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Guerlain perfumer Thierry Wasser is the latest in our series of ‘nose’ interviews…

Last week, Guerlain caused the biggest stir in perfume retail for years with the announcement by Guerlain’s CEO Laurent Boillot that there are plans for as many as 100 exclusive Guerlain Parfumeur boutiques around the world – akin, we imagine, to the beautiful store we a glimpse of last summer on Rue Saint-Honoré in Paris. (Read our report here.) The next opens in Brussels in May – and we are on tenterhooks to know where the London location might be…

It’s quite a moment for Guerlain, with the launch of Mon Guerlain setting off quite a fragrant frenzy – among perfume-lovers, bloggers (and us). For fifth generation Guerlain perfumer Thierry Wasser, currently on a world tour to unveil the fragrance from Dubai to the US via the Far East, it’s the culmination of several years’ work on this delicious, vanilla-y fresh-Oriental – which we’re not alone in finding supremely moreish.

We’re proud to say that he has not only become a friend to The Perfume Society, over the years – but proudly carries a Perfume Society VIP Subscriber card, number 001, in his wallet. We caught up with Thierry on his travels – and he found some time to share the answers to our ‘nose’ questionnaire…

What is your first ‘scent memory’?

Apricot pie baking in the oven.

When did you decide you wanted to be a perfumer/create your own perfume?

Curiosity drew me to the Givaudan perfumery school – and very quickly I understood that my intuition was good. 

What are your favourite smells in the world?

1 Bulgarian rose – everybody knows my love for this flower. Every year I travel to Bulgaria for the harvest – in fact, a big part of my job is overseeing the sourcing of ingredients for Guerlain.

2 Vanilla.

3 Masala chai.

4 Fresh grass.

What’s the worst thing you ever smelled. (Honestly!)

Cabbage cooking. 

If you had one fragrance note that you love above all others, what would that be?

I love green, crispy notes.

What is the fragrance you wish you’d created?

Guerlain Mitsouko.

If you could have created a fragrance for a historical figure, who would it be?

I would have loved to create a fragrance for Queen Victoria: a strong woman with ambition, courage and a vision.

What’s the first fragrance you bought. And the first bought for you…?

Guerlain Habit Rouge is the one I bought for myself. My mum bought me Équipage d’Hermes.

Do you have a favourite bottle design, from those that have been used for your fragrance creations?

My favorite bottle design is the redesign of the Shalimar bottle by Jade Jagger.

How many perfumes might you be working on, at one time?

Half a dozen. 

Does your nose ever ‘switch off’?

Yes indeed! I can switch it off willingly. In fact, as a perfumer it is not your nose that works, but your brain… 

How long, roughly, does it take you to create a fragrance?

Ideally when the concept is set in my mind, I need a good 12 to 18 months to realise it. 

Is creating a fragrance ‘visual’ for you, as well as something that happens in the nose/brain? If so, in what way…? Is a mood-board helpful?

My creative process doesn’t really go through a vision stage, so a moodboard doesn’t help me. Instead, imagining situations and feelings is much more helpful.

What is your best tip for improving a person’s sense of smell?

The scent of smell has been lost during mankind’s evolution since it is not per say a vital sense for survive – but the best tip for anyone interested in improving his/her sense of smell is to pay as much attention as possible to what is around you.

Guerlain Mon Guerlain from £45 for 30ml eau de parfum

Find it at Guerlain counters nationwide, good perfumeries and escentual.com

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