-to fragrance and then following at night with a new special occasion fragrance even though the occasion is watching Netflix again is important and can spark newness into each day.

What are some ingredients used to promote calm and relaxation, other than the most talked about ones like lavender?   

Ingredients that can promote calm for most are known to be lavender, Sandalwood, Patchouli, Incense etc. I believe notes that can bring you to your comfort zone these days can simply be smells from the home like coffee brewing, dinner cooking, pastries in the oven and candles burning. There’s no place like home!

What do you use to help de-stress?  

Well I won’t lie that it’s too easy to turn to another glass of wine to de-stress and I’m sure most are feeling the same. I really try to focus on a daily balance of work, hard exercise, walking the dogs and the most important is “PIM”, popcorn ice cream and a movie with the wife.

How has or will your creative process change due to the current global situation?

While my creative process hasn’t changed that much these days because I use my experience to approach each development the same.  

Where are you finding your inspiration in the new normal? 

My inspirations have changed since they are not live because I’m so isolated so the best source is….wait for it….internet!  Yes I admit it’s the most powerful resource tool and since I can’t go out the world comes to me.

Apr

PERFUMERS’ Q&A: A NEW PERSPECTIVE

What The Nose Knows

PERFUMERS’ Q&A: A NEW PERSPECTIVE

FRANK VOELKL, FIRMENICH

How can people incorporate fragrance into their routine when staying home?

I very much enjoy wearing fragrance while I’m at home; I think it can be a positive and comforting experience for anyone. It’s actually easier to apply a fragrance than to get dressed for the day. Candles and room sprays and any other form of home fragrances also enhance the experience of being confined, allowing us to be carried away or to travel through scent. It is certainly one effect that fragrance can have on us: to escape and be transported to a different place or next to a certain person.

What are some ingredients used to promote calm and relaxation, other than the most talked about ones like lavender?

Beyond lavender there are other ingredients known to make you feel grounded and give you inner peace and balance, like sandalwood or vetiver, for example. Personally, I have always been intrigued by the duality of musk, with its clean connotation, as well as its warm, sensual aspect, which could be a good combination these days.

What home products do you use to help de-stress?

There are a couple of candles that I have developed for brands like Le Labo, Otherland, Bath and Body Works, Aerin Lauder or Boy Smells, for example, that I like to use in my home, and there are, of course, always those that I’m currently working on that you will be able to discover in the near future. They all take me to special places and help me think of a bright and hopeful future.

How will your creative process change due to the current global situation?

I have always been fascinated by Virtual Perfumery. Working remotely means that I cannot smell every fragrance I create myself or sometimes only with a long delay. Being in this situation as a perfumer means that your way of thinking shifts; you sometimes formulate in a more daring way, and sometimes actually, less. No matter what, we all have an opportunity to create fragrance in an unprecedented way with unprecedented results.  

What are a few of your favorite notes to work with? How have you used it in a fragrance(s)?

I particularly like to work with woods. For me, woods create a link to nature, and often add an organic effect in a fragrance. I use woods as an anchor in my creations.

How does it feel to meet someone who is wearing a fragrance you created?

Mostly, it’s a pleasant surprise and quite rewarding.

What’s the best compliment someone has given you about a scent you worked on?

This is an exact quote that I recently received from a woman:

“The perfume is wonderful. It is the only scent I have ever found addictive. You know the feeling of getting ready for a situation where you know you are going to get laid? It gives me that feeling.”

If you could smell only one thing until the end of time, what would it be?

I think that would have to be the smell of my loved ones. 

Favorite non-perfume smell?

I love the smell of a forest, and I love how it changes in different seasons throughout the year.

Another favorite smell is the ocean; I love being able to smell the ocean before even seeing it.

If you could choose a superpower, what would it be?

It would be the ability to read people’s minds.

If you could use one word to describe the power of fragrance, what would it be?

Comfort.

If you could tell the world anything about fragrance, what would it be?

A fragrance you wear is first of all a choice you make for yourself and your own wellbeing, and for your own comfort.

NATALIE GRACIA-CETTO, GIVAUDAN

How can people incorporate fragrance into their routine when staying home?

If you already wear perfume for your own pleasure, there is nothing to change in your daily routine, but it may be an opportunity to try new perfumes or alternate fragrances to give another tone to your day.

What are some ingredients used to promote calm and relaxation, other than the most talked about ones like lavender?

The essences of cistus, eucalyptus, frankincense, neroli and pine, for example, are known for their relaxing properties.

What home products do you use to help de-stress?

I spray ginger essence in my living room and neroli essence on my pillow when I go to bed. I also use a diffuser (exclusive to Givaudan, Phytogaïa) which reproduces the beneficial stress-relieving effects of a Japanese forest.

How will your creative process change due to the current global situation?

I work on ideas proactively and imagine accords on clean olfactory territories and new naturalnesses, then try to transform them into smell (the first breath of fresh air in the morning in the countryside, the wind in the birch trees…)

What are a few of your favorite notes to work with? How have you used it in a fragrance(s)?

I really like tonka bean for its warm, sensual notes and gourmand edge.  I’ve used it in large quantities in the oriental accords of Burberry Brit. Then there’s jasmine absolute from Egypt, a smell from my childhood that I used in Blond Jasmine by Carolina Herrera. It’s truly difficult to choose because every ingredient has its own magic.

How does it feel to meet someone who is wearing a fragrance you created? 

It’s so nice to witness someone wearing a fragrance I’ve created; it inspires an immediate connection and understanding for the other person, even when they’re a stranger to you. 

What’s the best compliment someone has given you about a scent you worked on? 

An instinctive laugh after smelling a hazelnut accord I created. It’s a very beautiful memory!

If you could smell only one thing until the end of time, what would it be?

That’s a sad question because it would be the end of the world of perfume.

Favorite non-perfume smell?

Fresh grated lemon peel.

Favorite meal? 

Zucchini flower fritters made by my mother.

What’s something you’ve always wanted to learn to do? 

I’ve always wanted to learn how to play the cello, draw, speak Arabic and so many other things…

Do you have a secret talent? 

I’m still searching for one…

If you could use one word to describe the power of fragrance, what would it be? 

Escape. Perfume can cause you to teleport mentally and geographically.

JEAN-MARC CHAILLAN, IFF

How can people incorporate fragrance into their routine when staying home?

When staying at home, I like to use eau de cologne or something very light, citrusy and fresh, especially during spring or summer. It is refreshing and gives me energy! I also enjoy candles to create a different kind of ambiance.

What are some ingredients used to promote calm and relaxation, other than the most talked about ones like lavender?

We do have a tool at IFF that measures moods which tells us that musk and vanilla along with lavender are ingredients that could bring relaxation. But more recently, IFF launched our revolutionary approach to the aromatherapy segment with the Brain Emotions™ Natural Collection where we have eight scientifically measured emotional and cognitive effects that have been associated with our natural oils. For example: Immortelle Oil was associated with brain areas involved with energy, our Vanilla Bean Co2 Extract was associated with brain areas around happiness, and our LMR Myrrh oil from Eastern Africa was associated with several brain areas involved in mindfulness. 

What home products do you use to help de-stress?

To help de-stress, I use a candle with patchouli! But this is personal to me, a favorite scent of mine. Any smell that I love or that will remind me of positive memories and experiences will help me de-stress. 

How will your creative process change due to the current global situation?

My creative process won’t change per se because I can create formulas wherever I am and I’m still just as fascinated with the world around me as ever. I have had to think more about our process of sampling and smelling and reworking fragrances and this is where we may have to be more creative with how, where, and when the formulas are safely compounded, sent to evaluation and myself for reworks, then smelling together virtually over a screen. I think that there could be a shift towards a more collectively conscious process of working, but everything is possible and we are doing it!

What are a few of your favorites notes to work with? How have you used it in a fragrance? 

Patchouli is one of my most loved ingredients with which to work. I use it when I can because it is multifaceted and even if it is “Vieux comme la Terre” (translation: old as the Earth) it always brings newness and creative opportunities. I usually start with it and build around it to see where it will take me. However, beyond singular ingredients, the Oriental fragrance family is the one I am enjoying working around the most. I love texture, richness, sensuality, and mystery which this family embraces. I love that it reflects darkness, lightness, freshness and warmth through its layers of intricate interlacing.

How does it feel to meet someone who is wearing a fragrance you created?

When I come across someone who is wearing a fragrance I have created, it makes me incredibly joyful and honored to know I am contributing to their beauty and happiness. When I think of all of the choices on the market, it is truly a moment of reflection and pause just in knowing they felt a connection to something I created.

What’s the best compliment someone has given you about a scent you worked on? 

Just the fact that people wear my fragrances is already a compliment within itself.

If you could smell only one thing until the end of the time, what would it be? 

Oh my. That is very difficult to answer. I would be very sad and can’t imagine or accept the idea of only being able to smell only one thing. Smelling is part of my everyday life so not smelling anymore would be like taking away the most important part of it. But I know that answer will not suffice for Linda Levy, so if I really had to choose one, I would choose the Mediterranean region smell since I grew up in the South of France. There is a way the earth, the sky and the sun all melt together to create something that is beautiful and unique. It is sunny and warm and it always brings light, happiness and wellbeing in my life when I am there. It is a place where I truly feel alive.

Favorite non-perfume smell? 

I have three: the fig trees in Provence, a eucalyptus forest after the rain or a pine forest under a blanket of snow.

Favorite meal? 

TRUFFLE, TRUFFLE AND TRUFFLE. I love them so much that I planted 500 truffle oak trees at my home to enjoy truffle for the rest of my life!

Fantasy dinner guest?

Leonard de Vinci or Jack the Ripper.

What is your favorite saying or expression?

I do like the conclusion of Voltaire Candide ou l’optimisme masterpiece: “Il faut cultiver notre jardin” (translation: we must cultivate our own garden) meaning we must work within our own thoughts to find the true happiness within.


Dec

PERFUMERS’ Q&A

What The Nose Knows

PERFUMERS’ Q&A

OLIVIER GILLOTIN, GIVAUDAN

If you could smell only one thing until the end of time, what would it be?

I love the odor before a storm, when the sky is dark and the rain’s approaching. It’s a complicated smell, it’s relaxing and, for me, reminiscent of summer.

Similar to how some painters put hidden marks without anyone knowing, I use a subtle amount of the storm-like smell in all of my fragrances―it’s part of my personal signature.

What’s your favorite saying or expression?

Winston Churchill once said, “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” This is particularly relevant to perfumers, where even the most successful have lost more projects than they have won. 

If you could use one word to describe the power of fragrance, what would it be?

Happiness or zen. A good fragrance should be able to change someone’s mood and make them feel good.

If you could tell the world anything about fragrance, what would it be?

Don’t think of fragrance as something trendy, but rather wear it to bring you joy. I would have to say perfumers work in purely emotion. I think we’re all pretty sensible, but our feelings fuel us: we feel emotion, we reflect emotion, and we live on emotion. 

MARIE SALAMAGNE, FIRMENICH

What are a few of your favorite notes to work with? How have you used it in a fragrance(s)?

I believe that patchouli is simply inescapable. It’s an ingredient that you can continually reinvent. It’s a fragrance all on its own, and it always has an impact.  No matter the dosage, it always plays a key role in a formula. In Issey Miyake’s l’Eau d’Issey pour Homme Wood & Wood, Dora Baghriche and I combined two qualities of patchouli and it was incredible.

I would also choose orange flower as a favorite.  It’s a modern, luminous flower, and it evokes addiction, with a touch of gourmandise.  I’ve worked with these aspects of orange flower in both Histoire d’Orangers for L’Artisan Perfumer and Tiffany & Love for Her, with Honorine Blanc; they show two different expressions of this luscious note.

How does it feel to meet someone who is wearing a fragrance you created?

After fragrance creation, this represents the second most beautiful moment in my profession.  To cross the path of a woman whose trail is one of my fragrances is so rewarding, and then to exchange with her and learn about how she feels is a spectacular feeling.

What’s the best compliment someone has given you about a scent you worked on?

A friend of mine wears one of my fragrances and she cannot imagine a day without it.  It’s become her personal accessory, part of her personality, and that’s an immense compliment.

If you could smell only one thing until the end of time, what would it be?

Only one smell?  That would be too sad.  It would be like seeing the world in monochrome.

If you could choose a superpower, what would it be?

I love travelling, and as a perfumer, I would love to have the ability to teleport.  Part of my job is to translate nature and reality to deliver emotions. Imagine if I could jump from smelling jasmine in India and pop back to my office to work with that smell still fresh in my mind.  I could appear in Brazil surrounded by exotic fruits or in El Salvador engulfed by Peru Balsam, and then create immediately. 

What’s something you’ve always wanted to learn to do?

I would have loved to learn how to sculpt. The idea of starting from clay and giving it life speaks to me. I sometimes visit the Musée Bourdelle not far from my home in Paris, and it’s a true escape.  Sculpture delivers such a pure, intense emotion. It’s inspiring.

If you could use one word to describe the power of fragrance, what would it be?

Uncontrollable

MAURICE ROUCEL, SYMRISE

What are a few of your favorite notes to work with ? How have you used it in a fragrance?

Amber & Musk. I used them for Women who love men who love women.

How does it feel to meet someone who is wearing a fragrance you created?

I feel curiosity – who is she or he? Why this choice? I feel pride, and the opposite of the Rolling Stones, who ‘can’t get no satisfaction’!

What’s the best compliment someone has given you about a scent you worked on?

“There’s a soul in your perfumes.”

If you could smell only one thing until the end of time, what would it be?

The smell of life.

What’s your favourite saying or expression?

Be patient in the effort.

If you could choose a superpower, what would it be?

To make this world more intelligent and nicer.

If you could tell the world anything about fragrance, what would it be?

Choose your perfume like your man or your woman, and not only for life.


Nov

PERFUMERS’ Q&A

What The Nose Knows

PERFUMERS’ Q&A

DAPHNÉ BUGEY, FIRMENICH

What are a few of your favorite notes to work with? How have you used it in a fragrance(s)?

I love the addictive and aphrodisiac qualities in Ambrox; for Le Labo’s Rose 31, I used the isomere leavo in overdose. Recently, I’ve really focused on woody notes, such as patchouli, in association with unexpected elements. For K from Dolce&Gabbana, I combined three different qualities of patchouli with spicy pimento. For Jean Paul Gaultier’s Scandal, I also mixed three types of patchouli with honey. I also love vanilla for it touches the subconscious, I think, and I have always been attracted to orange flower as well, maybe because I spent some years in Algeria and Iraq in my childhood. 

How does it feel to meet someone who is wearing a fragrance you created?

It’s truly satisfying to bring joy and emotion to people. One day, I ran after a woman on the street to ask her what she was wearing, as I loved it. She told me it was a flanker of She Wood from Dsquared and that I wouldn’t know as it was only sold in Italy. I actually created it and didn’t recognize it. That made me smile, and of course, I didn’t tell her.

What’s the best compliment someone has given you about a scent you worked on? 

A friend of mine told me a funny story.  He was wearing one of my fragrances. A woman literally followed him into the bathroom and knocked on his stall door to ask him the name of his perfume because it smelled so good, she said. During a launch, I was showing small groups of journalists the accords of the fragrance. We were five around a table when suddenly one journalist started to cry because the lily accord reminded her of her wedding day. It was one of the most beautiful and touching experiences. We actually all started to cry as well, all five of us.

If you could smell only one thing until the end of time, what would it be?

The smell of my children.

What’s your favorite saying or expression? 

A quote from Nikos Kazantzakis: “I hope for nothing, I fear nothing, I’m free.”

If you could choose a superpower, what would it be? 

To fly. I’ve always dreamed of flying. I took a year-long sabbatical and learned to paraglide in Nepal. However, to pilot a paraglider, you need to make decisions constantly and I was just contemplating everything going by, and it was too dangerous. Today, I kite-surf; it lets me sail over the ocean and fly above the waves and that’s one of the reasons I moved to Lisbon!

What’s something you’ve always wanted to learn to do? 

The drums. I believe that jamming with other musicians over an improv session must be the most thrilling experience. Music, like fragrance, resonates in me and fascinates me as it can be so innate, spontaneous and animal.

NICOLAS BEAULIEU, IFF

What are a few of your favorite notes to work with? How have you used it in a fragrance(s)?

I was very young, starting my training in IFF quality control when I smelled Cashmeran® (an IFF captive molecule) for the very first time. And what a shock! The incredible scent of some unknown wood, both aromatic and creamy musky, slightly red fruits. I was very disoriented. It was the first time I smelled an odor which doesn’t exist in nature! That how I understood how important synthetic molecules are for the creativity of the perfumer, and I feel lucky and grateful to the IFF R&D team for coming up with amazing innovative new gems. I am also a huge fan of vetiver, and especially our Vetiver oil Molecular Distillation For Life LMR, more intense in its woodiness and less earthy than regular vetiver oil. This is the quality we used in Tiffany & Love for Him, giving astonishing elegance and lustiness.

How does it feel to meet someone who is wearing a fragrance you created?

 It makes me so proud, of course! I also like to read consumer reviews on the internet. There are a lot of learnings in what is liked and disliked, and I believe it is key to be aware of consumer critics and crushes –  they share raw emotions, without filters.

What’s the best compliment someone has given you about a scent you worked on?

I once met a lady, a long time user of Clinique’s Aromatics Elixir who praised Aromatics in White, telling me it was her ideal alternate perfume! So nice of her to compare my creation to Bernard Chant’s masterpiece…

Favorite non-perfume smell?

The smell of clean laundry when I get home; it is so reassuring and relaxing.

What’s your favorite saying or expression?

“Alone I go faster, together we go further”! My perfumer colleagues all are remarkable, and I love working in team: it is very inspiring… and much more fun!

Favorite meal?

I am on a diet right now, so I could kill for a meal of cheese and red wine!

What’s something you’ve always wanted to learn to do?

I would love to be able to read hieroglyphs. As a kid, I wanted to become an archeologist. I guess somehow, one can say that I “excavate” in my perfume formulas!

ARNAUD WINTER, COSMO INTERNATIONAL FRAGRANCES

What are a few of your favorite notes to work with? How have you used it in a fragrance(s)?

My first encounter with Tuberose flowers goes back years ago during my first trip to Mexico. I was welcomed by an enormous bouquet of white blossoms as I walked inside the house where I was staying – it was an olfactive overload of pure bliss. At Cosmo Fragrances, we are fortunate to have access to our exclusive naturals palette which includes my favorite floral ingredient; the Tuberose Craftivity®. This natural extract allows me to create with the addictive sensuality, power and exoticism of the living flower, without going too heavy fruity or medicinal. This olfactive character takes me back to my experience in Mexico.

The scent of Saffron brings immediate childhood memories of my grandmother, especially her cooking. Since she was born in Tunisia, this amazing spice was part of her culinary heritage. It is such a multifaceted note that it works wonders in oriental and leathery accords. It also blends beautifully with iris, rum, honey and rich fruits.

How does it feel to meet someone who is wearing a fragrance you created?

It’s always a joyful, humbling experience and a privilege to be able to make people feel good about themselves. As perfumers, we can be part of someone’s life in a very intimate and personal way. My work creates special invisible connections between myself, and complete strangers.

What’s the best compliment someone has given you about a scent you worked on?

A few years ago, I was lucky enough to be invited to South America to speak about my work to the public. In one of the events, I met a lady from one of the remote villages that is situated on the edge of the Amazonian forest. She traveled hours just to be there for the event. At the end of the presentation, she approached me shyly with tears in her eyes & said: “This scent you created is part of who I am, thank you!” That is the best compliment I have ever received.

Favorite non-perfume smell?

The distinct scent of the air just before the rain on a hot summer day. This mixture of ozonic, solar notes and the rich scent from the earth is a reminder that appreciating the simple things is what matters most.

If you could choose a superpower, what would it be?

 Omnilingualism, I know, it’s a very strange word that describes the capacity to learn and communicate in any languages spoken or not. I think that a lot of things would function much better if we could all communicate, understand and learn from each other. Maybe fragrance as a start?

Fantasy dinner guests?

Joel Robuchon, Bono and Leonardo da Vinci. The table will be definitely interesting! We can create a symphony of culinary/musical/pictorial/olfactive concepts. But one thing is for sure, Mr Robuchon would take care of the cooking!

If you could use one word to describe the power of fragrance, what would it be?

Transcendence: Fragrance is much more than just a formula, it’s not just a pretty scent, it helps us transform our identity and pushes us to go beyond our limitations or you can say imagination.

Oct

PERFUMERS’ Q&A

What The Nose Knows

PERFUMERS’ Q&A

GABRIELA CHELARIU, FIRMENICH

What are a few of your favorite notes to work with? How have you used it in a fragrance(s)?

I love being in nature and always want to be close to nature, so this greatly influences the notes I like to use in fragrances. I love to use mossy notes. They are chameleonic,  able to express different facets: humidity in woody notes like walking in a luxurious forest; soft, warm dryness like the smell of wood baked by the sun; salty effects when combined with marine notes; mineral effects like the smell of wet rocks; fluffy airiness to vanilla; and elegant texture to gourmand notes. As the key ingredient of the most elegant of fragrance accords, the Chypre accord, it’s no surprise that I use mossy notes in many creations. I also love to use Jasmine Sambac. For me, it is a very modern floral note because of its green dewiness, wink of fruitiness and touch of petal-like silkiness. It is a great combination of playfulness, beauty and nature. I use it in many of my creations, and it works naturally in floral fruity structures, subtly in woods by bringing silkiness or even richly in vanillas to enhance deliciousness.

How does it feel to meet someone who is wearing a fragrance you created?

The moment when I meet someone who’s wearing a fragrance I created, it is the distillation of everything I wished and hoped to achieve as a perfumer.  It fills me with happiness, not because it is my creation, but because I touched someone, because my work meant something important to elicit the act of picking up the perfume, putting it on and going out in the world with confidence. It’s an amazing feeling. Additionally, memories of what that fragrance means to me come flooding back and this shared experience gives me an enormous enthusiasm to create again.

What’s the best compliment someone has given you about a scent you worked on?

The best compliment someone has given me about a scent I created is when a person tells me: “This is the fragrance I wore when I met the love of my life.” Of course, I’m not assuming that the fragrance itself played a very large role in that love, but nonetheless, it was part of this extraordinary moment in someone’s life with reverberations long after. Being part of people’s happy, life-altering moments, big or small, through the fragrances I create, and knowing that those fragrances will bring back such happy memories ever after, is indeed the biggest compliment for me.

Fantasy dinner guests

I love theatre so I have many fantasy guests. To mention just a few: theater director Ivo Van Hove, whose plays leave me always completely transformed (I am thrilled by his ability to create intense, even cathartic emotions in the most understated décor, but also by his use of innovative technology to create unexpected theatrical experiences); actress Cate Blanchett, who is a sheer force of nature (every single time I see her on stage, she takes my breath away); and Bristish actor and director Mark Rylance, who practically becomes his characters (I pledge to see him every single time I have a chance). I can only dream of a play directed by Ivo Van Hove featuring Cate Blanchett and Mark Rylance!

Favorite saying:

“Inspiration exists, but it has to find us working.” – Pablo Picasso

What’s something you’ve always wanted to learn to do?

I have always wanted to learn to play the piano, and it’s a dream that could still come true.

Favorite non-perfume smell?

The smell of firewood burning in the winter while being outside in the snow. It takes me immediately to my childhood.

If you could use one word to describe the power of fragrance, what would it be?

Transportational.

PATRICIA CHOUX, MANE

What are a few of your favorite notes to work with?  How have you used it?

Some of my favorite materials include natural orange flower, and solar salicylates.  These are regressive aromas for me, the scents of childhood memories like baking orange flower cakes, and going to the beach. Banana Republic Neroli Woods, and Carven Dans Ma Bulle, both have a nod to my happy childhood. I also love patchouli absolute, with its dual aspect: woody and earthy, but also humid. I used patchouli and woods in Malin + Goetz Leather.

How does it feel to meet someone who is wearing a fragrance you created?

I feel super-happy when I meet someone who wears one of my fragrances. It’s the ultimate validation for a perfumer. It’s like being famous for the best part of yourself: for your creativity and your work.  

What’s the best compliment someone has given you about a scent you worked on?

The best compliment anyone has ever given me was, “It changed my life: I’m so addicted. I wear it, and people are attracted to me.” And it wasn’t only one person who told me that people responded to them when they wore that fragrance! I love that my fragrance helps them to feel their best self.

Favorite non-perfume smell?

When it’s marathon season, they prepare for 50,000 runners to arrive in Central Park.  There’s this distinctive smell, close to the finish line. It’s hard for me to describe, because I’m not in my most olfactive frame of mind when I’m at the end of the marathon! It’s something plastic, waxy, maybe a touch of Gatorade, and the smell of the finish line. It smells triumphant!

If you could choose a superpower

Reading people’s minds!—so I will know when they truly like or don’t like a fragrance, and also I would understand how to rework it.

Fantasy dinner guest

I would absolutely love to have dinner with Meryl Streep. She’s brilliant and faceted, and so talented. . . I admire the quality of her work, and also her work ethic—she’s super-inspiring for me. She can be sexy and funny and strong; she’s daring, but classic, with such elegant posture. I would love to create for her. 

Favorite saying or expression

Dare.  Don’t be afraid to go outside your comfort zone. Like everyone else, I have my routines, where I feel safe and protected, but I hate the idea of having routines. I’m trying to not live my life inside my comfort zone. Don’t be afraid.

CELINE BAREL, IFF

What are a few of your favorite notes to work with? How have you used it in a fragrance(s)?

I love the Orange Flower Water absolute LMR as well as the LMR Rose Essential™ (which was granted the Sustainable Beauty product of the year award in 2013), which are both fresher, dewier, cleaner, more modern, and closer to, respectively, the orange flower water and rose water used in pastries or in beauty products, and more importantly, very close to those flowers you smell in the air. I found them more joyful and playful and more versatile. In traces or in overdose, they work their magic and are more easily accepted!

How does it feel to meet someone who is wearing a fragrance you created?

The first time I ever smelled a fragrance I created was in the subway in NYC. It was Jessica Simpson’s Fancy Love. It was one of my first fragrances, and I was so deeply happy to smell my work on someone. This fragrance also saved my vacations: I was coming back from Brazil, and on the plane I was talking to my neighbor who shared that her daughter was wearing Jessica Simpson’s Fancy Love, so I told her I created this fragrance as a perfumer at IFF in NYC. At some point during the flight I left my bag unattended under my seat with my brand new camera containing all my souvenirs. Back home, I was excited to look at my pictures only to discover my camera got stolen on the plane. I was heartbroken. Few days later, I received a weird package, with a CD inside on which was written “achado em JFK” (found in JFK) with all my pictures burnt on it !!! So I‘ve been thankful to this “fragrance loving Robin Hood”, and thanks to Fancy Love, “they” found the IFF Address to return at least my pictures!!

What’s the best compliment someone has given you about a scent you worked on?

For Zoologist Squid, someone talked about my “perfume wizardry capturing the fantastic wonders of the unchartered deep”;  another one said the fragrance managed to depict perfectly the habitat and the “aura” of the animal in a wearable way : in both cases, I am happy to hear that through my creation I succeeded in embarking  the consumer onto a journey, make them dream as long as the fragrance lasts. To have given them a good time. An escape. A daydream. There is something very powerful about fragrances, and that’s why I LOVE my job: make people feel good.

If you could smell only one thing until the end of time, what would it be? 

The World!!!

If you could choose a superpower, what would it be?

To be free to explore any time: past, present, future.

Fantasy dinner guests?

A good dinner should not only have great food, it should have great company too. My casting would be: Cleopatra, Alexander the Great, Jesus, Walt Disney, Mick Jagger, Marilyn Monroe, Richard Branson, Elon Musk, Salvador Dali, and Gala. I think we would have a lot of fun and unforgettable conversations!

What’s something you’ve always wanted to learn to do? 

I wish I could play the piano really well and compose, and I would have a surrealistic piano-lab, like in the Boris Vian’s novel L’Ecume des Jours (Foam of the Days), and instead of creating cocktails, my piano would create perfumes…

Sep

PERFUMERS’ Q&A

What The Nose Knows

PERFUMERS’ Q&A

ADRIANA MEDINA, GIVAUDAN

What are a few of your favorite notes to work with? How have you used it in a fragrance(s)?

I am a top note kind of gal—you never get a second chance to make a first impression. I love citrus, fruity, fresh top notes. Notes that are joyful and dance on the top of a fragrance. 

How does it feel to meet someone who is wearing a fragrance you created?

It’s the biggest compliment a perfumer can ever receive, when you meet someone who enjoys and wears your fragrance all the time!

What’s the best compliment someone has given you about a scent you worked on? 

One of the best compliments was when someone told me that a creation of mine was the first fragrance they were gifted, and it’s their favorite scent! To be able to reach someone and leave a long-lasting memory is very meaningful.

Favorite non-perfume smell?  

Mom’s cooking. The smell is sweet, salty, warm and delicious. A signal that I’m home. 

Do you have a secret talent? 

It’s not a secret that I love dancing!

If you could use one word to describe the power of fragrance, what would it be? 

Magical. Fragrance is pure magic, it makes you imagine, dream and travel.

If you could tell the world anything about fragrance, what would it be? 

I was first introduced to fragrance by my grandmother. I still clearly remember the glass tray where she displayed all of her favorites. Little did I know, I would become a perfumer one day. Fragrance gave me a profession and it’s where I found my deepest passion. I love to share my story so I can inspire others to be part of this beautiful world. It started later on in life as a dream, and I made it into a reality.

MACKENZIE REILLY, IFF

What are a few of your favorite notes to work with? How have you used it in a fragrance(s)?

I love to work with mineral notes, and see them as an extension of the world of naturals.  By faceting a woody or herbaceous accord with minerality, it adds a depth to the olfactive landscape that feels really natural to me, creating the effect of a forest or a shoreline. I also like to work with natural seeds, such as carrot or ambrette.  I love the richness and signature they can provide to an orris or sandalwood, for example. These types of notes also open the door to a new world of gourmand fragrances that are edible and addictive, but not necessarily sweet the way we currently understand the gourmand family.  

How does it feel to meet someone who is wearing a fragrance you created? 

It’s exciting! Suddenly you see your creation in a new light, almost as if it doesn’t belong to you anymore.

What’s the best compliment someone has given you about a scent you worked on?

I’ve been told by a client that a fragrance I made for his brand brings him back to his childhood memories in the South of France, and is so close to his heart for that reason.  The way he smiles when he recounts the story makes me feel like I was able to capture something both elusive and profound and put it in a bottle; which is the ultimate goal, really. Any time someone shows you that you’ve truly reached them through scent, it’s a pretty powerful feeling.

If you could smell only one thing until the end of time, what would it be?

Such a hard question!  Maybe the smell of sweet, fresh air when the seasons change; when the sun hits the earth, warming the soil, the grass, the trees. You feel as though you are being nurtured through your breath.

Favorite non-perfume smell?

The scent of burning wood in a big stone fireplace. I love the variety of firewood in different places. In France we burn good, dry wood that’s covered in oakmoss, and in New Mexico, it’s the sweet scent of Pinion wood burning in the adobe kivas.

What’s your favorite saying or expression?

The photographer Cecil Beaton once wrote, “What is elegance?  Soap and water!” I love this quote for what it is: simple, honest, beautiful. In perfumery it is very important to understand how to capture the essence of things; an exercise in minimalism and essentialism. 

Do you have a secret talent?

I can hold my breath underwater for 5 minutes, maybe more.  It’s true!

If you could tell the world anything about fragrance, what would it be?

If you take the time to learn how to smell, how to be present and really pay attention to scent, your world will expand in ways you cannot imagine.  

ILIAS ERMENIDIS, FIRMENICH

What are a few of your favorite notes to work with? How have you used it in a fragrance(s)?

I enjoy working with Ambrox, the sexiest molecule alive, combining it with other radiant woody notes, and fresh or warm spices, to create surprising masculine addictions that are different from your everyday fougere aromatics.

How does it feel to meet someone who is wearing a fragrance you created?

I love the sense of mutual enthusiasm when I randomly meet someone who is half a generation younger than me and has used one of my fragrances. It brings back amazing memories and makes me secretly proud.

Best compliment someone has given you about a fragrance you worked on:

The best compliment is to hear the addictive effect a fragrance I created has on someone’s entourage. I believe in the primitive, then emotional, influence of a fragrance.

Favorite non-perfume smell?

The Aegean sea mixed with the smells of watermelons, cucumbers and Clarins suncream. It’s the perfect summer vacation smell.

What’s your favorite saying or expression?

I am Greek and I have way too many, but i often use Oscar Wilde’s “Be yourself.  Everyone else is already taken.”

What’s something you’ve always wanted to learn to do?

I would have loved to learn to play the piano or the guitar when I was young.

If you could use one word to describe the power of fragrance, what would it be? 

Addiction


Aug

Perfumers’ Q&A

What The Nose Knows

Perfumers’ Q&A

CAROLINE SABAS, GIVAUDAN

What’s your favorite saying or expression? 

Carpe Diem (seize the day). I don’t say it often, but it’s how I choose to live my life—it’s very freeing.

What’s something you’ve always wanted to learn to do? 

I’ve always wanted to take singing classes. I love music and sing constantly, but could use some practice (which my 7-year-old son reminds me every day!).

If you could use one word to describe the power of fragrance, what would it be?

Emotion.

If you could tell the world anything about fragrance, what would it be? 

A fragrance makes you dream.

Fantasy dinner guest? 

Mozart, Chopin and Brahms one evening; Djokovic, Nadal and Federrer the next.

PASCAL GAURIN, IFF

If you could smell only one thing until the end of time, what would it be?

I think one of the most calming smells is that of my kids’ heads when they were babies. It is one of the most striking and soothing smells of all time. 

Fantasy dinner guest?

I would actually have seven guests:

Quentin Tarantino –I believe that quality must start from a white page every time, and he is able to implement this excellence by creating a vision from scratch with each film. I also feel his brilliant dialog sets a new perspective on culture that is an eye-opening reflection of the world in which we live.

Eddie Izzard – I admire the way he approaches society, religion and sexuality that has set him apart in a very Monty Python kind of way that is remarkable.

Tom Ford – Simply because life is more beautiful with Tom Ford.

David Bowie – A master at stretching boundaries, visually and musically and he knew to surround himself with the best in the business.

Lana Del Rey – I have a purely emotional connection to her work as a singer and songwriter. There is something that deeply moves me about what she does. You either connect with her universe or you don’t.

Oprah Winfrey – Her life trajectory and achievements are extraordinary and unique in American society.

Ellen Von Unwerth – The way she captures a woman’s image really set her apart. It is erotic and joyful at the same time. 

What is favorite saying or expression?

“Creativity is allowing yourself to make a mistake, art is knowing which one to keep.” – Scott Adams

What’s something you’ve always wanted to learn to do?

I would love to spend 3 months of my life working side by side with Patrick Roger, the French chocolate artist. He is a culinary wizard and has pushed the art of chocolate to a new level by magnifying the aesthetics and the taste.  His environmental consciousness is also astonishing and admirable. 

If you could tell the world anything about fragrance, what would it be?

It is the most beautiful sense of the world. Simply by breathing, you are smelling. You don’t have control over what you feel when you smell because it is connected to the most primitive and emotional part of your brain.  It is a pure instinctive reaction! It is pure emotion!

If you could choose a superpower, what would it be?

It’s hard to choose just one. But if I had to, I would say teleportation. To travel to another destination in the blink of an eye would be incredible. 

DAVID APEL, SYMRISE

What’s your favorite saying or expression?  

“You can always wash dishes…” My father was a chef and it was his way of teaching his children that you can always start over again and reinvent yourself.  It’s a saying that has been useful in my life.   

Fantasy dinner guest?  

Leonardo da Vinci or Cher. Actually both together would be spectacular fun!

What’s something you’ve always wanted to learn to do? 

I’m happy to say the list is long. Gives me hope. Paint well, build kayaks, fly, to name a few…

If you could tell the world anything about fragrance, what would it be? 

Look for fragrance in your life. It is always there. The briny mineral tang of the stones of lower Manhattan on a brisk fall day. The bright green flash of grass and linden blossoms on an early summer evening in Central Park. Then find one that is yours to keep in a bottle and bring along on your journey.  That is what we have the luck to do as perfumers.

Favorite Meal?

My favorite meal is in my garden. With all the people I love. Noise, laughter, talking over one another, platters of grilled meats and vegetables, wine and flowers, children, sunshine and music.

Jul

Perfumers’ Q&A

What The Nose Knows

Perfumers’ Q&A

LOUISE TURNER, GIVAUDAN

What does it mean to you to win The Fragrance of the Year/Women’s Luxury award for Tom Ford Lost Cherry?
Winning Fragrance of the Year makes me feel very proud and honored to have participated in its creation with such an amazing team at Tom Ford Beauty; and so inspired by the incredible creative vision of Mr. Ford.

What do you love most about being a perfumer?
What I love most about being a perfumer is the constant surprise and discovery that every creation brings… a perfume is never exactly how you imagine it to be so there is a child-like excitement every time you start to develop something new.

How would you describe your style as a perfumer?
My style is simple (figurative) and very inspired by nature.

If you could smell only one thing until the end of time, what would it be?
I just love the smell of honeysuckle… it has a meditative effect on me!

What’s your favorite saying or expression?
Favorite saying: Less is More! (I try and strive for this …but it’s not as easy as it sounds!)

What’s something you’ve always wanted to learn to do?
Something I have always wanted to do- learn to fly a plane… I will hopefully obtain my PPL (private pilot ‘s license) this year.

CLEMENT GAVARRY, FIRMENICH

What does it mean to you to win The Fragrance of the Year/Women’s Popular award for Ariana Grande Cloud?
It is an immense honor and pleasure to have received a Fragrance Foundation Award. To win the Women’s Popular Fragrance of the Year made it all the more meaningful because it tells me this scent is reaching a great number of people in the US.

What mood or effect did you want the fragrance to create?
Inspired by what a cloud could smell like in Ariana’s world, I created this fragrance to create an uplifting, positive and happy mood. Additionally, I wanted to transmit a feeling of openness and comfort, as if floating on a cloud.

Are there unique considerations when creating a scent for a celebrity?
When working with a celebrity, the creation process is far more personal. You must consider the individual’s unique identity and preferences throughout every stage of the process.

What’s your favorite saying or expression?
YOLO (you only live once)

If you could choose a super power, what would it be?
Flying at high speed.

Fantasy dinner guests?
Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, Richard Branson, Elon Musk

EMILIE COPPERMANN, SYMRISE

What does it mean to you to win the Perfume Extraordinaire award for A Lab On Fire Hallucinogenic Pearl?
It was wonderful working with A Lab on Fire who allowed me to express myself freely. I was so happy to be honored with this award, which is perhaps for me the most meaningful award given by the Fragrance Foundation, as it is bestowed by my peers. It’s the price that touches me the most! It’s a real recognition in the industry. I was also very touched by the reaction of other perfumers during the event, who were sincerely happy for me.

What is most special to you about this scent?
Against any feminine or masculine stereotype, and going beyond the trend of current perfumes. A kind of original alchemy from which emerges the unexpected, both new and familiar that brings back the emotion of a dream, an unconscious memory. A regressive invitation back in childhood with this soft leather note with strong iris facets and milky facets, very addictive without being sweet or sugary. A fragrance that creates a surprising addiction in people.

What elements or ideas inspired its creation?
My first idea was to start from the very well-known deep leather scent of De laire of the beginning of the century and to reinvent it in a modern, delicate and white signature.

If you could smell only one thing until the end of time, what would it be?
Without any hesitation, that of babies at the time of birth. They are wrapped in a kind of musky halo, a suave smell hyper sensual without being animal. I am always incredibly surprised by the contrast between the softness and fragility of their skin and the power of this so exquisite smell that it develops. It only lasts a few days, even a few hours…

Favorite meal?
The pastry that makes the reputation of the famous Angelina shop in Paris, the Mont-Blanc, the signature of Angelina: Meringue, whipped cream, chestnut cream vermicelli. I love the contrasted textured of this dessert who is also full of history because it reminds me very much of my grandmother. We used to spend hours together in this salon de thé discussing and eating this pastry.

What’s something you’ve always wanted to learn to do?
I would have loved to be a musician. It’s a bit what I try to do in perfumery, take people on an emotional journey. Nothing transport people as much as fragrances or music.

Do you have a secret talent?
A loving mother with 4 kids!

Jun

Lifetime Achievement Perfumer: Dominique Ropion

Lifetime Achievement Perfumer: Dominique Ropion Portrait by Michael Avedon
What The Nose Knows

Lifetime Achievement Perfumer: Dominique Ropion

Lifetime Achievement Perfumer: Dominique Ropion Portrait by Michael Avedon

Dominique Ropion is known for his gentlemanly flair, his extreme diligence when concocting a juice, and a creative curiosity that knows no bounds. As a perfumer extraordinaire, his countless triumphs have included Ysatis and Amarige by Givenchy, La Vie est Belle by Lancôme, Alien by Thierry Mugler, Invictus by Paco Rabanne, and Portrait of a Lady and Carnal Flower for Frédéric Malle.


Ropion was exposed to the world of perfume at a young age. Both his mother and grandfather worked for the French fragrance house Roure, and, as a teenager, he worked there as a lab assistant. Still today he recalls, “I did not think I would ever be a perfumer,” so he went to study physics instead. As fragrance history would have it a last-minute spot opened up at the Roure school, and he decided to explore the opportunity. “I loved mathematics and science,” he explains, “but I loved much more the aesthetic side of the world. I always loved to smell, even when I was a child. I would smell everything. So in fact it was very natural for me to become a perfumer in the end.” Reading his eloquent book, smelling his exquisite creations, one cannot imagine Ropion being anything else. His passion and drive for understanding the nuances of aroma and emotion, and the many ways that thoughts and desires can be translated into a beautiful scent are what drives him. As he writes in Aphorisms of a Perfumer, “A perfume contains endless combinations with the power to rouse the most diverse sensibilities, since it is always clothed in its wearers dreams.”

How does it feel to receive this award from The Fragrance Foundation?
It is a great honor. It’s incredible. For me, my career is not finished at all, but it is a great culmination of all that I have done. It’s like a dream. An American dream!

From whom have you learned the most in your career?
The perfumery school at Roure was an excellent school, and it’s very important for, perfumers to have exceptional training. Just like it’s important for a doctor to go to a good university. After I finished school, I worked with master perfumer Jean-Louis Sieuzac for ten years. But for me, I learned the most from all the great perfumes. Shalimar for example was a master. The study of Shalimar and many other masterpieces for me was very important, it taught me a great deal.

You write about fragrance as a language. What does that mean to you?
Perfume is a kind of message. An aesthetic message. Perfume can touch you very deeply and very emotionally. And you can express yourself by wearing a perfume. It can be a part of your identity or a part of your own personality. When you decide to wear a perfume, it becomes a part of you. And when you wear it, you’re saying something to others.

How do you describe your style as a perfumer?
It is much easier for me to describe the style of other perfumers than it is for me to describe my own. But I’ve worked in every type of family in perfumery – it could be very oriental, it could be Middle Eastern, it could be very floral, anything. I like to work in all these ways. But how to define my style? I don’t know. I try to be very direct. If I’m working on a cologne, I want it to be very direct, very clear, and I would want the same thing if I were working on an oriental or anything else.

You’re known for being extremely diligent. What is the process of creation like for you?
A perfume is the result of two or three things. First of all, you have to work diligently to create a perfect composition, with a powerful message. That is basic. Just like a pianist has to know very well how to play before they can create music. So as a perfumer you must know the technique. You must know the accords, the families of the raw materials, all of the classic elements. These are your tools. If you have an idea but you don’t have the tools, you can’t make something good. Then of course creativity is very important. What is creativity? I don’t think it is easy to define, but I do know that you have to be very curious. And you have to listen to people, and be able to feel the atmosphere of the time and pulse of the world. It’s this type of mixture. It’s also a process that can take many, many trials. You can be very conceptual at the beginning. You can say, I want to make something in the spirit of Shalimar, for instance, but very modern and with a very important green effect. So that’s your direction of work and then you see what happens.

How do you know when you’ve finished? Is it instinctual?
Often there is a deadline, which is what tells you to finish. But you are never finished, in a way. Because so many directions are always possible. I’m finished when the customer tells me that they want to put that formula in the bottle. If it was up to me, I could continue forever.

Which fragrances that you’ve created are you particularly proud of?
When I created my first fragrance, I was very young. It was Givenchy Ysatis, and it was a big success. I was very surprised. I was initially surprised to have been chosen by Givenchy, and then I was very surprised that it was a big success. I am also very proud that it was liked by other perfumers, which was nice to hear and to have that respect. Of course, some perfumes are more important in the story of perfumery, but I love them all. They’re all a part of my personal history.

What gives a perfume that iconic timelessness?
There is no exact science to timelessness for me, but I do know what makes a good perfume. A good perfume is one that you can recognize immediately. You can distinguish it from all other perfumes. It’s as clear as that. You may like it or not like it, but you know it either way, like if you can say, ‘Oh, that’s Chanel No. 5..’ If you can recognize it immediately, it’s a great perfume. There are many perfumes like that, that make a statement. And those are the perfumes that will stay around forever.

You work with young perfumers – how do you recognize and nurture young talent?
It’s difficult to recognize. You can learn very well how to compose a perfume, and know the technique very well. That’s 90 percent of the creation. And we don’t know why one perfumer will do something very special while another perfumer with exactly the same training will do something else. The determination and the motivation and focus are all very important. But to know who will be the next perfumer who will create the next Chanel No. 5? This you can never predict. I’m very involved in the curriculum we developed to train our future perfumers, and have personally mentored several of them, and must say I’m particularly proud of seeing them develop and blossom, and already create market successes.

You have been called the Master of Flowers. How do floral notes continue to inspire and surprise you?
All flowers are very complex formulas that I am fascinated to analyze each time I smell one. When you analyze the smell of the flower, you begin to understand it’s a formula. One of the most incredible formulas in the world because it’s one where nature is the perfumer and the perfumer becomes the student. And you can use some elements that you’ve learned from nature and transpose that into your creation. For example, with Carnal Flower, tuberose absolute is of course very important, but around it is a lot of accords that I learned from analyzing other flowers. Compared to woods, a flower has an incredible complexity of molecules, which is of so much value to a composer.

What is your favorite smell in the world?
That is very interesting question. I love the smell of rose, and tuberose. I love the smell of florals because some of them to me, such as jasmine, are like primary colors. Then there are other things. I love the smell of skin – that’s the smell of life. I love the smell of the sea, when you take a walk along the beach and you smell the salt and the air together, that complexity. And I’m going to say something surprising, but I love the smell of the city, particularly Paris, including the multiple scents you can discover in the Paris underground. But for me, everything is inspirational and I don’t have one single favorite.

You’ve written that even terrible smells can be wonderful.
Exactly. Even smells in a farm can be wonderful and amazing. For example, where the cows are, there is a beautiful smell. It’s strong, it’s heavy, but it’s very interesting and you instinctively know it forever. Of course, it’s not the kind of smell that you would want to wear. I love the smell of the cow, and I love the smell of the rose—but I would prefer to wear the rose.

May

Perfumers’ Q&A

What The Nose Knows

Perfumers’ Q&A

RODRIGO FLORES-ROUX, GIVAUDAN

If you could use one word to describe the power of fragrance, what would it be?
Omnipotent.

Best advice you’ve been given?
In perfumery, never trust the first accord. In life in general, patience attains everything.

What’s the biggest change you’d like to see in the perfumery industry?
Overall, our industry underates the power and value of time. Time is a priceless commodity, and as they say, Rome wasn’t built in one day. It would be so wonderful to literally “stop and smell the roses” and take our time to reflect and create. The final product would be soooo much better!

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I pride myself in being a good friend, so having many great friends makes me immensely happy. I deeply treasure my friendships. They are such great gifts, such great privileges.

What’s one thing that everyone should try in their lifetime?
I’m Mexican, so I must answer: eating INSECTS.


ANNE FLIPO, IFF

If you could render a book, song, or work of art in fragrance, what would it be and what would it smell like?
It would be Bach Saint Matthew Passion “O mensch bewein dein Sünde gross.” The bucolic and celestial evocation of this Bach masterpiece, a divine tribute to mankind: the open field, the insects buzzing, the scents of fresh grass and air rustling, the voices of happy people in it.

Favorite non-perfume smell?
Wild lily of the valley: so fresh, direct, complex, vibrant, rich, good. Every year it’s a rebirth.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Learning to breathe… I’ve learned to take advantage of life, to truly master my destiny and everything I enjoy.

Favorite travel destination?
New York, where I feel at home.

What is your favorite meal, and where?
Veal kidneys at home.


NATHALIE LORSON, FIRMENICH

Favorite non-perfume smell?
Cut grass or Christmas pine trees.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
My children.

Favorite travel destination?
The Polynesian islands.

If you could use one word to describe the power of fragrance, what would it be?
A journey of addiction.

Best advice you’ve been given?
To enjoy life.  To truly profit from everything that life has to offer.

Apr

Perfumers’ Q&A

What The Nose Knows

Perfumers’ Q&A

JEROME EPINETTE, ROBERTET

The three qualities that got you where you are today are:
Passion, curiosity, humility.

What’s the biggest change you’d like to see in the perfume industry?
More creation and less consumer tests.

What is one thing you learned at school that you still use today?
I learned the most important thing: The perfume organ (hundreds of natural and synthetic ingredients).

If you could use one word to describe the power of fragrance, what would it be?
Magic! Perfume is an extraordinary tool to make you dream and to make you feel good. Fragrance is able to reach emotions you have deep inside.

What are you working on mastering?
I am working on creating with a limited numbers of ingredients, and also bringing an element of surprise to each of my fragrances.


STEPHEN NILSEN, GIVAUDAN

If you could render a book, song, or work of art in fragrance, what would it be and what would it smell like?
I just finished reading David Foster-Wallace’s quintessential meta-modern novel Infinite Jest and I would love to create a fragrance as prescient as this 20 year old novel. I imagine it to be an abstract, pheromone-like scent that is musky and nearly animalic with passively diffusive notes representing the humanity of every individual voice in the crowd.

Favorite non-perfume smell?
The smell of dry shower tiles in the morning with the first condensation from the hot steam. It is a subtle and evanescent scent that I probably love because it is tied up in that nearly euphoric half-dream state between sleep and coffee.

Best advice you’ve been given?
I was trained in perfumery by the AMAZING Calice Becker, and she told me that in order to become a perfumer I would need to learn to lose 99 times before I could learn to win once.

What’s your guilty pleasure?
Knitting!

What are you working on mastering?
…please see guilty pleasure!


CHRISTELLE LAPRADE, SYMRISE

If you could render a book, song, or work of art in fragrance, what would it be and what would it smell like?
Bird in Space by Constantin Brâncusi would be my choice. Everything about it expresses movement through minimalist lines. It’s a mix of purity, balance, simplicity. Powerful yet delicate. My rendition of it would be as minimalist as possible, built around one star ingredient: Symrise’s high impact captive Amberwood note.

Favorite non-perfume smell?
The smell of my children’s skin when they were babies.

What’s your idea of perfect happiness?
Perfect happiness can take many different shapes and forms but it’s fleeting. That’s what makes it so precious. The key is to recognize it when you see it.

The three qualities that got you where you are today:
Passion, focus and resilience.

What’s your guilty pleasure?
CHOCOLATE. I have to have it every day!

Mar

Perfumers’ Q&A

What The Nose Knows

Perfumers’ Q&A

ALBERTO MORILLAS, FIRMENICH

What is your favorite non-perfume smell?
The smell of the Mediterranean Sea.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Acqua di Gio. I was born in Seville, Spain, where we dreamed of the sea all summer long–its freshness and great, untamed force. I wanted to bring this to life in a scent. I’m proud that Acqua di Gio has remained popular around the world since its launch in 1996, and is now successful with a new generation.

What is your favorite travel destination?
London for creation and Seville for emotion.

If you could use one word to describe the power of fragrance, what would it be?
Emotion!

If you could tell the world anything about fragrance, what would it be?
When we wear a scent, we succumb to its spell. A fragrance that stands the test of time is recognizable and appreciated everywhere, across both hot and cold climates. It must create a deep emotional connection to the person who wears it.


LINDA SONG, GIVAUDAN

If you could render a book, song, or work of art in fragrance, what would it be and what would it smell like?
In The Mood For Love, the film by Wong Kar-Wai. The beauty of the film comes from its subtlety and unspoken meaning. The fragrance should be the same in translating the images and music into heartbreakingly beautiful olfactive emotions.

Favorite non-perfume smell?
My mother’s cooking. The smells of both savory and sweet of Korean cuisine take me home.

The three qualities that got you where you are today?
Curiosity, determination, and enthusiasm.

Favorite travel destination?
Wherever I’m going next. Cape Town holds a special place in my heart, and I was humbled at a recent trip to the incredible city of Petra. Currently planning a trip to the American southwest and hiking in the Swiss Alps.

What’s one thing everyone should try in their lifetime?
Jumping off the proverbial cliff. People are more capable than they think they are and just need to face the fear and try it.


RALF SCHWIEGER, MANE

If you could render a book, song, or work of art in fragrance, what would it be and what would it smell like?
James Purdy, wrote a book called Narrow Rooms which has haunted me since I first read it in the 80’s. It is a sultry, passionate, somewhat violent story which takes place in the southern United States. The fragrance would smell like longing, and the sublimation of the human experience, from blood, grease and tears. Lots of indole!

Favorite non-perfume smell?
The human body…so many nooks and crannies to explore.

The three qualities that got you where you are today:
I’ll give you six: Chance, creativity, curiosity, happiness, humility, humor.

What is one thing you learned at school that you still use today?
To cope with boredom.

If you could use one word to describe the power of fragrance, what would it be?
Transfiguration

Feb

Perfumers’ Q&A

What The Nose Knows

Perfumers’ Q&A

Carlos Benaim, IFF

If you could render a book, song, or work of art in fragrance, what would it be and what would it smell like?
It would be a Rothko painting. I would convey the simplicity and transparency of the superimposed colors through a combination of highest quality ingredients to represent each layer.

Favorite non-perfume smell?
The smell of tobacco as it reminds me of my father. He would come home in the evening with his hands impregnated with the essence of pennyroyal mint, and yellowed by his cigarettes, “Craven A”, a British blend of blond tobacco. To me, this combination is more evocative of him than his real portrait.

What’s your idea of perfect happiness?
“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” I was reminded of this quote by Ghandi during an incredible recent trip to India.

The three qualities that got you where you are today are:
Curiosity, tenacity and humility.

What is one thing you learned at school that you still use today?
What I learned is a way of thinking, organizing your thoughts – a rational approach to problem-solving. This is something that has been useful throughout my life.


Honorine Blanc, Firmenich

If you could render a book, song, or work of art in fragrance, what would it be and what would it smell like?
It would be one of Gerhard Richter’s abstract paintings: a blend of purity, simplicity and technique. For my fragrance, I would choose natural ingredients and Firmenich’s Captive molecules to create a new abstract and addictive olfactive texture. The structure of this formula would maintain certain artistic qualities such as simplicity and purity.

What’s your idea of perfect happiness?
Perfect happiness is being emotionally content – having the feeling of floating. It’s not about tension or full satisfaction; it’s about letting go.

Best advice you’ve been given?
Follow your heart; trust your instincts; never give up.

What are the three qualities that got you where you are today?
My curiosity and hunger for learning, an ability to focus, and the quality of my relationships.

Favorite travel destination:
Being on a sailboat anywhere.


Shyamala Maisondieu, Givaudan

If you could render a book, song, or work of art in fragrance, what would it be and what would it smell like?
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. It would smell of patchouli and vetiver with some green lentisque notes on top and a lot of black pepper.

Favorite non-perfume smell?
The smell of home especially after I’ve been away for a while…a mixture of white flowers, my spicy Malaysian cooking and incense.

The three qualities that got you where you are today are:
Patience, persistence, and curiosity.

If you could use one word to describe the power of fragrance, what would it be?
Attraction.

If you could tell the world anything about fragrance, what would it be?
Nature is precious and if we don’t take care or respect nature, it would make our world a less fragrant place to live in.

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