When a famous perfumer launches their own fragrance house, industry insiders and perfume lovers around the world get very excited indeed. And with good reason. Here, Olivier Cresp allows his imagination to fly to full effect. Indulging in ‘vices’ for inspiration, AKRO offer a veritable banquet of temptations in fragrant form…

Olivier Cresp is one of the best respected and well-known perfumers on the planet – the nose behind some of the most famous fragrances in the world, many of which will, perhaps, have been on your own dressing tables over the years, and all of which you will have heard of, even if they’ve not graced your own skin. Think of such iconic names as Mugler Angel – one of the most successful scents of all time – along with Dior Midnight Poison, Estée Lauder Modern Muse, Penhaligon’s Peoneve and Juniper Sling, Paco Rabanne XS and one of the quartet of perfumers behind YSL Black Opium. To name but a handful of many hundreds he has created. Of becoming a perfumer, Cresp once told us, ‘I never doubted this instinct, this destiny…’ Indeed, fragrance was in his blood, the Cresp family heritage being rooted in perfume: his grandfather and father spent their lives buying and selling natural raw materials in Grasse and the Cresp name in this region of France can be traced way back to the 12th Century. It would be no overstatement to say that Olivier Cresp’s fragrances for others have ensured he’s already become a legend in its own lifetime; so yes, you can see why we (among thousands of other industry insiders) were so thrilled to hear he was launching his own line, with daughter and co-founder of Akro, Anaïs. We weren’t disappointed.

Given the Cresp history, you might imagine the fragrances would be all about Grasse, or unmistakably redolent of French culture, but you’d be wrong. Akro are all about taking the unexpected route. ‘It all started a few years back… when Anaïs Cresp was living in London and learning about the world.’ they say, ‘Working in the pubs and bars of the vibrant and diverse area of Ladbroke Grove, she became enraptured by the scents around her…’ Tired of only finding fruity or sweet scents aimed at her, Anaïs marvelled at the idea one might be able to wear ‘your favourite vice on your skin.’ The scents she associated with contemporary city life – ‘the flower stalls, coffee houses, charcoal grills, by the whiskey and leather of the grand old Irish pubs’ and even ‘the inescapable haze of weed in the air.’ We can imagine many houses owned by other companies might shy away from such inspiration as ‘vices’, but with a world-famous ‘nose’ for a father, who working for himself could have no regard to following someone else’s brief, or having to stick to another brand’s budget for the materials he uses, Cresp could, in a way, indulge his own addiction – to creating the finest fragrances possible, and in the most artistic way imaginable.

When you think of it, all the fragrances we love most become an addiction, don’t they? Something that goes beyond merely smelling nice, reaching a point where we just crave having it on our skin, imbuing our very souls with the scent. ‘We all have our addictions, our vices, our favourite little rituals.’ Say Akro, ‘Something about them just keeps us coming back – whether it’s the taste, the hit, the high, the rush, or that all-too-brief moment of absolute tranquillity.’ Having become utterly enraptured by ‘the bitter hit of a morning espresso [in Awake], the cold, smokey blast of bourbon falling over ice [Malt], the first drag of a post-coital cigarette [Smoke], the unmistakable aroma of hashish floating through the city air in summer.’ [Haze], there are many other olfactory addictions to explore. Even the thrill of decorating your body with tattoos [Ink]. We know you’ll keep coming back to Akro’s fragrances again and again, for that fragrant ‘hit’, a perfumed pleasure ride that just keeps going. ‘We make fragrances for people that don’t like to say no.’ And oh, once you’ve found the particular fragrant ‘vice’ that hits the spot, we know, like us, you’ll be saying ‘yes, yes, YES!’ The only problem you’ll have is deciding which one you want to indulge first…


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