In France they don’t just honour perfumers with prize certificates, they actually award them with knighthoods! We’re thrilled to learn that Calice Becker, Vice President Perfumer and Director of the Givaudan Perfumery School, has been honoured by receiving the French médaille de Chevalier dans l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres for her significant contribution to the arts through perfumery.
Having created many of what we’re sure are your favourite fragrances – from Tom Ford’s Velvet Orchid to Dior’s J’Adore, L’Occitane Terre de Lumieré and hundreds more besides, we say it’s about time, too, and highly well deserved!
The prestigious honour was presented in Paris by Sylviane Tarsot-Gillery, Director of Artistic Creation at the Ministry of Culture for the French government.
Givaudan say: ‘Calice is an exceptional, award-winning perfumer having created some of the world’s most recognisable fragrances of our time. She’s an extraordinary leader in the global perfumery community serving as the President of the International Society of Perfumer-Creators and also a dedicated advisor for aspiring young talents. She joins the small number of perfumers who have been recognised by the French Ministry of Culture with this honour.
In 1985, Calice began her perfumery training at Roure in Grasse which led her to Givaudan where she has passionately contributed as a perfumer for almost 40 years. She was appointed to the prominent position of Director of the Givaudan Perfumery School in 2017 where she leads the training and development of future perfumery artists. She combines her passion for sharing her knowledge of creation as well as her constant quest to enhance the creative process.
Calice’s creative success is unique in its breadth across the United States and Europe where her fragrances have marked eras and defined brands. Her creations include international classics such as: Monsieur Balmain by Balmain, Tommy Girl by Tommy Hilfiger, J’adore by Dior, Ambre Eccentrico by Armani Privé, Dylan Blue by Versace, and select By Kilian fragrances.
Calice Becker said: ‘I am truly honoured and gratified to receive this honour from the French Ministry of Culture. I feel privileged to join the small group of perfumers who have been recognised and I am especially pleased of the recognition it brings to celebrating the heritage of perfumery today.’
Maurizio Volpi, President of Givaudan’s Fragrance Division said: ‘Calice’s passion for perfume creation and dedication to training young perfumers is an inspiration to all of us at Givaudan. This honour celebrates her remarkable career in perfumery and her leadership in the industry. We congratulate her for this magnificent, highly deserved achievement.’
In fact, this is the second time a Givaudan Perfumer has received this accolade – the brilliant Daniela Andrier, Vice President Perfumer, attained the same honour in 2012. And we’re stringing out the bunting and waving the flags to celebrate this double female success in the perfume world!
Olivier Cresp, master perfumer at Firmenich, has been announced as the Fragrance Foundation’s 2018 Lifetime Achievement Perfumer Award recipient.
One of the perfumery world’s most distinguished figures, Olivier has hundreds of your favourite creations under his belt, including Midnight Poison, Estée Lauder Modern Muse (read on for your opportunity to try this one!) Penhaligon’s Peoneve and Juniper Sling, the utterly legendary Thierry Mugler Angel, Paco Rabanne Black XS, and one of the quartet of noses behind YSL’s Black Opium.
Quite the roll call, and that doesn’t even begin to list his successes!
Cresp was named a master perfumer in 2006, joined the Firmenich team in 1992 and was honored with the title Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres from the French Ministry of Culture in 2012.
Congratulating Olivier Cresp for his ‘well-deserved Lifetime Achievement Perfumer Award,’ Fragrance Foundation president Linda G. Levy went on to say they were ‘…thrilled to celebrate his artistry, passion, and contributions to the fragrance industry.’
Jerry Vittoria, president of fine fragrance worldwide for Firmenich, and chairman of the Fragrance Foundation Board, joined in the congratulations, commenting that ‘Perfumery has always been at the heart of Olivier’s family heritage.’ Vittoria went on to say that Cresp’s catalogue of work has been invaluable not only for fragrance lovers, but to inspire his fellow perfumers. ‘Working across generations, with a passion for constantly shaping new ideas, he has not only become one of the greatest creators of our time, but also one of the most sought-after mentors in our industry. We are so proud to see this recognition of his outstanding legacy.’
You can read more about Olivier Cresp (including his top tips on how to improve your own sense of smell) in our exclusive interview with him.
And why not treat your nose to the work of this genius perfumer to smell for yourself why he so deserves this lifetime achievement award? Many of you, we’re sure, have tried the unforgettable Angel, but how about this modern interpretation of an ambrée style floral…?
Estée Lauder’s Modern Muse was another of Olivier Cresp’s brilliant creations – a lush floral scent with enough woody swagger to intrigue your senses throughout the day. Warmly magnetic, it could well become your go-to from the boardroom to the bar… Try it in our Fashion, Fabric & Fragrance Discovery Box.
Dominique Ropion has long been thought of as a Master Perfumer, but now can officially add the title to his name having been bestowed that honour by IFF (International Flavors and Fragrances) – incredibly, only the second perfumer to be recognised with this title since 2013! It shows how seriously they take this award, for it’s a title that’s bandied around by many but truly earned by few.
‘At the heart of IFF are the people who consistently go above and beyond to passionately pursue their art and by doing so, revolutionise the industry,’ IFF chairman and CEO, Andreas Fibig enthused. ‘In his 17 years with us, Dominique has consistently achieved this outstanding level of creativity and passion for his art and our customers. We congratulate him on his many achievements – as we look forward to his future successes.’
‘Many achievements’ in fact seems something of an understatement when you see the panoply of perfumes he’s been responsible for – composing or co-creating fragrances for so many brands across the board it begins to look like something of a directory: from Frédéric Malle, Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior, Thierry Mugler, Lancôme, Givenchy, Issey Miyake, Paco Rabanne and through to the Body Shop, to name but a few.
Many of these creations have gone on to be global best-sellers, and we’ve certainly had the majority on our dressing tables over the years, so which of these (now official) five masterpieces have you tried so far…?
Absolutely deserving of the moniker ‘modern classic’, a scent that makes you smell instantly put-together and somehow even stand taller. The decadent Turkish rose is rippled through with blackcurrant, raspberry and clove, nestling on a bed of patchouli that sighs into silky sandalwood punctuated by wisps of frankincense. Sublime, a must-sniff!
Exotically seductive, this huge-hitting ambrée helped define an era with spicy clove dappling the heady jasmine, ylang ylang, Egyptian rose and iris bouquet, and an amber-speckled, Tahitian vanilla base that leaves a trail ensuring you’ll never be forgotten.
In this recently released third opus for the house, pear, rose (something of a signature for Ropion is his exquisitely refined handling of roses) and an aquatic accord melt seamlessly to a fluffy base of cashmeran, amber and sandalwood. Utterly wearable and quietly perfect for every day.
L’Eau d’Issey Pure Nectar de Parfum £62 for 50ml eau de parfum
Buy it at boots.com
A stunner of a scent, it’s buxomly bold enough for the original Alien (also a Ropion creation with Laurent Bruyere) fans, but with oodles of creamy wooziness amidst the jasmine, heliotrope, myrrh and cashmeran wood. Even refuseniks of the fabulously rambunctious Mugler creations have been converted.
Thierry Mugler Alien Essence Absolue £56 for 30ml eau de parfum
Buy it at mugler.co.uk
Ropion collaborated with fellow IFF perfumers Anne Flipo and Loc Dong for this sheer and salty swoon of ‘your skin but better’ type scent, with juicy, green citrus sashaying its way from a zip of ginger to the unctuously addictive salted vanilla base.
Paco Rabanne Olympéa £44 for 30ml eau de parfum
Buy it at superdrug.com
But how did a childhood convalescence in the mountains lead to Ropion becoming one of the greatest ever perfumers? Read on to find out if not all his scented secrets, then at least to gain a very good idea as to what makes this Master Perfumer tick.
What is your first memory of fragrance?
Dominique Ropion: ‘When sniffing chalk, my childhood school opens its door again. I smell ink, or paper glue, typical scent memories of French lower class schools, and my school playground appears, the games… My memories are scents. It is with the scents of guimauve (a typical French marshmallow) infused with lemon or orange flower that I took my first steps. They bring me back to the mountains, a landscape where I was reborn when I became conscious of my need to smell. I was 7 years old, was a young city boy exiled in the mountains as I had gotten very sick. I would stare at my bedroom ceiling looking for comfort, and spent the rest of my time inhaling mountain air and fresh field scents. I had been advised to breathe in as much as my lungs could take it, I did so, breathing in scents of heights. That’s how I became accustomed to smelling the world as if my life depended on it.’
What was your first job in the fragrance industry and how old were you?
‘I owe my education in fragrance to luck, which found me an internship at Roure as I was studying physics at university. I started with a 3 year academic training followed by 3 years of on the job training to become a perfumer. I will always remember my perfume “first time”. As I was a very young perfumer at Roure, one of the ideas I had been working on was selected to be presented amongst other works to the then President of Givenchy, Jean Courtiere. My fragrance was selected, and in 2 weeks, it was finalised. This became Ysatis. I call it beginner’s luck.’
Aside from becoming Master Perfumer at IFF, tell us about another career highlight…
‘Each new creation is a career highlight. I’ve been very lucky that I’ve worked for many prestigious brands, as well as for small and unknown brands or projects. Each time, I find an angle to spike my interest.’
What fragrance did you enjoy creating the most at IFF and why?
‘All of my fragrances are journeys, encounters, adventures. I can’t say there’s one that I enjoyed more than others. Each new creation teaches me something: about myself, about the ingredients I use, about the people I meet when creating. Of course I’m proud about the market successes I contributed to creating, but it’s definitely not my only criteria of “enjoyment”. Some of my creations I did alone, some with colleagues, some lasted years to finalise, some just a few months…’
When you begin designing a fragrance, where do you start? What process do you normally follow?
‘Since I left perfumery school, I’ve been obsessed with finding the perfect balance, like a tightrope walker. For each creation, I look for the perfect balance between each ingredient I carefully select to combine. This tightrope walker number may seem absurd, but I genuinely believe this is how I create, risking a fall with each new ingredient I add to the formula. To combine them, the perfumer has no alternative: he needs to start walking on the rope. It’s a very hands on job: a perfume requires hundreds and hundreds of trials… It’s a precision job.’
Where would you recommend a person begins if they want to become a perfumer?
‘At IFF, we have an internal perfumery school. Training the perfumers of the future is one of the aspects of my job I’m particularly passionate about. Some of the perfumers I have trained have become recognised and highly demanded ones, some are just starting their career. They all have very different personalities, but what characterised them all is of course their passion for scent, their curiosity for all ingredients, and some necessary qualities: resilience (bordering obstinacy), patience and a sense of details (borderline obsessive). It also requires very good listening skills, necessary to understand what brands desire, as we perfumers don’t create for our own sake, like artists would: we create in the world of brands, and all our creations are an encounter with the brands developers.’
What are the next big trends in fragrance in your opinion?
‘The next big trend really depends on the next big success… I can never explain the success of a perfume, I can only witness it. Each step of the way, I always feel like I’ve achieved a perfect balance, but I can never guess the public’s reaction. The success of a fragrance is always unpredictable. My next fragrance may set a big trend… or may not! Of course I’m always happy when it does, but I can only humbly say that there’s a perfumery magic I cannot explain.’
Original interview supplied by IFF, written by Suzy Nightingale
As part of the continuing celebrations for our third birthday (already – can you believe it?!) we’d love to share with you three of our favourite posts from over those momentous years.
We cover everything from just-launched fragrances to the history of perfume itself, with exclusive interviews and those ever-insightful (dare we say psychologically revealing?) chats in which the world’s top noses reveal their ‘five favourite smells’ and we delve deep in to the psyche of a perfumer’s imagination.
With an ever-growing features list that spans an encylopaedia of scented ingredients, a stack of fragrant reads and a worldwide perfume shopping guide – our archive is teaming with thousands (millions?) of words, so we can hardly blame you if you missed them the first time around!
We sadly can’t supply birthday cake for all, but might we suggest you treat yourself to a slice of something delicious and settle down with a cuppa for an evocatively fragrant catch-up of some of our favourite moments…?
Year One: that time we won an award that we weren’t even nominated for…
‘It’s not every day you get to say ‘today, as we breakfasted at BAFTA…’ but this morning, that’s exactly what we did while attending The Jasmine Awards – the premier awards for journalists writing on the subject of fragrance, and ‘The Oscars’ of the perfume world…
And (believe it or not), we were actually rendered speechless for quite some seconds – for at The Perfume Society, we were utterly thrilled/flabbergasted/over-the-moon (insert your own synonyms for giddy happiness, we’re still thinking of them!)…’
What got us so giddy? Read on to find out!
Year Two: that time we ate a scented supper created by a Michelin-trained chef…
‘American author, writer and pioneer natural perfumer Mandy Aftel is a force of nature, an inspiration to many and a good friend of The Perfume Society. So when she recently announced she’d be making a rare trip to our shores, we leapt at the chance chance to welcome her. And more than that, to introduce her to the brilliant chef behind our Scented Suppers – Pratap Chahal – who was, himself, inspired to explore the world of fragrant cooking through reading Mandy’s books…’
Year Three: that time we found out what makes Guerlain’s Thierry Wasser tick…
‘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…’
Thierry’s tip for improving your own sense of smell? Find it, here…
So what’s in store for the next few years? Well, we don’t need a crystal ball to tell you we’ve some fantastically exciting events coming up, a wealth of intriguing Discovery Boxes for you to delve in to and all manner of finger-on-the-pulse perfume news and exclusive features in our award-winning magazine.
And just like you, we’re always hungry for more…
Written by Suzy Nightingale
The fourth annual Art and Olfaction Awards were announced on May 6, and with a heady melange of strong candidates in the running as finalists, we were so thrilled and proud to see that BeauFort London won for their outstanding fragrance Fathom V in the Independent Category. In fact, though the awards ceremony were held in Berlin this year, we’re pretty sure you could have heard us whooping all the way from the UK!
Based in Los Angeles, the The Art and Olfaction Awards are designed to ‘…raise interest and awareness for independent and artisan perfumers – and experimental practitioners with scent – from all countries.’ More than simple recognition for the immense hours of hard work undertaken by these small and proudly independent fragrance houses, the award founders explain that, ‘by shining a spotlight on perfumery’s most outstanding creators, we hope to help generate support for independent practices in perfumery as a whole.’
We have long known and celebrated the importance of niche fragrance houses and the great influence they now carry for the designer brands and the trickle-down effect they have for the mainstream market. Those mega brands now showcasing “unisex” scents in paired-down bottles across the range, florals for men and unusual note combinations? All these trends began long ago in the niche world – think of them as catwalk couture influencing eventual high street styles.
Of course, before BeauFort London had even officially launched, we were championing the house based on love at first sniff of their historically inspired yet ultra contemporary scents, and you can read our interview with founder Leo Crabtree, here.
Read our page dedicated to the BeauFort London to find out more about their inspirations and our thoughts on some of the fragrances themselves, but for those of you who haven’t yet tried the (now award-winning!) Fathom V – get ready to have your senses beguiled. It’s one of the most incredible shared fragrances we’ve smelled for some time – a humongously green, tousled bouquet of flowers tossed into roiling waves as guns fire a salute, sinking in to salty, opaque waters cloaking hidden treasures in the shdowy depths… And you can try it for yourself at home in our Precious Perfumes Discovery Box.
We would like to extend our congratulations to all the finalists in this hotly contested year, and are busily reading up on some of the more artisinal houses we’ve not yet had the pleasure of exploring. So really, think of the entire list of finalists as your must-sniff guide to all that’s uber-cool right now in the perfume world.
And for 2017, the winners are…
ARTISAN CATEGORY WINNERS Bruise Violet
by Sixteen92 (USA)
CD/ Perfumer: Claire Baxter
Presented by judge Luca Turin Mélodie de l’Amour
by Parfums Dusita(France)
CD/ Perfumer: Pissara Umavijani
Presented by 2014 winner Tanja Bochnig
Dedicated fragrance blogger I Scent You a Day set herself the challenge of wearing a different perfume every single day of the year, without bankrupting herself by buying 365 differing bottles of scent! One of the ways she’s been able to follow this perfumed pilgramage, and write about it so entertainingly, is by regularly purchasing our Discovery Boxes of fragrance minis and samples – many of which are impossible to find elsewhere, and have led to a love for rising-stars of the niche world along with classics of the genre and even pre-launch sneak-previews.
We were absolutely thrilled to hear that in her round-up of ‘the very best of scents’ for 2016 – a.k.a The Iscents – The Perfume Society were honoured with a Fellowship Award!
Indeed, the Fellowship Award was specifically invented for us, because we ‘[defy] other categopries.’
As explained in the post describing the award categories and why the winners were chosen, ‘Not only do they provide white boxes of treasure that even the most jaded perfume palate would salivate at, but they’re a sort of Mothership that we can all turn to when we get a bit lost in the murky depths of fruity-florals-chypres-colognes-my-nose-is-confused-help! Ever had a day like that? I have. The Perfume Society Scented Letter magazine also makes me settle down with a contented sigh and think “I’ve found my tribe” as I read what other perfume obsessives are up to. Fumeheads, you are not alone.’ Blushingly, we gratefully accept this award, and are so glad to have played a significant part in I Scent You a Day’s continuing fragrant journey… and hopefully, in yours!
Written by Suzy Nightingale