Inspired by childhood memories of Kavala, Greece, embracing his family’s heritage in Istanbul, and the intertwining of art, history, and philosophy; Manos Gerakinis is the first niche luxury Greek perfume house, and the fragrances truly radiate the diversity and passion of their founder…
From an early age, Manos Gerakinis knew that ‘…every bottle is more than a mere perfume; it is a living olfactory experience, unique and mysterious.’ So, if you’re seeking perfumes that have specifically been created with such poignancy in mind, prepare to make the first step in your own fragrant journey, here. Gerakinis’ own story begins with his memories growing up in Kavala, Greece – that Greek connection already infused with the tales and traditions passed down through the generations of his family, who originated from Istanbul. He speaks of being surrounded by ‘the cultivation of saffron, tobacco, labdanum and honey’ and in an interview with the Greek City Times, divulged that his maternal grandmother played a huge role in his life. ‘She was a woman of high standards and aesthetics,’ he says. ‘She introduced me to the French “Savoir-Faire”, classical music and fine arts. I am blessed in a family that provided us with the stimulus to reach our full potential.’ This potential was further encouraged to develop through art – ‘a natural talent for painting together with history, philosophy and culture’.
This heady mix of knowledge and respect for cultural heritage would later become ‘the founding stones of the brand,’ but of course life experience is always a key ingredient, and Manos travelled from Greece to London for the prestigious role of managing Harrods luxury department. This gave him unparalleled access to designers such as Valentino, Alexander McQueen and Dolce & Gabbana, and with London as his base for over a decade, he avidly explored the world as part of his job. Each place he visited left its own imprint on his soul, and Manos says he developed ‘an eye for detail and a deep appreciation of the arts and craftsmanship’ he saw first-hand, believing that ‘traveling enriches the experience with the true meaning of life by exploring the senses and appreciating pure beauty.’
Although Manos was taken with the architecture and historical places he saw, the artisanal traditions still being celebrated there; he’d gained an early appreciation and knowledge of fragrance, enthusiastically collecting fragrances as a child, and explaining even then he ‘thought of fragrances as little treasures that captivate memories, and I was fascinated.’ Imbued with such a deep connection to fragrance, it gradually dawned on Manos there was no better way to encapsulate and share this tapestry of life than in scent itself. ‘Creating my own fragrance was always in the back of my mind,’ he explains, ‘and once I was given the opportunity, I grabbed it.’ Delving further into researching and learning the technical side of the fragrance world, ‘My initial goal was to create a powerful scent that was able to captivate anyone in the room. I wanted an alluring scent, mysterious and poetic.’ He began curating a collection of exquisite essential oils and ingredients from around the world, and it took nine months to complete the first fragrance, Sillage Royal – a warm, woody, immediately evocative scent that, perhaps understandably, is the most personally resonant for Manos, being inspired by the picturesque city of Kavala he grew up in. Part of the Egyptian-Otoman Empire for hundreds of years, it became powerful through the production of tobacco, and the rose, saffron and spices further reflect his olfactory heritage, captured in a scented snapshot. Says Manos: ‘During this process I came to realise that I had a talent for creating beautiful scents,’ and buoyed by his success, the collection inevitably grew.
Now, your journey can take you from the captivating beauty of Immortelle – inspired by Ancient Greek mythology for the naming of the flower – to the freedom and independence evoked by the freshness of Anthem (the packaging for which is designed by renowned Greek painter G. Stathopoulos); through the golden glow of saffron which has become something of a signature note through many of the scents and the masterful manipulation of the finest rare ingredients gathered around the globe. Along the way you’ll discover why The Greek poet Sappho said of the Damask Rose: ‘It is the pride of plants, and queen of flowers’ – Rose Poetique being one of the most stunning representations of that bloom we’ve smelled – from delicate sophistication to swaggering sensuality, simplicity to extravagance. At every stage your senses will be enthralled, and as you explore, you’ll feel Manos’ ethos reverberating in each scent. ‘Man’s greatest heritage is the pictures he collects and his memories,’ he says. ‘That doesn’t necessarily mean he has to travel, it means that he has to be open to collect beauty and then compose it into his own palette.’ And wearing a Manos Gerakinis fragrance, we’re sure you’ll agree, ‘…allows the true beauty of the individual to emerge.’