Nov

FIT NOTABLE GRADUATES

FIT NOTABLE GRADUATES
What The Nose Knows

FIT NOTABLE GRADUATES

FIT NOTABLE GRADUATES

Malinda Appel – Senior Director of Product Development, NEST FRAGRANCES

What did you find to be most rewarding about the program?

The most rewarding benefit of being a CFM student was the life-long friendships I have with other graduates of the program. Over ten years later we still love using our senses to cook delicious meals together.  We celebrate our life milestones and, as we grow in our professions, we are one another’s cheerleaders – even when Finalists for the same Fragrance Foundation Award!  

What was the most important thing you learned?

Professor Bonofiglio provided the most helpful tips on how to begin a career in this industry.  We were encouraged to get involved while we studied through volunteering, interning, or working behind the counter. By doing so we could see in real time what we were learning in the classroom.  Professor Bonofiglio also stressed how important it was to make positive connections within the industry. This advice helped me successfully proceed with an ambitious opportunity received upon graduation.

How has your education at FIT helped you in your career?

My education at FIT allowed me to make career connections while I was obtaining my CFM undergraduate degree.  As a student, I was already hands-on exploring different areas of the industry, ultimately recognizing my passion for product development.  I was able to take on a targeted approach to my career directly stemming from my experiences as a student.

Gayathri Balasundar – Director of Marketing, Takasago

What did you find to be most rewarding about the program?

The content and rhythm of the FIT program is incredible because of it’s community – the FIT community is generous.  From the professors and mentors to my immediate cohort and the extended alumni network and even the overseas partners – Everyone is very giving with sharing their knowledge, experiences and offering their support.  It’s the gift that just keeps giving!

 
What was the most important thing you learned?

In the world of cosmetics and fragrance, there are so many stories and stats embedded into every brand, person and product that it is important to stay open minded.  The most important thing I learned was to listen to all perspectives and challenge the status quo with empathy to move the industry forward. Today many of our alumni take this invaluable lesson to question what stories are being told in our products and what perspectives are represented around the table. 

 How has your education at FIT helped you in your career? 

Through my work ethic, education, and community, I have held key roles at several amazing companies. Over the years, I found clarity in articulating my strengths and value.  I gained the courage to leverage my inclusive spirit and own my cross-cultural background to highlight and amplify diverse voices in my work. Above all, I take the same support and strength that has been given to me by the FIT community and channel it towards those I mentor & coach.

Simone Bolotin – Senior Director, Influencer Marketing and Public Relations (US), Coty Luxury

What did you find to be most rewarding about the program?

Learning from and collaborating with those who had experiences different from my own. What is unique about the program is that you learn as much, if not more, from your peers and classmates, as you do from your professors and guest lecturers. As a communications professional who tends to work most closely with other Marketing and PR pros, it was fascinating to work on group projects with classmates from backgrounds spanning HR to product development, who provided insights and perspectives that I never would have considered otherwise. The two field studies programs in Europe and Asia also provided invaluable perspectives on other cultures and shopping habits that opened my mind to new ideas.

What was the most important thing you learned?

 The value of collaboration and teamwork. Since much of the coursework in the FIT program includes group projects, I was forced to rely on classmates to deliver work essential to our collective success, relinquishing the control I was used to in my professional role. The outcome was undoubtedly improved as a result, and allowed each team member to shine and take pride in their individual contributions. As my management responsibilities have continued to grow following graduation, I have endeavored to instill this collaborative spirit and sense of pride in my team at Coty, with a mindset rooted in trust, accountability and recognition. 

How has your education at FIT helped you in your career? 

 Having a more holistic understanding of all of the aspects of the beauty and fragrance business helps me to have a more well-rounded perspective. When I talk to the perfumers creating our fragrances or the sales teams negotiating shelf space with our retailers, I am able to better understand the ways in which their roles are essential to the overall business, and how I can take a more integrated approach in my own work. The network I built with my classmates at FIT has also been incredibly beneficial, with a solid support system of industry rock stars that I am now lucky to call lifelong friends.

Sophia Gillio –  Director of Sales and Specialty Business Category, MANE

What did you find to be most rewarding about the program?

The most rewarding part of the FIT CFMM Master’s Program was the ability to make lasting connections with some of the industry’s most talented people.  I like to think about my time in the program as the ultimate meeting of the minds – an all access pass to collaborate, challenge, and learn from beauty industry peers, senior executives, professors, and beyond in a way that transcends the normal limitations of corporate culture and boundaries.

What was the most important thing you learned?

The most important thing I learned is that an open mind paired with the diversity of thought and experiences of others can be transformative to growth – as an individual or as a corporation. In the CFMM Master’s program, we gained exposure to diversity of thought not only from our cohort of beauty industry executives, but from countless people around the globe through our travels to Europe and Asia. In corporate culture, I think there is often a tendency to stay hyper-focused on one’s job, one’s company, one’s industry; however, the ability and confidence to leverage the strengths and knowledge of people with different experiences, backgrounds, skillsets, and cultures opens the door to the possibility of exponential growth.   

How has your education at FIT helped you in your career? 

The depth of research we conducted in certain areas has proven beneficial to my ability to add value back to my current company and beyond.  I have a profound interest in what is next for beauty and fragrance + tech, and our culminating Capstone presentation, Beauty and Technology, laid the foundation to my knowledge of tech’s impact on human identity and societal evolution.  We are at a pivotal moment in time where our opportunity to impact the digital world in an inherently physical business is unprecedented through the metaverse and what it means for our businesses and user experiences.  I look forward to spending more time building in this space!

Kaleigh Prokop – Perfumer, MANE

What did you find to be most rewarding about the program?
My FIT experience created lifelong friends, both personally and professionally.   These connections enhanced my in-person experience with a chance to learn from others’ knowledge and points of view.  With its unique focus on the beauty industry, I was able to blend my real-life with work-related projects, and push me personally into new rewarding experiences. 
 
What was the most important thing you learned?
The most important thing I learned from the program is that I can turn my passion into a career.  On the first day of History of Beauty class I learned that Perfumery was an actual career.  That class changed my life, I knew immediately what path I wanted to take!  I now have the unique opportunity to create fragrances that consumers attribute to their best olfactive memories. 
 
How has your education at FIT helped you in your career? 
I was able to secure an internship after meeting a perfumer at an event that I accompanied with FIT Professor, Virginia Bonofiglio.  That internship opened the door to my future and created opportunities that led to my lifelong career.  I started as a perfumer’s assistant, which led to my apprenticeship learning in house perfumery with a leading fragrance house.  My success can be traced to the opportunities created by my experience at FIT.

Tracy Taylor – Associate Director, Consumer Insights, Firmenich

What did you find to be most rewarding about the program?
 Walking off the stage at capstone after delivering our industry presentation!
 
What was the most important thing you learned?
 With determination and humility, almost anything is learnable. From a career standpoint, it was a true gift to be surrounded by so many other industry professionals. I was vicariously exposed to such a diverse range of roles, departments and companies, without ever leaving the classroom. The exchange of experiences with other students will always be one of the most valuable aspects of the program for me.
 
How has your education at FIT helped you in your career? 
The CFMM program helped me see beyond the specifics of my role, enabling me to grasp broader industry dynamics that impact fragrance development and our clients. I LOVED the freedom to explore new topics, ideas and business challenges, beyond my usual scope of work. I emerged feeling more confident making strategic decisions and guiding my internal and external partners. Additionally, after completing the program, I feel more integrated within the fragrance community as a whole.

Sep

PERFUMERS’ SPOTLIGHT

What The Nose Knows

PERFUMERS’ SPOTLIGHT

September 2021

Fanny Bal, IFF

Did you always dream of being a perfumer, or did you begin another career path or study path first?

I was supposed to become “an engineer like everyone else,” but I was looking for passion and thrills. My goal was for my life to be stimulating: I wanted to have a job that I loved because getting up every day to exercise a profession I didn’t enjoy just wasn’t an option. When I found out about the Isipca program and the profession of perfumer, which would consist of creating perfumes that people would wear, and realized that I might find myself recognizing in the street a perfume that I had created. I thought that had a certain magic to it, and that if my job were such, every day would be different from the day before and the day after. And so it would truly be a job that I’d love. I took the plunge while my parents, who were unfamiliar with the profession and concerned about the small number of job opportunities, watched in amazement. Their fears were legitimate, for the exams are notoriously difficult and it is a path strewn with obstacles: Until the very last moment, you don’t know how it’s going to turn out. So I did have my doubts!

What do you believe that your experiences or studies outside of perfumery have brought to your work as a perfumer?

I think having studied chemistry provided me with a very good skeleton for the precision and the rigor required to be a perfumer. Also, I love pastries; I love making pastries myself and visiting luxury pastry shops. I draw quite a lot of inspiration from pastries; they are behind my Santal Pistache and Nutella Fumé accords. What I love is that you have to follow the recipe to the letter. It takes a lot of rigor and a touch of creativity, as in our perfume craft. Making pastries is precision work. Pastry is about self-indulgence, addiction, a sweet tooth. I like to explore addiction in perfume, the sugary addiction that has characterized perfume for almost 20 years now. My latest collaboration with pastry chef Nicolas Bernardé, to create a candle and a collection of “pâtes de fruits” with LMR perfumery naturals, was a fantastic source of inspiration, a great creative playground!

Who have been your greatest career role models?

Dominique Ropion, of course! Dominique offered me a technical apprenticeship and was the perfumer figure who materialized the profession I wanted to pursue. When I started my training, of course I wanted to be a perfumer, to create perfumes; but I didn’t exactly know what that entailed. Working with him, seeing all that rigor and precision, made me understand. A perfumer has an artistic, creative side, of course. But they are not people who have their head in the clouds, who simply improvise and follow their inspiration, doing pretty much what they like, creating perfumes as if by magic. No, there’s a real rigor, and that’s what inspired me. It’s that tension, that contrast between the artistic side and the very rigorous side, that dialogue between the two, that appeals to me.

Jessica Reichert, Robertet

 Did you always dream of being a perfumer, or did you begin another career path or study path first?

The first career that I ever wanted was to be an actor, but many of the schools that I had applied to had very competitive programs which I did not get into, and I studied art history instead. I was hoping to get an opportunity in the city focusing on art while working in the lab as a fragrance compounder for Premier Specialties. Premier was considering hiring another perfumer and being that both my parents were perfumers, they had asked if I wanted to be trained. I had my doubts because the majority of the perfumers I knew were men, and I didn’t want people to think I only had the opportunity because of nepotism rather than earning it. Ted Barba, who would be the one to train me, was consulting for Premier at the time, and I told him my concerns and thought it would be better if I continued pursuing a career in the arts, to which he asked, “You don’t think creating fragrance is an art?”  It was that question that made me want to be trained, which was not easy by any means, but now, I do feel that I create art, which has become one of the most beautiful and fulfilling things about my life.

What do you believe that your experiences or studies outside of perfumery have brought to your work as a perfumer?

Something that is very special is that I have been able to travel to many different places around the world, with achieving the goal to travel to 30 countries before I turned thirty. It gave me the chance to be exposed to different foods, music, art, the way people live and to explore nature. It has been wonderful to capture those moments by creating fragrances based on the deserts in Morocco, the beaches in Brazil and even the tea plantations in Sri Lanka. One other facet of my life that I feel is very important is being part of the LGTBQ+ community. When the pandemic happened, it was a blessing for me, giving me time to focus on myself and have the courage to not lie about who I was, and come out as queer and non-binary. It has been so rewarding as I can see a difference in myself and my work now that I feel I can be authentic, and I am fortunate to be surrounded by people that make me feel valued and accepted

Who have been your greatest career role models?

Besides the obvious of my parents, Odila Zocca and Tony Reichert and my mentor Ted, my greatest role model is Cecile Hua. She has had a very successful career as a perfumer and had to work harder than most people to get into this industry. I have had the privilege to work with her on the American Society of Perfumers Board and be part of a panel with her for the Women in Flavor and Fragrance Commerce, where we discussed the importance of Diversity in perfumery. She is extremely graceful and honest about what she feels is important for being a perfumer and has helped me so much. I am extremely  lucky to have gotten to know her and feel that I can call her a friend.

Christine Hassan, Givaudan 

Did you always dream of being a perfumer, or did you begin another career path or study path first?

Although I didn’t know the word “perfumer”, I recognized early on that I wanted to work with fragrance. Smell has always been an integral part of my identity and how I interact with the world around me–the first job I can remember wanting was to become a florist; my favorite lab in high school was synthesizing scented molecules. Apparently, I even told my best friend that I would make her a wedding fragrance when we were kids…and a year ago, I did!

It was eventually through an internship with Givaudan that I first learned about ISIPCA and the job of a perfumer.

What do you believe that your experiences or studies outside of perfumery have brought to your work as a perfumer?

Along with Biochemistry, I studied Fine Arts in college, specializing in sculpture and cinematography. That training taught me how to fully immerse myself in the creative process. Designing a fragrance is like any art, you must understand the history of your craft and the fundamental methods and materials in order to develop your own style. I also learned vulnerability. You need to be vulnerable in order to put your heart into your craft. 

Who have been your greatest career role models?

My greatest role model in life has always been my mom. She left France for the US at the age of 20 (this was back when making international phone calls were a rarity), knowing very little English and having no family in the states, to work for the UN, where she felt she could help impact the world in a more positive way. 

I like to think that I followed her fearless example, with that sense of adventure and curiosity guiding my career. I have particularly enjoyed the multi-cultural experiences that have fed my creative spirit. I have also found a strong sense of purpose as a perfumer, being able to touch people’s lives with the beauty and magic of scent.

May

PERFUME EXTRAORDINAIRE: PERFUME FINALISTS Q&A

PERFUME EXTRAORDINAIRE: PERFUME FINALISTS Q&A
What The Nose Knows

PERFUME EXTRAORDINAIRE: PERFUME FINALISTS Q&A

PERFUME EXTRAORDINAIRE: PERFUME FINALISTS Q&A

May 2021

Ralf Schwieger, MANE

Bukhara by Gallivant

What were the inspirations you drew upon when creating Bukhara?

Bukhara is a city on the Silk Road with a long history of culture and trade. The scent is dedicated to the majesty of the orris flower: the vast dark blue skies, arid landscape and architectural elements like the vibrant tiles used to decorate the mosques stand in for the colors of the flower, and spices representing the ancient trade are woven into a radiant latticework.

How do you want someone to feel when they smell the scent?

Elegance and transparency are two lodestars ruling my work –  I dislike heavy and cloying fragrances and those where you only smell single raw materials in the trail. I hope that I somewhat accomplished that mission if the person who wears the fragrance  feels the luminosity I tried to infuse in this scent.  

What does it mean to you to be nominated for Perfume Extraordinaire?

The Perfume Extraordinaire is chosen by an industry panel of experts – perfumers, evaluators and marketers who criticize, praise and judge scents on a daily basis. The fact that Bukhara made it to the finalists’ stage fills me with joy, knowing that only the scent and not the brand or packaging determined the choice.

Florie Tanquerel, Cosmo International Fragrance

Garden of Grace 

What was your starting point for Garden of Grace ?

When I received the brief from Sarah Horowitz, you can only imagine how excited I was! We worked closely with her to make her vision come to life in creating the smell of the “perfect rose” grown in the Rose Grace Farm located in Santa Inez, California. Growing up in the South of France, close to Grasse, the kingdom of the Rose Centifolia, I have a very special connection to the scent of roses.  This was my starting point in creating Garden of Grace.

 What specific effects did you want to achieve with this scent?

I knew I wanted to use our exclusive natural ingredient, the Rose Craftivity®, which is extracted through a green process in our plant in the South of France. This ingredient really captures the purest and most natural impression of a rose field in full bloom. I wanted to reflect a mix of modernity and sophistication while revealing the petally texture and pastel colors exclusive to the roses of Grace Rose Farm, so I combined other fluffy floral notes such as peony and Moroccan orris. Inspired by the California landscapes,  I also incorporated fresh marine notes and fruity vineyard grapes while rounding out the fragrance with a bit of soft cashmere woods and musk.

 What does it mean to you to be nominated for Perfume Extraordinaire?

All I can say is…Wow! Cosmo International Fragrances and I are very proud and more than happy to have been picked among the other amazing fragrances by the industry.  For me, it means that we have accomplished great success with this fragrance.  It is already a true honor for us to be nominated this year and it really was a great collaborative effort across the globe, from Miami, Los Angeles to the South of France!

Alberto Morillas, Firmenich

Gucci The Alchemist’s Garden Hortus Sanitatis 

What is unique about your collaboration process with Alessandro Michele?

Each time I get to work with Alessandro Michele, he seems to bring out a new facet of my own personality, or a curiosity that I didn’t know existed. He’s a fascinating individual, with a totally unique vision, and he has a way of bringing you into his world, so that you become part of the tapestry of what he’s building. I’ve had the pleasure of co-creating with Alessandro since 2017, and during this time we’ve collaborated on nearly thirty different Gucci fragrances. Ultimately, we’ve developed our own unique ‘language’ and way of communicating. It’s a very special and direct relationship that exists between myself and Mr. Michele, and it’s important that I understand his perspective so that I can create fragrances that mirror his aesthetic and the vision he has for the brand.  There is a certain amount of trust between us, and I have a keen sense of Alessandro’s expectations even before I begin developing usually. Mr. Michele knows exactly what he likes, and subsequently what he doesn’t like, and his feedback is invaluable to me during the process of formula creation. We are very in-tune with each other, and the chemistry between us at a creative level is one of the most fulfilling and enjoyable parts of working with him.

What were the inspirations behind Hortus Sanitatis?

Hortus Sanitatis, which is the Latin name for ‘Garden of Health’, is named after one of the first natural history encyclopedias published in the 15th century. Interestingly, Gucci had already published a tome under the same name with English photographer Derek Ridgers, who shot their Pre-Fall 2017 collection. This collection (and specific fragrance) was inspired by the art of alchemy and the concept of layering, to be able to customize fragrance combinations to create an utterly unique and personalized scent. I used notes of premium quality papyrus and cedarwood to showcase timeless elegance, imbued with a smoky quality. During the creation process of Hortus Sanitatis, I imagined rows of old glass flacons sitting on the wooden shelves of an antique apothecary, with recently brewed strange and mythical fumes wafting throughout the space. There’s a rare strand of intoxicating darkness that runs through this perfume, with musky undertones that remind me of journeying to a pool of undiscovered water in a remote cave, the ebb and flow of waves marrying the essence of life and freshness with depth and shadows.

 What does it mean to you to be nominated for Perfume Extraordinaire?

I’m truly honored to be a nominee. This award is one of the most coveted and renowned for perfumers worldwide. I feel extremely privileged to be in the company of many other esteemed perfumers, and humbled that my life’s work is recognized as a distinguished body of thoughtful fragrances. Ultimately, the greatest pleasure I take is knowing that for every perfume I’ve crafted, I’ve imparted a bit of my soul into the creation, and I’m able to touch the hearts and minds of millions of people in this way.

Philippe Paparella, Symrise

Memo Retba 

How did you translate the idea of Lake Retba into scent?

Retba was initially intended for the Middle East market. My primary idea was to play with an addictive amber and stay away from the Rose/Oud cliché. I started with an accord made of our Ambre 84 DeLaire base, Vanilla Absolute from Madagascar, and some red fruit notes as a reference to the Lake’s colors. Then I facetted this accord with spices (Cardamom, Pink Pepper, Ginger & Cinnamon from Madagascar) and woods to bring more sophistication. The result is an opulent ambery scent.

What emotions would you like the fragrance to evoke?

I want Retba to intrigue the consumer and take them to remote places. I like this quote from Yves Saint Laurent, who once said:  “I use my imagination to conjure up countries I don’t know. I hate to travel. For example, if I read a book about the Indies with photos or about Egypt, where I’ve never been, my imagination takes me there. That’s how I take my best trips.” As most of us have been unable to travel due to Covid-19, I’d like to think that this creation can transport us somewhere else with the strong evocative power of fragrances. And that’s what Memo is about.

What does it mean to you to be nominated for Perfume Extraordinaire?

I have always admired Dave Apel and Emilie Coppermann’s creativity, so being nominated in the same category as them is such an honor. It would be amazing to follow in their footsteps. Thanks to my colleague Alienor Massenet, I had a chance to fulfill my passion and work in tandem on niche perfumes for Hermetica, Memo, and a few other brands. I owe this nomination to her for being an inspiration and role model over the past few years.

Pascal Gaurin, IFF

Scents of Wood Plum in Cognac 

What effect did you want to achieve with this scent?

Brands are always a reflection of their creators. Scents of Woods reflects Fabrice Croise’s love for nature and uncompromising stand for creativity and luxury.  With Fabrice, we are both astonished by the endless power of trees, these majestic living organisms have been our silent companions since the beginning of humanity. We also share the same fascination for wood as a living material and its infinite transformative power when it interacts with human imagination. Wood as a raw living material has yielded us the most beautiful human creations on earth whether it be a sculpture, an architectural masterpiece, or a luxury fragrance.

Plum in Cognac is at the confluence of my childhood memories and my constant quest for sensuality in perfumery. With this fragrance, my desire was to convey the memories of a voluptuous purple Plum ripe with life, also known as Quetsche d’Alsace, combined with the dense woody and resinous essence escaping from the dark forests of my childhood.

What challenges did you encounter in its creation?

My first challenge was to preserve the woody signature which is at the core of Scents of Wood’s brand DNA while magnifying it with a sensual and decadent element. It’s where this luscious purple Plum enveloped in a thrill of dark Rum comes into play. The decadent blend of this juicy fruit dripping in voluptuous dark Rum brings this deep sensual purple effect to the wood. 

My second challenge came from the brand’s unique creative process, the organic alcohol was aged in a vintage Cognac Barrel. Throughout the creation process, I had to make sure the scent will perfectly marry with this aged alcohol and will reveal all the olfactive complexity of Aged Cognac Wood.  

What does it mean to you to be nominated for Perfume Extraordinaire?

Working on Scents of Wood has been a beautiful journey and it’s especially incredible to see Plum in Cognac nominated in the Perfumer Extraordinaire category only 9 months after the brand was launched. At a time when the number of fragrance launches is hitting a record high, seeing Plum in Cognac being recognized for its creativity and uniqueness is also the most beautiful reward I could have wished for.

Mar

PERFUMER Q&A: FRAGRANCE DAY SPECIAL EDITION

What The Nose Knows

PERFUMER Q&A: FRAGRANCE DAY SPECIAL EDITION

March 2021

Meabh Mc Curtin – IFF

What were your impressions of participating in the 2021 virtual Fragrance Day?

I loved seeing the beautiful time-lapse images of flowers by Louie Schwartzberg. His message of the importance and beauty of nature feels particularly pertinent at this moment. It was also really inspiring to listen to the creative dialogue between brand owners and perfumers. I love how each person’s unique story gets translated into scent through sharing their passion, vision, values and life experiences.

What do flowers represent to you, both personally and as a perfumer?

To me flowers represent the joy of being alive and present. It speaks to our humanity that we respond so strongly to their beauty. Flowers also represent hope – seeing lilac, cherry blossom and daffodils appear in spring makes me feel profoundly happy. As a perfumer, I often feel that my work is to try and unlock the seductive and mysterious codes of flowers. It’s an enriching and humbling exercise; nature has a sophisticated simplicity that is impossible to match.

What are your favorite floral notes to work with, and why?

I love orange flower in particular because I was not familiar with it at all growing up in Ireland. I remember clearly the first time I smelled it.  I was on a boat in Morocco and we sailed past a grove of orange trees. The air was heavy with the smell, and I was mesmerized. Depending on how you work it, it can go from clean and bright to very sensual and hypnotic. I also love gardenia and tuberose. The fleshy sensuality of these flowers reminds me of the fragrances that women were wearing around me as I grew up–I associate them with strong independent women.

Dora Baghriche – Firmenich

What were your impressions of participating in the 2021 virtual Fragrance Day?

It always feels good to share my passion with others. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to talk about our Olfactive Design partnership with Central Saint Martins. We felt so lucky to work with these amazing students to develop some ideas about how fragrance can have a more positive impact on society. For example, I worked on a refreshing, watery, green scent for the Fragrance Ventilator to show how we could alleviate some of the stress in the cities today. There were so many really interesting projects that demonstrated a new path for the use of fragrances in the future.

What do flowers represent to you, both personally and as a perfumer?

Flowers are full of possibilities. They still have many unexplored facets, unchartered territories.

What are your favorite floral notes to work with, and why?

Orange blossom, in all its forms and shapes! Creating a new rose is always an exciting challenge as well. Finally, tuberose, for its milky, solar facet; it’s a note that suits my tastes.

 Dana Schmitt – Givaudan

What were your impressions of participating in the 2021 virtual Fragrance Day?

I really enjoyed the virtual Fragrance Day event! I loved seeing and hearing from people with different perspectives in the industry. It felt like an amazing way to welcome Spring this year, celebrating flowers and the idea that we too will (hopefully) be blooming again sooner rather than later!

What do flowers represent to you, both personally and as a perfumer?

To me, flowers represent love! My fiance likes to spoil me with flowers and it’s just a nice treat that he will surprise me with randomly–it’s his way of showing he loves me. As a perfumer, flowers themselves take me back to my time at the Givaudan Perfumery School. We have a beautiful flower garden that we use to study and perfect our accords. Thinking of almost any specific flower takes me to that beautiful moment in my life where I was focused on learning directly from nature.

What are your favorite floral notes to work with, and why?

I definitely go through phases of favorite notes to work with, but currently my favorite floral notes are in the rose family. I have been playing with some rosy raw materials introduced recently to our palette, and I’m on a quest to create my own personal perfume that is based on a rose. Stay tuned…

Nathalie Benareau – Symrise

What were your impressions of participating in the 2021 virtual Fragrance Day?


I loved that there were so many different conversations and perspectives around perfumery. Having the opportunity to watch other perfumers express themselves was very interesting as I believe perfumery comes from the heart and all perfumers have different sensitivities when creating or even simply when talking about fragrances. I love how emotions play such an important role in our craft.

What do flowers represent to you, both personally and as a perfumer?

I grew up in the countryside so I was surrounded by flowers in my parent’s garden, but also in the nature that surrounded our house. There were beautiful prairies, forests and gardens, and when spring came it was such a pleasure watching nature come to life with colorful blossoms and the heavenly scent of flowers in the air. I vividly remember purple lilacs and their intoxicating scent. As a perfumer, flowers represent femininity but also nature, renewal and life itself. They can add signature to a fragrance and really bring a large spectrum of strong emotions: love, happiness, sensuality, relaxation etc.

What are your favorite floral notes to work with, and why? 


I love muguet, or lily of the valley. Its scent is so delicate; simple yet faceted, pure yet playful and colorful. It can be in the heart of any fragrance and can blend very nicely with many types of floralcy.  It can modernize a rose, harness the animalic facet of a jasmine, add lift to the creaminess of a lactonic note in a white floral…the possibilities are endless.

Catherine Selig – Takasago

What were your impressions of participating in the 2021 virtual Fragrance Day?

Participating in the 2021 virtual Fragrance Day made me feel part of our global fragrance community uniting to bring wellness and joy through the olfactive experience in consumers daily lives

What do flowers represent to you, both personally and as a perfumer? 

I feel a special connection to flowers both personally and as a perfumer. 

For me, each flower is associated  with an emotion, a place and a moment in time. I infuse flowers in my fragrances as vessels of those emotions, I carefully choose each flower for its unique energy and vibration in the composition. 

What are your favorite floral notes to work with, and why?

My favorite floral notes to work with are White flowers. White flowers create a halo of comfort and have the power to make the mind travel in time to various places.


Feb

2021 NOTABLES PERFUMERS: GROUNDED BY SCENT

2021 NOTABLES PERFUMERS: GROUNDED BY SCENT
What The Nose Knows

2021 NOTABLES PERFUMERS: GROUNDED BY SCENT

2021 NOTABLES PERFUMERS: GROUNDED BY SCENT

February 2021

Aurore Mane, Perfumer – MANE

What does being named a 2021 Notable mean to you?

It is a tremendous honor to be recognized by the people I work with and the fragrance industry. As a perfumer, receiving criticism is part of your everyday job. It is always about creating a perfect fragrance, being very critical about your own creations. Receiving this award is a humbling experience, and as a woman in the industry, I feel empowered to be recognized and hopefully I can lead by example for future women for years to come.  

What can you add in value to TFF as a Notable perfumer?

There is a whole process behind the launch of a fragrance and as a perfumer I take pride in being at the heart of it. I want to value fragrances as an experience, and not just another product to be sold to consumers. Fragrance is an emotional journey, a form of art that expresses an idea created with imagination. And as a perfumer I think it is important to showcase more of the essence of fragrances and maybe bring a different vision to it.  

How would you describe your style as a perfumer?

I am not afraid to blend unexpected ingredients and to overdose them. I like to be bold and let my emotions guide my creativity.  Isn’t it how Chanel No. 5 was created? An overdose of aldehydes?

What are your favorite notes to work with?

I love working with woody notes. They are dependable and pliable. Woods can be mysterious, elegant, modern, unexpected, complex, textural and layered. They automatically provide a bottom note to any composition and reinforce other elements depending on their olfactive profile. Woody notes bring depth, dimension, character, texture and sensuality to any fragrance and it is a way to complete a scent and add a signature.

Is there a scent that you have found keeps you grounded and calm?

Any scents that reminds me of my childhood and my home town the south of France. The smell of mimosa flowers in February, jasmine, roses and orange blossom during summer.

The lavender fields and the exquisite smell of my mom’s kitchen. All these scents remind me of very happy times and unforgettable memories that keeps me calm and grounded.

How do you think that our relationship to scent will change once we are out in the world again?

We might have a resurgence to basics once we are out in the world. I think people are going to look for smells that soothe and ground them and bring a sense of nostalgia.

Being on hold for such a long time has stopped people from experiencing life like they used to know. And when we return to a sense of normalcy, I believe people will appreciate and value scents in a transformative way.

What are you most looking forward to this year?

I am really looking forward to traveling again. As a perfumer, I am a very curious person and creating fragrance is very emotional to me. Emotions come from my experiences and interactions with others and my surroundings. This is what drives my creativity. So I am really looking forward to reconnecting with people face to face, and to have drinks or bites with friends in a social setting as opposed to over Zoom calls!!

Mackenzie Reilly, Junior Perfumer – International Flavors & Fragrances

What does being named a 2021 Notable mean to you?

It is an honor, as it signifies being recognized by my peers and colleagues (and the board of TFF), as well as others in the fragrance world.  I am very proud to represent IFF as a Perfumer and as a Notable, and am humbled to be in such great company as the other honorees.

What can you add in value to TFF as a Notable perfumer?

I hope to contribute to the future of the fragrance industry in many ways, including in the discussions we will have about how to take sustainability and respect for the environment to the next level. I know that participating in the TFF Notable Think Tanks will allow for great discussions across company lines and among professionals and creatives in different fields of expertise.  There are not so many perfumers in the group, so I am looking forward to adding that voice and unique perspective into the mix.

How would you describe your style as a perfumer?

My style is constantly evolving, but I am always told my fragrances are very signed.  I like to create sophisticated fragrances, elegant in structure, very qualitative and I am always experimenting with our beautiful palette of natural ingredients from LMR. 

What are your favorite notes to work with?

I love working with clean cedar & amber ingredients, musks, and mineral woody notes.  I also love to work with Orris as I find it extremely versatile, chic, and timeless.  Orange blossom and Jasmine Sambac are two of my favorite florals, and I also love accents of notes like Ambrette seed and Clary Sage absolute, as they can enhance woods, florals and musks so beautifully. 

Is there a scent that you have found keeps you grounded and calm?

Scent in general is very grounding! To smell, you must be extremely focused and present, which is intuitively calming. I have been practicing yoga for 20 years and find that scenting the space creates a grounding and sacred atmosphere. That being said, I do gravitate towards Palo Santo, Olibanum, and Copal for their particularly grounding effects. 

How do you think that our relationship to scent will change once we are out in the world again?

I think this unprecedented period of time has provoked a lot of introspection and awareness about the spaces we live in. Many people have started using, or increased their usage of, scent at home (candles, incense, room sprays) and most likely will continue that practice going forward.  I hope and expect that people will be excited to use perfume more frequently as their favorite accessory once we start going out again and socializing! 

What are you most looking forward to this year?

I am most looking forward to the world finding more stability, people feeling safe and healthy again, the warm weather making it all a bit easier on us, and seeing how we can all take what we have learned from the past year’s challenges into a brighter and kinder future.  And of course, hugs, traveling, and eating once again at our favorite restaurants!

Jan

THE IMPORTANCE OF GLOBAL PERSPECTIVES: SHYAMALA MAISONDIEU & LOC DONG

What The Nose Knows

THE IMPORTANCE OF GLOBAL PERSPECTIVES: SHYAMALA MAISONDIEU & LOC DONG

January 2021

SHYAMALA MAISONDIEU, GIVAUDAN

What initially drew you to perfumery?

I chanced into the perfumery world more by a haphazard coincidence as this job wasn’t known to me, however I had always been intrigued by smells unconsciously; growing up in Malaysia, I was surrounded by a rich array of flowers and spices. It was my chemical engineering studies which landed me this job, and an interview with Dwight Loren who introduced me to the wonders and beauty of this job.

How did growing up in Malaysia impact your global perspective and work as a perfumer?

I grew up in Malaysia and started work (with Givaudan Roure) in Hong Kong after studying in Manchester, England. In Hong Kong I was exposed to the different olfactory tastes of the whole Asian market which was very specific for each country. I also had worked for 8 years with a Japanese company right after Givaudan perfumery school, and before coming back to Givaudan in 2006. I travel a lot to New York for work; and I have relatives in Chicago and Maryland. Malaysia is also a land with a rich history of trade, the spices of that whole region was actually what had prompted the Spanish (Christopher Columbus) and the Portuguese (Magellan) to indulge in that race for the discovery of the east. We had Arab and Chinese merchants coming before that, and we were afterwards colonized by the Portuguese, the Dutch and the English respectively. There are three main distinct cultures in Malaysia, the Indian, the Chinese and the Malays. And there is a tendency in Malaysia of assimilating different cultures and making it our own. I think all this makes me in a way open and curious to different types of cultures, stories, food and odor.

What obstacles did you face along the way?

I must say I have been really blessed, I did face obstacles but there were always solutions.

Paperwork like visas when you come from a country that isn’t well known can be a hassle; but with a big international company like Givaudan, problems like that can be solved. I was also very lucky to be chosen to do the internal Givaudan perfumery school in Grasse at a time when there were less people dreaming to do that job, I must say. We were a very mixed group with students from Singapore, Germany, Switzerland, the United States and France; although I must admit not being able to speak French fluently in the beginning was an obstacle to blend in and feel at ease. In fact I still do misunderstand French humour after all these years.

What do you consider your mission as a perfumer?

I really love my job as a perfumer, and I love talking about my different background and culture.

I love the fact that we live at a time where the whole world is open to different tastes and different smells. The world of food has seen a huge revolution with the fusion of various ingredients from all over the world. In a way this has also helped us I think in the perfumery world to introduce different scents. For me it is a subtle way of bringing people together; making the world smaller in a way, a huge melting pot where differences are appreciated instead of shunned. To be honest I never really thought of my job as a mission, but for me I really love the idea that fragrance is a poetic way of uniting people of different generations and different backgrounds; in the same way as music or food can.

What specific notes or ingredients do you love to work with the most?

I do love various types of smells; I am naturally drawn to things which somehow reminds me of home so I love ginger and nutmeg as spices, ylang ylang and jasmine as florals and benzoin which comes from that region of southeast Asia. But I also love ambrette seeds which somehow reminds me of the freshly made soya milk I used to drink as a kid.

And yet Tonka bean is something that I use a lot even though it has no connection to where I come from.

Why is the The Fragrance Foundation Diversity, Equity & Inclusion initiative important to you based on your experience, and for the future of the fragrance industry?

The fragrance industry is an industry where diversity is an absolute necessity. We are catering to people from all over the world in an era where distances are becoming smaller (virtually and also in terms of time for travel). It is also an industry which promotes beauty and to a certain extent brings poetry to this world; what better way to do it with members from different walks of life. A lot can still be done to encourage people from various backgrounds; through different ways of imparting information and knowledge of how our industry functions. This will surely make our industry a brighter and richer one. Which makes the initiatives of the Fragrance Foundation to promote diversity, equity and inclusion a very meaningful one.

LOC DONG, IFF

Having grown up in a small village outside of Saigon, and originally studying medicine, you had a very unusual path to becoming a perfumer. Can you share your story with us?

I like to think that my path into perfumery isn’t anything out of the ordinary, but more that it is a path and a career that found me versus me having to seek it out. I am a firm believer that for life to have luck and opportunity in it you must be at the right place at the right time. I was just at that right place being in America where you have freedom to be what you want to be with hard work and dedication.
 
How do you think your life experiences impact your work or style as a perfumer?

I believe that everything has a positive angle. Life evolves every second of every day and I take those chances to be creative, to listen, and to encourage others to dream. This year especially we are really focusing on being together and in it collectively, and I want to make sure we stay optimistic and authentic. I always trust that by living life through a hopeful lens, it has helped me to create happy fragrances. I have gratitude every day for being so fortunate to experience a life that includes a dream of impacting someone’s day. 

 
You are one of the first Asian fine fragrance perfumers in the industry. What does that mean to you?

Being multicultural is a blessing. I love that I can share or inform people about my culture and knowledge through my creations.  We must take into consideration different ingredients and different values and always with the utmost respect and understanding. I see a fine fragrance composition as an opportunity for a consumer to discover a new ingredient, to love it, to accept it and to learn about it. I tend to think of being a perfumer as a prospect to create fragrances for everyone in the world to wear and even more importantly, for everyone to LOVE.  


What do you consider your mission as a perfumer?

My mission is simple: To make the world happier through scent.

A fragrance is a necessity that is one of the best lifetime memories that one can have. If you think of a memory of someone or something, you will always remember the smell and in that one simple fact we have a purpose to infuse happiness wherever we can. 

Which of your fragrance creations thus far are you most proud of? 

I get this question a lot and to be honest every single fragrance that I create is a part of me. It’s very hard to pick an overall favorite of my career. I’m proud of everything that I have created and what I’m working on right now, might just be my newest favorite! 

Why is the The Fragrance Foundation Diversity, Equity & Inclusion initiative important to you based on your experience, and for the future of the fragrance industry?

For the last five to ten years, the world has come much closer than ever and I think it’s our job to bring more diversity to the world through fragrance and education. When you include a goal where diversity can be a vehicle of multicultural dimensions it allows us to honor the beautiful fact that there’s always a place for everyone. Diversity creates innovation and opens paths of appreciation, acceptance and embracing differences rather than rejecting them. Creating fragrances has taught me to look at the world through a lens where diversity and happiness reign over anything else; without it, we would rarely create the next best olfactive journey.

Dec

LIFE LESSONS: LEONARD LAUDER

LIFE LESSONS: LEONARD LAUDER
What The Nose Knows

LIFE LESSONS: LEONARD LAUDER

LIFE LESSONS: LEONARD LAUDER

December 2020

When you read The Company I Keep: My Life in Beauty, it’s impossible not to be astonished at the countless times both Estée Lauder herself  & the Estée Lauder Companies were first out of the gate with a new idea. From the introduction of a bath oil that became a fragrance sensation (Youth Dew, 1953) to launching the first-ever men’s prestige fragrance to be sold in department stores (Aramis, 1963), to the first hypoallergenic skincare regimen (Clinique, 1968) and custom-blend foundation (Prescriptives, 1979), the company was a trend-setter and gamechanger for consumers and other businesses alike. We can even credit Estée Lauder with changing the way that women thought about fragrance—as something to be bought for yourself, not received only as a gift—and for introducing the idea of the fragrance wardrobe. In the book’s pages and in TFF’s Masterclass, Leonard Lauder shares his memories about all of these seismic moments, but many in his audience will perhaps most cherish his “Life Lessons”—the key insights into what everyone who knows him admires: that he has proven it possible to run a business with kindness, graciousness, and generosity. Lauder has said that he thinks in decades, not years, and always has his eye on the future—perhaps the best lesson to close out 2020.

What has been the most gratifying feedback that you have received about The Company I Keep?

When people tell me they’ve learned so many lessons from the book, it makes my heart soar. I hope people come away from this memoir with inspiring stories, sharp observations and pragmatic lessons about leadership and life and a little bit of hope. Storytelling is the best way I know how to teach.

Were there moments, or stories that you wanted to relate, that didn’t make it into the final book?

Absolutely! If it were up to me, I would have a never-ending book—there are so many stories and moments and lessons that I have acquired over the years, but unfortunately, I couldn’t include them all or I’d still be writing! There’s always another, brighter chapter waiting to be written.

You are known for giving such insightful and meaningful advice. What is the best advice that someone else has given to you?

My mother drummed into me an important lesson from a very early age: “Everyone is a competitor or a potential competitor. You can’t ignore anyone.” This lesson has guided my business decisions through the years and has been key to our successes.

That said, I have learned from many people, both past and present, that we can always learn more and the best way to do that is through listening. If there’s one enduring lesson I hope this book gives readers, it’s the importance of listening!

Nov

PERFUMERS’ Q&A: DOMINIQUE ROPION & MAURICE ROUCEL

What The Nose Knows

PERFUMERS’ Q&A: DOMINIQUE ROPION & MAURICE ROUCEL

November 2020

DOMINIQUE ROPION, Master Perfumer, IFF

How is your creative process when working with Frédéric unique? 

One of the unique aspects of the collaboration with Frédéric is the luxury of time. There is no deadline. We consider the creation process complete, once it’s complete. There is no rush to launch, and until we’re both satisfied we’ve reached our goal, we keep modifying… and we’re both demanding enough that thousands of trials are necessary. There is also the luxury of knowing each other, and having worked together, for over 35 years. Frédéric is a genuine aesthete, and the history we have of working together is quite unique. 

What has working with Frédéric brought to your life and career? 

A career is made of every single one of our experiences, all the perfumes created. Of course, Frédéric is a major milestone, but I really consider each new development as a new milestone.

 Of your many iconic creations for Editions de Parfums, which is your favorite or which are you proudest of?

 It’s impossible to answer that question. I love each and every one of them, there isn’t one I would disown! Each allowed me to reach the absolute end of each creative exercise. Of course, some are more successful than others, but this is not a criteria of likeability or even pride for me! 

MAURICE ROUCEL, Master Perfumer, Symrise

How is your creative process when working with Frédéric unique?

The most unique thing about working with Frédéric is his allowance of total freedom of expression, which I really appreciate.  The partnership is also unique.  Working with him is like playing a game of tennis; you can’t do it alone.  It’s a true collaboration in which he always provides very precise and impactful feedback that is precious to the creative process.  

How do you describe your style as a perfumer? 

To me, a raw material is for perfumery what a note is for music or a color is for painting.  If I were to describe my perfumery style in terms of painting, I would say it is similar to fauvism; an expression of my impression of the things that inspire me, using bold colors and wild brushstrokes.  It doesn’t have to be so literal.


How has Editions de Parfums changed the way that perfumers are perceived, and the way people understand perfumery, over the past 20 years?

Frédéric was a visionary in his way of working with perfumers and the first to really highlight them all the way through to the bottle.  He also developed unique and novel ways of explaining and experiencing perfumery, including the signature smelling columns that he has in all of his boutiques.  He is an expert in the field and has established a perfect blend between technical proficiency, poetry and philosophy. For two decades, he has remained true to this vision, focusing on the juice rather than the packaging and marketing of the scent.

Oct

THE THOROUGHBRED: BRIANNA LIPOVSKY

THE THOROUGHBRED: BRIANNA LIPOVSKY Photograph by Dora Somosi ©
What The Nose Knows

THE THOROUGHBRED: BRIANNA LIPOVSKY

THE THOROUGHBRED: BRIANNA LIPOVSKY Photograph by Dora Somosi ©

October 2020

Brianna Lipovsky started Maison d’Etto with a very unusual concept: She wanted to create scents inspired by horses. While this may at first sound hyper-specific, her vision is anything but: Maison d’Etto’s unique and evocative fragrances are olfactive snapshots of time and place that open up worlds to those who smell them. Lipovsky sees fragrance as a vehicle for making connections—bringing people closer to themselves, to others, and to nature—while the overarching Maison d’Etto mission is to bring more moments of beauty (and beautiful objects) into our everyday lives. Since launching last year, the luxurious, gender-neutral collection has become a favorite among the fashionably in-the-know, and it continues to win hearts apace. “We are in the stage where we can take risks, use insanely expensive ingredients and roll the dice,” says Lipovsky. Here, she shares with Accords what guides her aesthetic, and what we can expect from Maison d’Etto going forward.  

You began with scent memories from your life’s equestrian experiences—why were those so meaningful to you, and how did that lead you to creating Maison d’Etto?

Horses have been a constant in my life from the age of five. I didn’t grow up in an equestrian family but the vast majority of my life outside of schooling and in my adult years, work was spent with or around horses, riding and competing. I sacrificed so much to have a “normal” city life and a horse life. Instead of going to the fashion shows, gallery openings or other social engagements, I spent most of my free time driving and/or flying to practice and compete. After having my daughter and seeing how brands were really fragmenting around psychographic niches vs just demographics I felt that it was my time to build and create something around my two passions – horses and scent – combined with my background in luxury, fashion and design. I have had close to 35 years of intimate experiences with these animals and so many amazing stories, experiences and personalities that I could deeply dive into creatively with authenticity and truth. It served as an incredible platform for me to create from but make something that was profound enough that it could really speak to anyone and serve as a metaphor. We don’t translate any of these scents directly. It’s not like we’re saying what horse X smelled like; we paint a picture based on a day or a few days, the horse’s personality, the setting, a special place or experience. 

I look at each individual fragrance as a piece of art and each collection as an exhibit. So the brand Maison d’Etto is about inspiring moments of connection, reflection, well-being and nurturing the human spirit one moment at a time. Our first collection, “Connection to Self,” is represented by 5 horses that had huge pivotal impacts on my life. Our next collection is titled, “Connection to Nature” and it will feature stories that took place on horseback but immersed in nature. The fragrance that will launch for holidays took place in the French Pyrenees on a very special palomino mare, who’s name I can’t share for another few weeks ;).

You had a very clear sense from the beginning not only about how you wanted the scents to smell but how you wanted them to look and fit into people’s environments. What inspired this vision?

Yes, we did not come at this from a traditional beauty or fragrance perspective at all. That was very important to me. We drew inspiration from art, architecture, and design as well as a unique interpretation of the contemporary equestrian lifestyle, which is extremely nomadic. I not only wanted to be known for our fragrances but our packaging and the entire Maison d’Etto experience. Knowing how transitional many of our clients are we wanted everything to be not only beautiful, an object of art in and of itself, but also practical, and portable. I worked with the insanely talented and world-renowned graphic and product designer Lotta Nieminen as well as space and interior designer Olivia Song to help ensure that our products are adding an aesthetic value to each client’s life space and home. 

The packaging is extremely considered. I wanted to create something sustainable and beautiful but not just for the sake of sustainability. So for example, we could create sustainable, recyclable but inevitably throw-away D2C packaging or we could create something with wonderful quality with a focus on materials that will last the test of time. Something that you want to hold onto and treasure, like an Hermes box. So our discovery set, after use, provides a beautiful design piece to place in a room or save jewelry, trinkets or crystals in. You will see with some of the other product categories that we start rolling out how we envision this evolving.

How do you believe that fragrance can help us connect with each other, ourselves, and to the world around us?

As we all know, scent is the only sense that we have as humans that goes straight into the limbic system and isn’t processed elsewhere in the brain. This guttural, reactionary nature I find to be deeply therapeutic. It almost brings you back to a childlike state. Many times, when I would get too in my head about things in the brand development stages, I would actually turn to my then 3-year-old daughter to ask what she thought because I know there would be no pretense, anxieties, judgement or overthinking. 

Additionally, after doing a lot of work myself dealing with anxiety in my late 20’s I learned how to apply behavioral and observational patterns to reduce the anxiety. The more I came into myself I was able to apply those same techniques to the world of mindfulness, consciousness and meditation that translated into awareness and appreciation in even the most mundane aspects of life.  I am so intrigued with the intersection of fragrance and science, the brain and the mind. 

The brand focuses on five key aspects of connection — the sacred pillars that help us to achieve a sense of balance and wholeness. These include: connection to self, connection to others, connection to nature, connection to the world, and finally, connection to finding one’s purpose. These aspects will be brought to life with more robust programming and community-based initiatives. 

What was the idea behind the name Maison d’Etto?

Etto is a combination of Ethics + Motto, created by writer, novelist and female polo player Courtney Maum. It represents the core truths and beliefs you carry with you despite where you are or what you are going through in life. It also stands for “Each To Their Own”. It is a brand that refuses to dictate values and beliefs to its wearer but rather empowers them to explore what Etto uniquely means to them. 

What is your process for working with perfumers, and what have you learned from them along the way?

Ha. It’s unconventional to say the least! 

Sometimes it can be a straightforward brief, but even then it’s just a springboard – there is always plenty of room for interpretation and space for each performer’s signature style to come through. Other times it’s a conversation, text (or even Instagram DM which drives the sales team crazy, sorry!) Other times, it’s cracking open a bottle of champagne on a Friday evening dissecting every single ingredient, nuance, and modification then doing a documentary photoshoot, which turns into a bunch of us rolling around on the ground of IFF laughing until our stomachs ache…Pre COVID, of course!

Perfumers are creatives. I really like to work with perfumers that connect with energy, passion, emotion, and can distill all of those things into an incredibly soulful fragrance. I have never had success with any type of creative person sitting behind a desk, so I like to get them out of the office if I can, and get them out of “work” mode. I like to be able to connect deeply with each perfumer, and let’s not forget the evaluator. I couldn’t do any of this without Alexandra Cassar, she’s my eyes, ears, voice, translator, and brand filter. We have a very deep and personal relationship, she at this point knows exactly how I’m going to react and respond. 

I have learned from perfumers to love and enjoy life and to surrender to the beauty and frustrations of life and perfumery. Sometimes it just works and other times you can’t force it, you have to just give it space, time and a lot of patience. The more you respect the fragrance the more it will give to you. Perfumers have also taught me that this is where I belong, and that is so cool. 

What achievement has been most gratifying for you since the brand’s launch?

Hands down the most gratifying achievement was the ‘Our Love Letter to You’ initiative that we did during the first wave of COVID in May when the tri-state was absolutely inundated with cases. I wanted to do something special for my friends who had all become doctors and were on the front lines. I had to do something as a member of society, founder and leader of a purpose-driven brand. 

We partnered with IFF and other like-minded brands (Costa Brazil, Diptyque, Royal Fern and natureofthings) to donate 500 care packages to healthcare workers. IFF discovered through fMRI technology that one of the ingredients used in the fragrance, which by the way was still a complete work in progress, was associated with activating parts of the brain involved in relaxation. Our purpose was to bring respite, hope and peace to healthcare workers through a new fragrance we were working on at the time.. It was a true moment of community, care, commitment, love and gratitude. 

What does joining the Fragrance Foundation mean to you, and what do you hope it will bring to Maison d’Etto?

As a complete outsider to the fragrance industry, joining The Fragrance Foundation means so much. Number one, it validates our existence by a trusted and respected industry authority. It provides community and a place for connection and collaboration. As a self-funded brand, being a part of TFF always seemed a bit out of reach given the capital requirements for membership. With the new inclusivity initiative, I am now able to participate, and have a seat at the table, but also give back with my unique skill set as well. We all have strengths and weaknesses, and I am so excited to be able to learn and strengthen our weaknesses and add tremendous value with many of our strengths to the collective membership and organization. When we all come together amazing things happen! @

@maisondetto

Sep

BEHIND THE SCENTS: INDIE WINNER & FINALISTS

What The Nose Knows

BEHIND THE SCENTS: INDIE WINNER & FINALISTS

September 2020

Indie Fragrance of the Year celebrates the creations of smaller, artisanal brands that have blazed innovative, wonderful-smelling, trails—often without a safety net. The scents honored in the 2020 Awards lineup each offer a compelling example of how to present a daring, memorable elixir that conveys personality, original thinking, and—of course—desirability. Here, the brains behind the brands grant insight into the independent spirit that brought the Fragrance Foundation’s 2020 Finalists and Winner to fruition.

Indie Fragrance of the Year Winner 

THOM BROWNE 09.27.65 VETYVER ABSOLUTE

Thom Browne – Founder & Head of Design

What was the starting point for this fragrance?

I wanted to create a timeless fragrance for men and women. This started with vetyver…

What were the most important sensory effects that you wanted Vetyver Absolute to achieve?

A sense for day into night…bold individuality, and confidence.

How does scent resonate with or reflect the brand as a whole?

It is truly signature and truly authentic to what I wanted in a scent. Like the grey suit, it is created for anyone who has the confidence to be themselves.

What does winning Indie Fragrance of the Year mean to you?

I have always loved fragrance, and these six scents are very personal to me. They took a long time to create and get them right. To be recognized for this is such an honor.

Indie Fragrance of the Year Finalist 

Notorious Oud by D.S. & Durga

David Seth Moltz – Founder & Perfumer

What was the initial spark or idea behind Notorious Oud?

I wanted to make an Oud that spoke to the Brooklyn melting pot. I copied a rare Indonesian oud in my little lab in Brooklyn and balanced it with choice materials from 4 continents.

What were the challenges in its creation?

Just how realistic to go with the stink of the real oud I copied.

What effect did you want it to have for the wearer that would make it utterly unique?

Stink boiled beautiful.

How did you land on the name Notorious Oud?

Oud is probably the most notorious ingredient in perfume. Everyone has an opinion about it and every oud perfume (is it real? is it rare?).  This doesn’t happen with jasmine or vetyver perfumes.

What pleases you most about the way it has been received?

It’s been well received by all kinds of people, which is promising.

Indie Fragrance of the Year Finalist

Eric Buterbaugh Los Angeles Oud Saffron

Eric Buterbaugh – Founder & Designer

What was the initial idea behind Oud Saffron? 

The ideas start with conversations. I wanted to expand on the great reception that my prior Oud scents had received. In talks with Ilias we discussed duality and contrast …  then came to the two iconic ingredients called the black gold and the red gold of a perfumer: “oud and saffron.”  I wanted this scent to feel the luxury of fine jewelry. As most of you know, I adore jewelry.

Were there any challenges in its creation? 

Creation is always a challenging equation.  Oud and Saffron was a departure from my floral universe, but had to meet my codes of Haute Perfumerie.

What unique quality did you want it to bring to the EB collection? 

Ilias and I wanted it to create a new sophistication through contrast, a surprise and an aesthetic inspired by gemstones.

Why was Ilias the perfect perfumer for this project?

Ilias and I have worked on many fragrances together. We have a unique way of trusting each other and a great respect for each other. He always keeps in mind the DNA of my brand. Also we love to laugh and dream. So any time spent with Ilias is happy for me.

What pleases you most about the finished scent and the way it has been received? 

First and foremost, the scent perfectly completes my Floral Ouds collection. The fact that it was nominated for the Fragrance Foundation award makes myself and Ilias happy and proud,  it is a real tribute to the vision of my brand.

Aug

THE GLOBE TROTTERS: NACHO FIGUERAS & DELFINA BLAQUIER

THE GLOBE TROTTERS: NACHO FIGUERAS & DELFINA BLAQUIER
What The Nose Knows

THE GLOBE TROTTERS: NACHO FIGUERAS & DELFINA BLAQUIER

THE GLOBE TROTTERS: NACHO FIGUERAS & DELFINA BLAQUIER

August, 2020

You may recognize Argentine polo champion Ignacio “Nacho” Figueras and his wife Delfina Blaquier as the glamorous couple from countless Ralph Lauren fragrance campaigns—but with the launch of their own fragrance line last year, they began an entirely new journey into the perfume world. Having zigzagged the planet with their four children for matches and events, the couple wanted the Ignacio Figueras Collection to have a truly international perspective, so the six scents are like olfactory postcards from their favorite cities: Buenos Aires, Windsor, Aspen, Palm Beach, Dubai, and Jaipur. And since family and philanthropy are deeply ingrained in the enterprise, a portion of the fragrances’ sales benefit Prince Harry’s Sentebale charity, which helps children and communities in Lesotho and Botswana. As founders making a tremendous splash with a project clearly so close to their hearts, Figueras and Blaquier share their insight—and excitement for the upcoming awards—with Accords.

You have presented and attended TFF Awards in prior years and have many close ties to the fragrance world having been ambassadors for Ralph Lauren. How does it feel different this year to participate, now that you are TFF members and brand creators?

The difference this year is that we truly feel like we are part of the fragrance community.   We have a much better understanding of the entire process – from concept, through development and finally selling a finished product. In translating emotions into fragrances, we worked with so many artists – perfumers, designers, writers and retail partners that gave us the chance to share our story.  Creating our own brand is a much greater responsibility!

Why was it so important for you to create a fragrance line with a global perspective?

We travel as a family all over the world, often staying for a long time in these polo locations and experiencing so many incredible cultures.  There are many unique aspects of each city yet I find the similarities are what connects us together as people.  We wanted to share the beautiful special emotions that we feel and hopefully connect everyone in a good way.

What has been the highlight of your journey in the fragrance world so far? 

There have been many special moments but the highlight is creating something together as a family.  During the development process we revisited so many emotions and how we grew over the years, solidifying our values and the importance of family. 

What lessons have you learned that you would share with others who are new to the perfume business?

We learned that there are many contributors to a successful brand and although it is a personal process, it is very important to stay open to new ideas.  Another lesson—it is essential to know what you want your brand to stand for. Know what you value.  I also learned to trust my team to help bring my vision to life. We are still learning and are at the beginning of our journey.

How have you incorporated philanthropy into your strategy, and how does it relate to the brand DNA?

Philanthropy is a way of life for us so it was important to make it part of the brand.  We built the brand on three pillars: polo, family and charity.  We wanted to use this opportunity to create awareness and help support the Sentebale charity with our sales and greater exposure.

Jul

THE FIRESTARTER: ABIGAIL COOK STONE

THE FIRESTARTER: ABIGAIL COOK STONE
What The Nose Knows

THE FIRESTARTER: ABIGAIL COOK STONE

THE FIRESTARTER: ABIGAIL COOK STONE

July, 2020

Otherland candles make you happy just to look at them. To light them, even more so. Founder Abigail Cook Stone began her career as an art buyer for Ralph Lauren, so it’s no surprise that when she decided to launch a home fragrance brand, she brought discernment and a flair for style to the enterprise. Working with perfumers to concoct perfectly balanced scents that fill a room but never overpower, Cook Stone’s vision was to create a collection of meticulously (and cleanly) crafted candles, so beautiful that you’ll want to display the glass vessels long after the wax has dissipated. With an engagingly joyful social media presence—tune in to one of Cook Stone’s Instagram Lives for a delightful diversion—Otherland has infused the home fragrance landscape with a new, youthful energy. Here, Cook Stone fills us in on how she got Otherland off the ground and made it a runaway success.

What inspired you to start Otherland?

I’ve been obsessed with art, candles and the power of scent my entire life. I came from a background of art and design, studying art history in college and working in the Art Acquisitions department at Ralph Lauren. When I was in business school, candles became a part of my everyday self-care routine, from my morning Headspace meditation to unwinding after a long day of class with Netflix and a sheet mask. I was obsessed with candles, but what I could afford wasn’t matching what I liked. I realized through talking with my friends that they felt similarly. 

Seeing this opportunity, I wanted to build a modern brand with high-quality fragrance at an accessible price and with a focus on art. It’s a consumable, experiential object d’art (visual, olfactive, tactile), while incorporating storytelling and community through digital channels. Hence, Otherland!

What principles and brand attributes were most important to you from the start?

I define brand as the relationship a company has with their customers, and every touchpoint counts: from logo all the way through to packaging, engagement on social media, even the tone of customer service. We spent a lot of time considering how our brand would be consumed at home (and on Instagram), not just at the point of purchase on our website, and studying what the key elements could be to differentiate it. 

We decided to invest in not just extraordinary fragrance, but placed equal importance on visual design. We work with different artists to create each new collection and design custom packaging with lots of unique surface areas as a layered canvas for the storytelling and scent experience to play out. As a digitally-native brand, expressive color, pattern, and design–seen in the packaging, social media content and website–activate an emotional connection with our customers that inspires them to purchase, overcoming the hurdle of not being able to smell beforehand.

What was the initial development process like?

I decided I first needed to learn how to make candles, so I turned my very tiny West Village NYC kitchen into a candle laboratory. After a month of near-daily production (and starting a few small fires)—testing out different wick sizes, container shapes, wax blends, fragrances, melt temperatures—I felt confident I had enough background knowledge to talk to manufacturers and fragrance houses. 

While working with a major fragrance house seemed out of reach as a pre-launch startup, at a friend’s bachelorette party she strategically seated me next to a friend of hers who worked at Firmenich and connected me with Asha Talwar Coco. Asha believed in my vision for the brand from the start, and I’m grateful Firmenich took a chance on us at such an early stage and has continued to nurture our brand, as well as Givaudan more recently.

How did you decide on the scents, and how did the unique packaging evolve? 

Each Otherland scent is inspired by a vision or nostalgic memory, creating complex, unexpected scent combinations that naturally lend themselves to storytelling and artwork. It was important to me to develop scents in an evocative, emotional, experiential context instead of focusing on single ingredients like grapefruit or rose.

In terms of the packaging, we knew we wanted to develop a system that would allow us to work with different artists for each new collection. Having a unique assortment of surfaces for printed artwork for their creation to occupy and communicate the scent experience and collection vibe with was critical: the large, frameable “platform” in our box, the candle “topper” lid, the matchbox, and candle label. This modular system has allowed us to successfully develop and market such distinct collections while allowing the brand to evolve visually and bringing a constant sense of newness to our customer. 

When you were establishing the brand, was there a moment that felt like a breakthrough?

Less than one year after launch we received an exciting call from Instagram letting us know they had selected us for the first-ever official Instagram Holiday Gift Guide. A few months later, Instagram’s Eva Chen was unboxing our candle on Good Morning America – an awesome and surreal moment for a young brand! 

What are your goals for the future of Otherland? 

One of our biggest goals has been to expand from direct-to-consumer to omni-channel distribution. We recently launched in select Nordstrom stores and will have more to share on this effort soon, so stay tuned! 

In the next five years, my goal is for Otherland to be the go-to candle and home fragrance brand for millennials. In addition to our omni-channel expansion and continuing to build our direct business, key growth drivers will include launching new product formats and thematic scent collections, and our own stores and pop-ups down the road. 

Another goal is to continue developing our digital community on social media. At the beginning of the coronavirus lockdown in mid-March, I started doing daily Fireside Chats on Instagram Live to further the conversation around self-care, fragrance, women’s entrepreneurship, and the art of living well. I’ll admit, I had never done a livestream before and was quite nervous about it! I pushed myself to give it a try and am so glad I did, as it opened the door for us to interview guests like Arianna Huffington, itCosmetics Founder Jamie Kern Lima, Marie Claire Editor-in-Chief Aya Kanai, SNL’s Heidi Gardner, HoneypotCo Founder Bea Dixon, drybar Founder Alli Webb, designers Rebecca Minkoff and Cynthia Rowley, activist Noor Tagouri, chef Candace Nelson, and more.

What’s the secret to a great Insta Live, and what have you learned from doing them?

The secret to a great IG Live is in the prep work! Finding the great guests, thoroughly researching them, and developing a tight list of questions that lend to engaging, attention-grabbing conversation while speaking to overall brand themes, current events and cultural climates, and the guest’s specific identity and story. 

One thing I’ve learned is to approach each Fireside Chat as a two-way conversation, not just an interview. Rather than just reading off questions to the guest, by putting myself out there a bit more and sharing some of my experiences I’m able to better connect with the guests. You get better, more interesting answers when the guest feels comfortable enough to let their guard down a bit and it feels like a chat among friends. 

How has being a part of The Fragrance Foundation benefitted your business?

I’m grateful to have been introduced to The Fragrance Foundation early on in the life of Otherland. Their nurturing of our young brand has made a real impact, from introducing Otherland to the fragrance industry community and sharing us on social media, to mentoring me as we scale and face new challenges and opportunities such as moving into omni-channel distribution. As an outsider to the industry, having The Fragrance Foundation’s warm welcome and guidance has made a meaningful difference in setting us up for success as we grow our business. I feel deeply inspired to be among a community of so many brands and individuals who are so passionate about the art and creativity of fragrance and I love to hear the stories behind brands, perfumers, fragrances, ingredients and creative processes. It inspires me to continue to build Otherland.

How will you contribute to The Fragrance Foundation’s work to nurture other indie brands? 

I look forward to welcoming other indie, startup brands to this community through making myself available for mentorship to other founders, supporting on social media, and sharing our Otherland founding story to inspire others.

Jun

THE ENTREPRENEUR AMPLIFYING LGBTQ+ VOICES: ROB SMITH

THE ENTREPRENEUR AMPLIFYING LGBTQ+ VOICES: ROB SMITH
What The Nose Knows

THE ENTREPRENEUR AMPLIFYING LGBTQ+ VOICES: ROB SMITH

THE ENTREPRENEUR AMPLIFYING LGBTQ+ VOICES: ROB SMITH

Rob Smith is the mastermind behind The Phluid Project, which began as a gender-free fashion store in 2018 (originally brick-and-mortar, now digital-only), and has become a powerful community hub and a driver of change in the retail and corporate spheres. This includes fragrance: The Phluid Project’s collection with Scent Beauty, Phluid Scent Elixirs, introduced a revolutionary concept—biphase, nonbinary perfume sprays with crowdsourced notes. As a pioneer in the gender expansive movement and a thought leader on the values and priorities of Gen Z, Smith educates and advocates on behalf of underrepresented LGBTQIA+ youth, working to open up minds and doors along the way. Accords speaks to him about his goals and accomplishments as he joins forces with The Fragrance Foundation in spearheading its initiative on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. 

What was the impetus behind The Phluid Project? 

I had been in retail for 30 years, working for Macy’s and Victoria’s Secret and then I had a brand doing licensing work. And then I had an awakening when I went to Burning Man. It was really special for me. One, because it’s a utopian society, where people take care of each other. But it was also interesting for me because it’s an atmosphere of self-expression and people adapt to it very quickly. By day three, heteronormative straight guys are like, “I need tights and I need you to paint my nails now,” because they don’t fit in. Everyone joins in this culture of freedom and caring. I came back thinking, “I need to do more with my life, and participate in a world that’s more compassionate, empathetic and purpose driven.” I quit my job, and I backpacked around the world. On that journey, I came up with the idea for The Phluid Project. I got back in July, and I opened in March. 

What have you achieved that you’ve been proudest of?

When you’re in your 50s, and you’ve been doing something for so many years, just being the first at something was pretty remarkable—and that was finding the intersection of fashion with community, activism, and education in a way that seems really authentic. Building a company with values is the other thing I’m proudest of. I built a value system, and a social code, from the very beginning. Even the names of the scents are from our value system: Transcend, Balance, and Intention. 

How did the Phluid Scent Elixirs come about? 

During last year’s Pride, we worked with Edge Beauty to create scent cards that were gender neutral, with a combination of masculine and feminine notes, and passed them out. We put them in all the packages, and people voted on what scents they liked most—so the final scents themselves were really created by the community. It was an interesting process, to let go, and let them decide what they like.

What made you want to do a fragrance in the first place? 

I was looking for extensions of products to do that would be a natural fit. And the first thing that I wanted to do was fragrance. Steve Mormoris from Edge reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in creating scents with them, and it felt like kismet. It was their idea to combine oil and water. And I loved it. And also the idea of making a collection of scents that put together looks like the rainbow. And the last one, Transcend, is the color of the trans flag. 

What did you want to give people that they might not have found in the fragrance market before?

I think it’s been so binary, for so long. Women’s are florals and fruits, and men’s are spices and woods. It was like, where are the ones that don’t speak to your gender identity, but speak to your humanity? It’s not necessarily just for queer people. It’s for everybody. 

The Phluid Project trains companies how to build more gender expansive teams. Why is that so important ?

We started because I would get dozens of resumes every week. And my team, altogether, was only about 20 people. But I thought, “How can I help these people get jobs?” So, we decided to create a job portal. If you’re looking for a job, and you’re queer, you can put your resume into this portal. And then, if somebody wanted to hire intentionally, from the trans non binary community, to be more inclusive, this would be a source. But I realized I couldn’t send these young people to companies until the companies were trained. I decided to create something called Gender Expansive Training, GET Phluid, and start to educate companies, and get them ready for this workforce and consumer base. 

You’ve become a real thought leader on Gen Z. What are some of the insights you have found about generational values?

I call them Gen Me, and Gen We. They’re Gen Me, because they’re their own brand ambassador. They use social media to voice their performance. Each of them is their own brand. But they’re also Gen We. They’re activists. They care about social justice. They care about all identities. They don’t check just one box. They’re like, “Why do I have to check a box?” The reason the company’s called Phluid is because that’s the space between the boxes. 

What does that say about the importance of inclusion moving forward?

Statistically, over half of Gen Z are queer, or somewhere in the spectrum of gender expression. The binary concepts of male and female are so limiting, but that’s the way the infrastructure is built. I did a TEDx talk on gender and fashion—past, present and future. And I did research on the color pink, and how it didn’t become gendered as female until after World War II. So you think, within a lifetime, this happens. We’re constantly learning and relearning. And now we’re moving so much faster, because of social media. We get so focused on things that are rolling backwards, but you can’t stop the momentum of our planet right now. As young people continue to take more space where their voices can be amplified, we’re going to be unstoppable.

What do you hope to see come of the Fragrance Foundation initiative?  

When I walk into any space and when I partner with anyone, I hope that I can be a voice and advocate for the community that I serve and represent. In this case, it’s Gen Z and specifically the gender expansive community.

It starts out with challenging the idea of the binary system. This idea that there’s just male and female doesn’t allow people to be self-expressive. It will always exist, but how do you break it down a bit? And, when you understand that gender is a social construct, how do you start to deconstruct that? When you think about fragrance, if you’re a girl who loves pink and flowers, you’re definitely represented. If you’re a man who likes masculine smells, and blue and black and brown, you’re definitely represented. But what about the people in the middle, who like both? Breaking down those constructs gives people permission to try new things. It’s fun. And the more we get to play, and be curious, the more we’re going to find our authentic selves. 

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.


Feb

CHIEF TEACHING OFFICER: LEONARD A. LAUDER

CHIEF TEACHING OFFICER: LEONARD A. LAUDER
What The Nose Knows

CHIEF TEACHING OFFICER: LEONARD A. LAUDER

CHIEF TEACHING OFFICER: LEONARD A. LAUDER

As Chairman Emeritus of the Estée Lauder Companies, Leonard A. Lauder is also unofficially referred to as the Chief Teaching Officer. While Lauder’s business leadership is second-to-none, those who have worked with him cite the small things—like always going out of his way to compliment employees in front of their direct bosses (“That’s a twofer!” he says) and writing his famous “blue notes” of thanks and encouragement—as his most impactful acts. In the final part of his visit with Accords, Lauder discusses why a company is defined by the way it selects, cares for, and nurtures its own.

What would you say the secret to great leadership is?

Many things. The key secret is recognition. Recognize someone for their abilities and what they’ve done. Do not say “I am great,” say “you are great.” Recognition. Secondly, trust. They have to trust you. I had someone work for us one time. I can tell you his name but I’d rather not. He said to someone, “trust me” and I would say to myself, “she’d better head for the hills.” If you give someone recognition, in one way or another and you are fair, you can make it work. You may have heard about my blue notes. I write notes to people, thank you for this and thank you for that. But sometimes I even write notes saying “don’t let me do this again.”

What do you consider the key signifier of talent for people when you’re hiring?

It depends on the talent that you’re looking for. If you’re looking for an art director, let’s see what they can do. Looking for a copywriter? You have to see their work. But you also have to understand what’s in their heart and their soul. I have a good feeling for that. I see a lot of people who do interviews like this: Now let me tell you what we’re looking for here. They talk and talk and talk and talk and talk and talk. Do you have any questions? No, thank you. You’re hired.

Here’s the secret that I have. If I interview someone, I ask them, what is the thing that you’re the proudest of that you did? Was it a launch that you did? Was it the package design that you did, an ad that you did? Take as much time as you need. Tell me how you did it. If they could tell me how they did it, and I could understand them and believe them then I knew that they knew the business. But if they were trying to blow smoke in my eyes, I could see it. I could give you one small example. I was trying to increase the number of people in our international division. I interviewed someone and I said, “Tell me where you’ve been.” “Oh, well, Switzerland.” I said, “Oh really? That’s great! Where?” “Geneva.” “How lovely! Isn’t it a great city?” “Yes it is.” “What hotel did you stay in?” “Well, actually I just changed planes there.”

What do you think were the key decisions you made that enabled Lauder to become the fragrance leader in the United States?

So many, but I’ll tell you this. For each fragrance we launched, I wanted to make sure that the advertising and promotion we did was aimed at the people who would be our customers. Over the years, people made some mistakes. When we launched one of our fragrances, they took all the money and put it into running movie theater commercials. We were selling premium products—what were we doing running in the movie theaters for young kids? It was a total mismatch, and it didn’t sell. You have to be smart enough to know what you know and what you don’t know. I also admired how some people took chances and it worked. Like Calvin Klein, with CK One. I did things, many times good, once or twice not too good, but I learned from my mistakes. I love the fragrance business.

What advice would you give a budding beauty entrepreneur?

Be true to what you are. Don’t let someone talk you into doing something that you think is wrong for you or wrong for your brand.

What do you consider your own greatest achievement?

The people that work for us, they are my greatest achievement. Because to make them happy and productive at the same time is what I love.

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.

Close Bitnami banner
Bitnami