Yes, it’s THAT DAY, and while we eagerly await the better day that follows (happy half-price chocolate-box day, everyone!) we are pondering on the many ways in which scent can set our hearts a-flutter.
Of course we have incredibly strong emotional responses to fragrance – as has been proved by many scientific studies – and about which we are learning more all the time. It’s a fact: smelling something you adore lights up particular parts of the brain that little else can reach.
But it’s not just the perfumes themselves that we love: how about celebrating the fact that the once obscure ‘noses’, those who create the masterpieces we love, and the people who are so inspired by their passion for fragrance they go on to found a whole new house, have finally stepped into the limelight they so deserve?
There may still be some who, when they imagine a perfumer, picture them beavering away in ivory towers (or secret laboratories) – ancient, scented Methuselahs with mad-scientist hair and perhaps a long beard – aeons of scent wisdom etched into their care-worn features. Now, while some may indeed have more than a hint of the mad-scientist about them (naming no names), we are here to tell you that many noses (and indeed founders of the houses) today are stepping out from the labs so we can get to know all about them, not just their creations.
We don’t have the time or space to include all of our favourite perfumers and founders (how could you choose?) but here’s a little list of some of those remarkably talented people we’re sending our heartfelt love to this year…
Pierre Guillaume – When he was only 25, his first composition ‘Cozé’ was an immediate success, with esteemed New York Times fragrance critic Chandler Burr dubbing his creations “the coolest new European fragrances from a young French chemist”. Not a bad start, then, and after founding Parfumerie Generale and Huitième Art Parfums, his scents are still causing great excitement.
Mathilde Laurent – Ultra-cool with a no-nonsense rock ‘n’ roll style and yet seamlessly carrying on the tradition of translating the glamorous Cartier image into contemporary fragrances with timeless appeal, Mathilde is one of very few in-house perfumers, and also creates exquisite bespoke perfumes in their oppulent Parisian boutique. We admit to having a total girl-crush!
Thierry Wasser – All his predesessors were Guerlains, but his sheer talent shone through and Jean-Paul Guerlain himself appointed Wasser as the successor to the role of head nose for Guerlain – entrusting him with the top secret ‘Formula book’ passed down through generations of the family, and resting securely in his hands. Charmingly elegant, always with a twinkle in his eye, his knowledge and humour always seem in harmonious balance.
Lyn Harris – Not content with setting up Miller Harris, Lyn has now gone back to her bespoke perfumery roots with Perfumer H – a jaw-dropping selection of scents that will change each season in the most stylish shop we’ve seen for ages. Laid-back, highly talented, she’s like the coolest girl at school you always wanted to be…
David Frossard – Owner of niche perfume house, Frapin, he was previously export director for L’Artisan Parfumeur and Penhaligon’s before starting – Différent Latitudes – an alternative perfumery brand representing, distributing and communicating for 20 independent brands in over 50 countries. He also gives kickboxing classes, apparently. Sign us up!
Cécile Zarokian – When your first ever professional fragrance creation is Amouage Epic Woman, you have a lot to live up to, but Cécile more than rose to the challenge – already creating over forty fragrances for various niche houses like Jovoy Paris, MDCI, Jacques Fath, Laboratorio Olfattivo, and the entire Château de Versailles scented candles collection. We’re always fascinated to see what she does next…
Ben Gorham – Intrigued by scent and memory after visiting his mother’s hometown in India and being passionately stirred by spices and incense, Ben graduated from art school but – following a chance meeting with perfumer Pierre Wulff – became convinced his furture lay in perfumery rather than the world of art alone. Founding BYREDO, the house is known for understated, refined, fragrances that appeal to all the senses.
Julie Massé – Hailing from a Grasse family, once Julie graduated from perfumery school, she gained the remarkable opportunity to train with perfume legends like Christine Nagel and Pierre Bourdon, and is now principal perfumer at Shay & Blue. A young perfumer who delights in taking classic accords and weaving her own contemporary style in to each creation, she’s already developed her own unique nose’s scent signature.
Carlos Huber – Training as an architect, Carlos was inspired by his Mexico City roots and the diverse mixture of Aztec, Spanish Colonial, contemporary buildings and culture surrounding him. Creating luxury spaces and instillations with historical references for Polo Ralph Lauren, Carlos was increasingly drawn to his love of fragrance, eventually founding the house of Arquiste and wooing the noses of many fragrance aficionado around the world.
Written by Suzy Nightingale (with input from various members of The Perfume Society Team)