What the nose knows: our perfumer of the week is Living Lalique creator Richard Ibanez

The Perfume Society met Richard Ibanez when he flew into London for the launch of Living Lalique recently, and posed to him one of our ‘Nose’ questionnaires. The perfumer – who’s spent his career at Robertet, the French fragrance house specialising in naturals – has a diverse creative portfolio, from Andrea Maack Coal to Escada Ibiza Hippie, Azzaro Pure Lavande to Sonia Rykiel Le Parfum.

Not only did Richard answer our questions, though – he also signed a bottle of Living Lalique for one lucky VIP Subscriber. Simply click here to read more and enter… Meanwhile, here’s what Richard shared with us.

What is your first ‘scent memory’?
I still remember the woody smell in my classroom when I was seven years old.

When did you decide you wanted to be a perfumer?
I had the opportunity to access the perfume laboratory in Robertet (a leading French fragrance house, specialising in naturals) – and at that moment, I realised the power and the magic of perfumes on people.

What are your five favourite smells in the world?

  • The blend of spices, fruits and fresh herbs at markets.
  • Moroccan pastries.
  • Grand Cru wine such as a Bourgogne or a Bordeaux.
  • Italian cooking.

What’s the worst thing you ever smelled.  (Honestly!)
The smell of raw milk! It makes me sick.

What is the fragrance you wish you’d created?
For women Clinique Aromatics Elixir, and for Men, Dior Eau Sauvage.

If you could have created a fragrance for a historical figure, who would it be?
For geniuses such as Caravaggio or Shakespeare.

What’s the first fragrance you bought.  And the first bought for you…? 
Crêpe de Chine (for my mother, for Mother’s Day), and Dior Eau Sauvage was given to me.

Do you have a favourite bottle design, from those that have been used for your fragrance creations?
Living Lalique – honestly! The bottle, being Lalique, is so stunning.

How many perfumes might you be working on, at one time?
Two or three – although sometimes it might be more.

How long, roughly, does it take you to create a fragrance?
A few weeks.

Does your nose ever ‘switch off’?
Fortunately not! Only when I’ve got a cold.

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?
Yes – I really try to imagine the person who could wear this perfume.

What can each of us do to enhance our appreciation of fragrance?
Keep the spontaneity and focus on the pleasure of smelling.

What is your best tip for improving a person’s sense of smell? 
It’s important to try to ‘label’ and describe the different facets of the perfume, in your mind. By doing that you will actually enhance your sense of smell.

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