Having explored the world and collected an olfactory photo album of perfumed memories, Clara and John Molloy realised they shared a view of fragrance as a journey for the senses – conceptualising MEMO Paris as a collection of scents based on places they have visited and loved…
Morocco, Ibiza, Ireland, Russia, Spain – just a few eclectic places captured forever in MEMO Paris fragrances, each evoking a particular personal memory for design duo (and married couple) Clara Molloy and John Molloy. Having met in a chair-lift in 2005, the sky was the limit for this go-getting duo. And when Clara wrote a book dedicated to ‘noses’ in 2006, she became entranced with the world of perfumery. Founding their niche fragrance brand in 2007, MEMO Paris is the perfect creative collaboration between them – she a gifted Parisian-Catalan poet, he a sporty Irish globetrotter with the spirit of travel in his blood.
Together they saw MEMO Paris as a house ‘forging its identity around magical destinations and potent raw materials… the promise of a magical journey, extended beyond its end and constantly re-travelled.’
And so, the fragrances are split into four main journeys: Les Échappées – six scented mooring points leading from chic and Bohemian Paris to the heart of Burma. Cuirs Nomades explore the leather note through emblematic destinations, from Africa to Italy. Graines Vagabondes sow the seeds of natural ingredients like sesame, still a rarity in perfumery, while Art Land pays tribute ‘to mysterious territories transformed by the artistic hand of humankind’.
But for MEMO Paris it goes far beyond merely evoking somewhere lovely to imagine. The fragrances take a destination, and, they explain, ‘…makes it the point of departure for an epic adventure of the senses. Fragrance has that initiatory dimension of travel, the threshold between the known and the unknown. Fragrance is openness and abandon.’
Abandoning ourselves to an essential MEMO Paris fragrance, first, we encounter a soaring sensation above Paris in Eau de MEMO, proudly showcased in The Perfume Society‘s Fragrance Discovery Box collaboration with Harvey Nichols: a euphoric dive into radiant bergamot and jasmine carried aloft on the softest, supple, buttery leather accord.
Leather is something of a signature for the house, with explorations spanning the globe. Italian Leather offers herbaceous notes of clary sage, green tomato leaf and rockrose gently powdered with iris on a richly resinous vanilla base. In French Leather Rose, the sophistication is ramped up, pink pepper and soft musk seguing to the sueded floral heart with a hint of passion-smudged lipstick and a flash of a bare shoulder. In Moroccan Leather, meanwhile, orange blossom fills the air with sweetness as spices tingle a warm path to the shade of vetiver and the cypress trees. Or shall we escape to the Ilha do Mel – the most picturesque beach resort in southern Brazil – where sun-warmed honey drizzles mandarin, jasmine and gardenia on a moonlit backdrop of silvery juniper and dusky vanilla?
There are many ways of travelling the world, and flight is a poetic theme often touched on within the collections, most significantly in the golden wing-topped bottles of The Flying Collection. Here, we see the globe from a bird’s eye view, swooping down to MEMO’s home in Paris, first, and imagining the rooftop of the Opera Garnier, Rose Paris Rose revealing ruffled notes of fruity rose, davana essence and guaiac oil. In Desert Orange Blossom we waft to the skyline of Dubai at dusk, warm currents of cinnamon, almond flower, and patchouli rippling our fragrant feathers. Then for Siberian Golden Wood we’re following the Trans-Siberian express, discovering wild jewels of sesame, vetiver and sandalwood, before the golden winged statues come home to roost in London Tweed, bergamot, ginger and cardamom shimmering magnificently above the royal parks.
We are very much of the opinion that fragrance is the closest thing we have to teleportation – an instant transportation through time and space – propelling you back, unbidden, to memories you hadn’t even realised you carried with you. And with MEMO Paris weaving stories in scent, the compositions provide olfactory snapshots of places, people and precious ingredients – providing a fragrant backdrop for you to create your very own scent memories, every single time you spray, and no matter where you happen to be in the world…