Thirteen Thoughts: Perfumer Interview Series – Sarah McCartney of 4160Tuesdays

thirteen-thoughts-v2_800_shadowThirteen thoughts from perfumers around the globe. Each perfumer profiled at Perfume Polytechnic has been presented with the same set of thirteen questions that probe into scent memories, imagination, education, history, the creative process and philosophy. How each perfumer answers these questions, and what form the answers take, is up to them. Tune in each week for a new instalment to learn more about the olfactory arts and how perfumers think about smell.

This interview is the last of five, weekly instalments of Thirteen Thoughts, a Perfumer Interview Series for now. Today, London-based Sarah McCartney of 4160Tuesdays answers the thirteen questions.

I want to let each perfumer speak for themselves about who they are, what drives them, and what they do with fragrance, so without any further ado, I introduce you to…

Sarah McCartney of 4160Tuesdays

Sarah McCartney

Sarah McCartney

  1. Tell us about a significant olfactory memory from your childhood.

When I was two years old I liked the smell from our mock orange bush so much that I pushed some buds right up my nose. My mother shoved me in the pram and sprinted to the doctors.

  1. What is your “origin story”? When, why and how did you decide to become a perfumer?

It happened in stages. I’d been dabbling with essential oils because I needed to understand the materials I was writing about for Lush. I wrote and edited the Lush Times [a printed publication produced for Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics] for 14 years, and a lot of that involved describing scents. To cut a long story short, I took a short break from Lush in 2010 but never went back.

I left to write a novel about a problem-solving perfumer who would give each of her clients a bottle of scent to remind them of their happy times. I tried to find all the fragrances I was describing in the book but couldn’t find anything like them, so I decided to have a crack at making them for myself. Then, people would ask me how the novel was coming along, but instead of wanting to read my book, my friends and family kept asking me to make them scents to sum up their happy memories.

I met Odette Toilette [a “purveyor of olfactory adventures”, also from London] one day at a friend’s house, got out the fragrances for her to smell, and she organised one of her Scratch + Sniff events which featured them, and Liz Moores’ scents too. Jo Fairley of The Perfume Society was in the audience, and so were Claire Hawksley and Nick Gilbert from Les Senteurs. Jo wrote about me and Nick talked Claire into stocking my perfumes. That’s about it.

  1. Do you have any formal training in perfumery, or are you self-taught? Have there been any mentors or other personal or cultural influences on your work as a perfumer?

Often I’m described as self-taught. That’s not quite true although I haven’t been to perfume school, and I haven’t studied alongside any other perfumers. What I did do was read every book I could get my hands on – I was always the school swot – and I took Karen Gilbert’s courses, mostly to get my hands on synthetic raw materials which are very difficult to experience outside the big companies. Very hard to get in small quantities when you’re working alone. I also did the Perfumers World one week course in London a couple of years ago, and bought up over a hundred 10 ml bottles of synthetics to take away with me and study at the end of it. I’m about to start another course because you can always learn more.

Mind you, I think the advantage not having learnt the way that you’re supposed to do things means that I have approached my perfumes in ways which I have since been told are impossible. If I’d believed there were impossible perhaps I never would have tried them. Of course it turns out that many of them are perfectly possible; it’s just generally not done. Learning from someone else can make things a lot quicker but it can put the blinkers on you.

What I do is learn in stages. I’ll find out that I need to sit down and do another great stack of learning to take me to the next place that I need to be. So I sit down and do it.

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Some of the 4160Tuesdays range

  1. Who are your favourite perfumers or perfume houses, and what do you like about their work?

I just look for scents that make me love them, then I’ll often find that their perfumers have also made other things I adore.

I like Jean-Claude Ellena’s deeper scents like In Love Again for Yves St Laurent, and Bois Farine for L’Artisan Parfumeur, and Olivia Giacobetti’s Tea for Two.

I love Lipstick Rose by Ralph Schweiger for Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle. For the same company Dans Tes Bras by Maurice Roucel, who also did the wonderful Tocade for Rochas, New Haarlem for Bond No 9 and Guet Apens for Guerlain. All quite brilliantly delicious.

It’s well worth looking on Basenotes.net perfumers directory and clicking on the name of the perfumer who made one of your favourites. Although some of their works may seem to have nothing in common with each other there will be something that links all, a common olfactory thread. That’s what I find, anyway.

Houses: I’m very fond of Guerlain, Frederic Malle, Serge Lutens and Les Parfums de Rosine.

  1. Describe your brand to us: tell us about the kind(s) of perfume that you make, as well as your brand’s philosophy or ethos.

As I started by trying to create scents which recapture people’s happy times, I had a habit of making things which have a certain retro feel to them. People and the press described them as “vintage”. I then discovered that the way in which I blend materials was in use in small perfumeries in the early 20th century to around about the 1960s, when the GCMS [Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry] machines  started to take over. My style is to use a complex natural material (all natural is complex) enhanced or boosted by complimentary synthetics, and it turns out that this was the way perfumes were made for decades. I didn’t know that, I just did it because it suited me; it got me the results that I needed.

I don’t have a thing about using naturals or synthetics; I use whatever will make the right effect, as long as it’s safe, not endangered, complies with EU regulations, is cruelty free, available to me and affordable. Some materials are only available through the five major fragrance and flavour companies that manufacture them. I’m not worried about perfume fashion, as I seem to be ploughing this vintage furrow of my own, so it doesn’t bother me if I miss out on the latest magical molecule only available from one of the big guys.

As for the rest of the company, I aim to be kind, fair, and to keep my perfumes affordable. I am not a fan of that school of marketing which insists that you charge the earth for your products if people are daft enough to pay it. I’m not targeting the super-rich (except for one particular perfume, but what I do for bespoke customers is another story). I want my friends to be able to buy them. Even if I do make an extrait from super expensive materials I’ll still sell 4ml bottles so everyone can have a go. There’s a lot of poppycock talked about perfume; I don’t subscribe to it.

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  1. How do you come up with the idea for a new perfume? For example, do ideas come to you spontaneously, do you work conceptually, or do you try to fill gaps in your range?

It all depends on the scent. Sometimes I think of a name, then I have to make perfume to fit it. Inevitable Crimes of Passion is one of them (that’s not out yet). Often, I’m trying to capture a place I’ve been to or a memory I have, like The Dark Heart of Old Havana or What I Did On My Holidays.

It can be someone else’s idea. I would never have made Rome 1963 if Peroni hadn’t asked me to create it for them, and sent their stylist, Silvia Bergomi, to work with me. She had a really clear idea of what she wanted which was great because we only had a day to make it. So then I ended up with a white flowers, woods and tobacco fragrance which I probably wouldn’t have started because I was never that fond of white flowers.

Centrepiece is made with frangipani that I had bought in specially for a bespoke project, then when my new friend Mohammed Fawaz visited the studio, he picked it out, with a handful of other materials he liked and said, “please would you make me one that smells of these?” So I blended them with some other materials to make it all work, and the result was what I suspect will be our next bestseller.

It’s not in my nature to create something to fill a gap in the range, but it happens like that because of circumstances.

Sometimes I just wake up in the morning knowing I have to make something. Midnight in the Palace Garden (in progress) is one of those. Occasionally I do it as an intellectual exercise, which is actually the way that The Sexiest Scent On The Planet. Ever (IMHO) came about. It was a base that had to provide smoothness and softness for blending with gin botanicals. It just turned out that this smoothness and softness was exactly what people wanted – by itself.

  1. What element of your perfume making process do you think readers of this blog would be interested or surprised to learn about?

Perhaps they would be interested to realise how important the maths is. I spent 20 years thinking that my two maths A levels and half a maths degree had been a complete waste of time, and although I never use advanced calculus these days, when I have to do some scaling up or down and some averagely complicated maths to work out what proportions of different blends I need to use, or how to create the final formula for materials I’ve used at different concentrations, that’s as easy as falling off a log. I’ve seen people turn pale at the idea of just having to multiply their formula by a factor of 10.

If you want to make your own perfumes, and you’re not that hot at maths, you’ll need to get someone to sit next to you who is.

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Sarah’s workspace

  1. What are the current challenges you face as a perfumer, both creatively and in regard to manufacturing, distributing and marketing your perfume?

I do hate sales. I’m not good at picking up the phone, leaving a message, then picking it up again the next day, and the next. I don’t really like negotiating, or having to make new contacts.

I love it when shops call me and ask if they can stock my scents. Fortunately that happens quite a lot, but I still have to allocate time to getting out there and into more shops.

I spend too much time answering people’s emails, doing the accounts, doing the stock checks, chasing up all the EU safety data I need for certification, sending links to press photos, getting deliveries to the right places at the right times. I just want to be in my creative corner making lovely things.

Creatively, I don’t really mind the regulations, as they force you to use your ingenuity.

Distribution, as you well know, is a complete nightmare now that perfume is classed as Dangerous Goods. How I wish I could get mine to Australia. Every box I pack to Lucky Scent, our biggest stockist in the US, plus the goddamn paperwork, takes half a day.

  1. How has your work as a perfumer affected your perception of everyday smells?

Everyday smells are a constant source of inspiration. I walk past the Acton water processing works every morning and evening, so sometimes there is a very strong smell of poo, and I just think, “Hmmm, indole.” Cat pee is buchu essential oil or blackcurrant bud absolute. Yesterday on the bus someone stank more of garlic than I thought it was possible to stink; I just find it interesting. Shrubs can stop me dead in the street. Some beguiling flower will be wafting a glorious fragrance and I have to track it and trace it and stick my head into its source. One day I’ll probably get arrested.

I’ll also spend a lot of time with my nose stuck in my husband’s glass of port, until this starts to irritate him and he asks if he can please drink it. I used to be very sceptical about people who said they could detect caramel or black currants in wine, but now it seems obvious. Scents have stopped being good or bad to me and have just become more interesting.

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A range of smaller bottles from 4160Tuesdays

  1. Many ingredients that are edible are also used in fragrance (chocolate, vanilla, coffee and rose, to name a few). If you could reverse this process and turn any perfume ingredient into an edible ingredient, what would that be? Which fragrance ingredient do you think would taste nice as a flavour?

I’d like to eat opoponax.

  1. If you had a time machine, which historical period in perfumery would you like to go back to and work in as a perfumer?

I’m quite happy working now, in the style of the 1920s to the 1970s.

  1. If you could invent a new olfactory gadget, tool or technology, what would it be and how would it benefit perfumers and/or society?

I would invent the process that enables rose absolute, jasmine absolute and geranium essential oils to smell exactly the way they do and not be restricted for cosmetic use.

  1. What is the purpose of perfume?

Perfume is for making new memories and recalling distant ones.


I hope you’ve enjoyed the final instalment of Perfume Polytechnic’s first Perfumer Interview Series with Sarah McCartney of 4160Tuesdays. Further series of Thirteen Thoughts will feature on Perfume Polytechnic in the near future!

I want to thank Sarah for taking time out of a very busy schedule to answer these questions. I loved all of her interesting and amusing answers, but particularly loved reading about how her idea for a novel turned into a new career as a perfumer! I also like how Sarah aims to make her fragrances affordable to all.

If you’d like to find out more about 4160Tuesdays, visit the website. You can also find 4160Tuesdays fragrances listed on Fragrantica and Basenotes.

4160Tuesdays is currently crowdfunding to create a new range of seven fragrances: The Crimes of Passion series. If you’re keen to read about the project and help out, click here.

You can buy Sarah McCartney’s novel The Scent of Possibility here.

Previous Interviews

Last week, Paul Kiler of PK Perfumes was interviewed. You can catch up on his interview here. In week three, Angelo Orazio Pregoni of O’Driù answered the thirteen questions. You can read his very unconventional answers here! If you’d like to catch up with week 2’s interview with Mark Evans of Evocative Perfumes, click here. Emma Leah of Fleurage was interviewed in week 1 of Thirteen Thoughts. To read Emma’s interview, click here.

I’d like to extend a warm and hearty thank you to all of the perfumers who participated in this first series of Thirteen Thoughts: Perfumer Interview Series. I hope to be back shortly with a new series of Thirteen Thoughts, featuring interesting perfumers from across the globe. Suggestions on who you would like to see interviewed in the future are welcome, please share your ideas with me in the comments section below!

Thirteen Thoughts: Perfumer Interview Series – Paul Kiler of PK Perfumes

thirteen-thoughts-v2_800_shadowThirteen thoughts from perfumers around the globe. Each perfumer profiled at Perfume Polytechnic has been presented with the same set of thirteen questions that probe into scent memories, imagination, education, history, the creative process and philosophy. How each perfumer answers these questions, and what form the answers take, is up to them. Tune in each week for a new instalment to learn more about the olfactory arts and how perfumers think about smell.

Today’s interview is the fourth of five weekly instalments of Thirteen Thoughts, a Perfumer Interview Series. Today, American perfumer Paul Kiler of PK Perfumes answers the thirteen questions. Next week’s instalment will feature 4160Tuesdays’ Sarah McCartney.

I want to let each perfumer speak for themselves about who they are, what drives them, and what they do with fragrance, so without any further ado, I introduce you to…

Paul Kiler of PK Perfumes

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Paul Kiler of PK Perfumes

  1. Tell us about a significant olfactory memory from your childhood.

When I was nine years old, my Grandparents moved from Los Angeles to retire in the California Gold Country foothills, near Sutter Creek, where gold was first found in California in 1848. They bought a house in the mountains in the Gold Country of California, east of Stockton CA. They moved there after retiring from Los Angeles, up to the mountains, which seemed quite remote, to a 9-year-old. Not too many people lived on their mountain then. What I enjoyed when I went to visit was all of the natural scents from their environment. They were in the middle of many cedars, some of which were Incense Cedars. Pine trees, Oak trees, Manazanita bushes/trees, rich red earth, and my beloved meadow ground covering that I loved to walk through and smell. They called it “Mountain Misery”. I was always puzzled by why it had such a hateful name, considering how much I loved its scent. In the summer, this plant has a tremendous odor strength; the little 18” ferns would become laden with a sticky resin that I’ve since learned contains between 10–12% essential oils, which is extremely high for a natural material to contain.

The Mountain Misery would stick to my shoes and pant legs when I walked through it. It had a really strong odor, and because it came packaged in a sticky resin, the odor would last for almost a week on your clothes and shoes. I revelled in it when I went to visit them. I’ve since learned that it was called Mountain Misery because it is almost impossible to eradicate for people who wished to remove it and “settle” some land without this ground covering. It seems to be the first thing that comes back after a forest fire, and chokes out other plants, and effectively monopolizes the ground where it grows. I now use the Native name of “Kit-Kit-Dizzie” instead. I wanted to bring these forest memories and even the scent of Kit-Kit-Dizzie into a perfume and it is my perfume called Ere. I love this memory perfume based on my first love affair with scent.

I just loved that smell. When I became a Perfumer, I went back to the mountains where that plant grows, and picked some to tincture for making my fragrance Ere. Ere to me is the scent of the Forest in a bottle. Ere is based on my scent memory of being a small boy running around in the forest of California.

Since I am very much the Artist and Photographer/Observer, what started my love affair with fragrance began with my fascination and appreciation of Beauty, in my case, the Beauty of the natural world around me. An observational and contemplative perspective: Seeing, Listening, Smelling, Hearing, Touching. These of course are the basis of life experience and the initiation of Art. Really, it’s simply paying attention to what you experience. Being an Artist in every medium, including Perfumery, is indeed about paying acute attention to what you experience.

  1. What is your “origin story”? When, why and how did you decide to become a perfumer?

I think that the “scent of place” fascinated me long before Perfume fascinated me, as my story above mentions. But “Perfume” started to fascinate me when I started to be an adult in my 20’s, and I could experience a new scent art form… namely the colognes of the day that I could put on and be enveloped and almost overwhelmed with. This was a great experience to feel. I was mostly appreciative of an early scent, Grey Flannel. I loved how it was very “Orchestral” and multi-dimensional, and it very much related to Time, almost as a performance. I loved to experience Grey Flannel with its facets that seemed to change with different wearings, and it also changed over time. I learned that a fragrance could indeed be Symphonic in scope. This was a real revelation and experience for me in my tender 20’s.

We moved away from the Beach, where I was used to going into the garage and making art in the temperate environment there. We bought a house inland, halfway between Los Angeles and the Beach, and the hot desert of Palm Springs. This meant that it was extremely hot in the summer in the garage, and would freeze at night in the winter. So this weather extreme drove me inside for artistic expression. It was then that I started to explore the path of Perfumery, looking for a way to create a scent for myself that I not only liked (as opposed to so much of the mass market Men’s fragrances at the time that were hideous) and also I have some allergies to materials, so I wanted to wear what didn’t give me headaches. I also have a strong distaste for the overabundance of Vanillic scents in the American culture of fragrance and flavors. So I had set for myself a task, and set about solving the issues related to the problem.

It was January 2005 when we moved and I started shortly thereafter exploring fragrance composition. As I grew in acquisition of materials, skills, knowledge, and all other things pertinent to the Art of Perfumery, I kept up my regular job, and studied, studied, and studied. I’d been looking for an Artistic pursuit that didn’t matter where I lived, and Perfumery really fit the bill, and fit me and my talents, persona, and contemplative spirit.

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Paul Kiler of PK Perfumes

  1. Do you have any formal training in perfumery, or are you self-taught? Have there been any mentors or other personal or cultural influences on your work as a perfumer?

I am completely Self Taught, and have been almost completely self-taught in many of the Artistic disciplines that I’ve worked in. I’ve chosen to occupy the boundless territory that lies beyond the convention of College degrees and external cultural validation of a set of informational and educational constructs. Many of my different resumes have this across the top:

“All men who have turned out worth anything have had the chief hand in their own education.”

Sir Walter Scott

Cultural influences/influencers/Mentors have been several communities of fellow learning Perfumers found in Internet discussion groups facilitated by the major search engines. It is here that I started as a know-nothing plebe, and now years later, I moderate for the largest of these groups, which has 2,200 Perfumer members worldwide.

  1. Who are your favourite perfumers or perfume houses, and what do you like about their work?

My favorite Perfume Houses are Frederic Malle and Zoologist. These are my favorites because they are driven by visionary people who help direct and curate and free the Perfumers to create works of Olfactory Art that exist well outside the mass market drivel produced for the world.

My favorite Perfumers? Ernest Beaux, Henri Robert, and Dominique Ropion. The first two perfumers are old-school and worked with many naturals in their perfumes (as I also choose to do so when composing perfumes). I really admire Dominique Ropion, who composed Frederic Malle’s Carnal Flower, which is a stunning tuberose. He also composed many more fragrances for the Frederic Malle line as well.

  1. Describe your brand to us: tell us about the kind(s) of perfume that you make, as well as your brand’s philosophy or ethos.

My tagline is: Handmade Artisanal and Real Perfumes For All – Complex, Enigmatic, and Luxurious.

My great hope is to make perfumes of great grace and beauty that people can experience the best of their lives in, and if possible, help them even to amplify their experience of life and loves…

  1. How do you come up with the idea for a new perfume? For example, do ideas come to you spontaneously, do you work conceptually, or do you try to fill gaps in your range?

Artistic inspiration comes from so many sources, maybe a place, an abstract idea, a romance, a flower, or a really great material. Starting with the idea, then thinking about what else compliments and reinforces the concept. Sometimes surprises walk in and tear it apart, sending it in an unexpected direction, or can work out so very nicely. I think in this part of creation, that I am more experiential than theoretical. Success can come quickly sometimes, or with many months or years of trying to make your vision a reality. Perfumery is very contemplative, and also then, much patience is often required.

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PK Perfumes – some of the range

  1. What element of your perfume making process do you think readers of this blog would be interested or surprised to learn about?

PLAY: The concept of “Play” is extremely important for me. Giving myself the freedom to play and seek, and find and fail are all so important to this Art form. “Play” allows for dynamics of interesting juxtapositions and contrast to happen without predictions of results, and this happy play can have astounding results and consequences.

COLOR and FEELING: If I am trying to illustrate a color in a perfume or trying to emulate a feeling, these can be very different or difficult, and require much thought, and trial and error to encapsulate in a perfume, because these things work on our own learned experiences and associations with scent, and can be extremely personal. This is a difficulty in the Art of Perfumery.

  1. What are the current challenges you face as a perfumer, both creatively and in regard to manufacturing, distributing and marketing your perfume?

SCALE: Manufacturing, distributing and marketing are all challenging and engage all your capabilities and vulnerabilities regardless of the scale of your business or how you make perfume. Both larger scale and smaller scale production generate their own issues to work through, and when moving upscale there are translational issues that need hard work to make the scent work in a larger scale as well as it did in the smaller scale.

REGULATIONS: The current IFRA recommendations and EU regulations are throttling the entire Perfume Industry and is making the creation of REAL Perfumes extremely difficult, almost to the point of impossibility. I define REAL PERFUMES as the classic style that existed pre-regulations, where one combines the best naturals with the best aromatic materials to create and design the best possible perfumes. As it stands now, the usage of Naturals is being extremely curtailed almost to the point of it being pointless for them to even exist, as well as all of the occupations that go into the making of these naturals too… THIS IS AN INTERNATIONAL TRAVESTY. I can’t speak out ENOUGH in protest of this regulational idiocy, and destruction of our worldwide Perfume Heritage and culture, and the destruction of the Jobs of poor farmers and workers around the world.

  1. How has your work as a perfumer affected your perception of everyday smells?

My new Artistic Profession has heightened my analytical capability to dissect smells that I perceive into their individual molecular constituents. This has seemed so far to be more amusing to me than an annoyance. It also helps me to tear apart the odors experienced in flavors too.

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Ere by Paul Kiler for PK Perfumes

  1. Many ingredients that are edible are also used in fragrance (chocolate, vanilla, coffee and rose, to name a few). If you could reverse this process and turn any perfume ingredient into an edible ingredient, what would that be? Which fragrance ingredient do you think would taste nice as a flavour?

I think that Labdanum resin would make a really great flavor, and would be on the top of my list… It has a really warm, ambery long-lasting wonderful odor profile. It would make some lovely desserts I think…

  1. If you had a time machine, which historical period in perfumery would you like to go back to and work in as a perfumer?

There’s no time like the Present. The current day is by far my choice, without question.

  1. If you could invent a new olfactory gadget, tool or technology, what would it be and how would it benefit perfumers and/or society?

To benefit Perfumers, or at least something that *I REALLY* want, is a pocket headspace GC-MS analyser, capable of telling you the molecular makeup and constituents of whatever you are smelling at that moment, or of a particular item or flower…

To benefit the rest of the world: the same thing, as it would allow much more natural smelling fragrances to mimic the natural world better.

  1. What is the purpose of perfume?

Freedom – the freedom to help us experience great Grace and Love in our every moment, if we choose to enjoy it. And still retain the freedom to choose not to wear Perfume and instead experience the place that we presently occupy, and the scents of the people around us.

Thanks for allowing me to explore these thoughts with all of you here,

Fragrantly Yours,

Paul Kiler

PK Perfumes


I hope you’ve enjoyed the fourth instalment of Perfume Polytechnic’s Perfumer Interview Series with Paul Kiler of PK Perfumes. I want to thank Paul very much for his passionate and interesting answers! If you’d like to find out more about PK Perfumes and Paul Kiler’s range of fragrances, visit the PK Perfumes Website. You can also find PK Perfumes listed on Fragrantica.

Last week Angelo Orazio Pregoni of O’Driù answered the thirteen questions. You can read his very unconventional interview here! If you’d like to catch up with week 2’s interview with Mark Evans of Evocative Perfumes, click here. Emma Leah of Fleurage was interviewed in week 1 of Thirteen Thoughts. To read Emma’s interview, click here.

NEXT WEEK’S Thirteen Thoughts: Perfumer Interview Series will feature Sarah McCartney of 4160Tuesdays. Make sure you visit Perfume Polytechnic again this time next week to find out how Sarah answers the same thirteen questions!

Thirteen Thoughts: Perfumer Interview Series – Angelo Orazio Pregoni of O’Driù

thirteen-thoughts-v2_800_shadowThirteen thoughts from perfumers around the globe. Each perfumer profiled at Perfume Polytechnic has been presented with the same set of thirteen questions that probe into scent memories, imagination, education, history, the creative process and philosophy. How each perfumer answers these questions, and what form the answers take, is up to them. Tune in each week for a new instalment to learn more about the olfactory arts and how perfumers think about smell.

Today’s interview is the third of five weekly instalments of Thirteen Thoughts, a Perfumer Interview Series. Today’s interview is with Italian perfumer Angelo Orazio Pregoni of O’Driù. Future instalments will feature PK Perfumes’ Paul Kiler and 4160Tuesdays’ Sarah McCartney.

O’Driù – A Brief Introduction

Amongst perfume enthusiasts, independent perfume house O’Driù is often considered controversial. For example, in 2013,  O’Driù released the divisive Peety, a fragrance that is supposed to be completed or personalised by adding 1ml of the owner’s urine. O’Driù’s fragrances are often filled with conceptual or imaginary fragrance notes or ingredients, including “bitter battle”, “the nightmare that reveals the pleasure” and “the hug of a woman”. Perfumer Angelo Orazio Pregoni’s work at O’Driù displays a friendly playfulness combined with the intention to shock. In combination with references to high art and culture, this combines to create a very interesting aesthetic full of tension and friction. I think O’Driù is creating some of the most interesting work out there in contemporary perfumery, conceptually and artistically.

At the bottom of this page, I reflect on my own thoughts about Angelo’s answers and O’Driù. As I don’t want to let my ideas influence your experience of this very interesting interview, I have left my thoughts until the end.

Without any further ado, let me introduce you to…

Angelo Orazio Pregoni of O’Driù

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Angelo Orazio Pregoni of O’Driù

  1. Tell us about a significant olfactory memory from your childhood.

The story would take too long to explain however as soon as my mother conceived me she was forced to escape to save my life. We hid in a trunk on the deck of a pirate ship that sailed away while my mother cradled me inside. Near the island of Serifo the trunk was thrown overboard and was recovered by a fisher named Ditti, the brother of the island tyrant, Polidette. Ditti brought the trunk to shore thinking it contained treasure and opened it. The smell of fish was so strong that it overwhelmed mother, who fainted while I cried. That is therefore the first smell I recall, fish.

  1. What is your “origin story”? When, why and how did you decide to become a perfumer?

Being the product of incest between my mother Mirra and her father, my adolescence wasn’t all that happy! You can imagine the social bias I was subjected to. So for a while I took care of the preparation of salves to be used during sacred ceremonies, the only activity I was allowed to undertake. As my birth was considered “inhuman” so my “touch” was thought alike to that of the Gods.

  1. Do you have any formal training in perfumery, or are you self-taught? Have there been any mentors or other personal or cultural influences on your work as a perfumer?

I think that schools are suitable only for French people, with French tastes and French formulas. No external influence will ever affect a person’s DNA, however a person is the result of accumulated experience. In this case I recall happy memories about a time in my life when I was living with a prostitute, a woman who welcomed me into her house just because she was in love with me! Rosa, that was her name, used to grease her hats with rancid butter and white flower essences and my nose was greatly influenced by this.

  1. Who are your favourite perfumers or perfume houses, and what do you like about their work?

I don’t like fantasy characters!

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Angelo Orazio Pregoni of O’Driù

  1. Describe your brand to us: tell us about the kind(s) of perfume that you make, as well as your brand’s philosophy or ethos.

There is no philosophy at all behind my brand! I am my brand and my perfume.

  1. How do you come up with the idea for a new perfume? For example, do ideas come to you spontaneously, do you work conceptually, or do you try to fill gaps in your range?

As originality is not my strong point I try to participate in as many fairs as I can to steal some hints from other perfume houses. I often go to perfume shops and if I find something good, that is the so-called best sellers, I just copy them.

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“O Shame! Where is thy blush? Panty (about Peety)” signed art work by Angelo Orazio Pregoni (100/100).

  1. What element of your perfume making process do you think readers of this blog would be interested or surprised to learn about?

Everybody will be surprised to know (no doubt) that none of my perfumes contain urine! For the rest I use casks from King Arthur’s time to perfect the perfume (though I have no idea of their purpose). In my living room I do the distillation of essences from my neighbour’s trees and flowers. Each perfume is magically tied to the memory of a dead person and is inspired by the thought of a celebrated writer! I often work at night, drinking rum and experiencing feelings that not even Baudelaire ever felt.

  1. What are the current challenges you face as a perfumer, both creatively and in regard to manufacturing, distributing and marketing your perfume?

My current challenge is destroying the world of perfumery and rebuilding it in only three days!

  1. How has your work as a perfumer affected your perception of everyday smells?

I’d say the contrary!

  1. Many ingredients that are edible are also used in fragrance (chocolate, vanilla, coffee and rose, to name a few). If you could reverse this process and turn any perfume ingredient into an edible ingredient, what would that be? Which fragrance ingredient do you think would taste nice as a flavour?

As a matter of fact we eat stupid things and we use stupid perfumes! Now this scent “Stupidity” is used as much in food as in perfumery. As far as I’m concerned we could cook a very good dish using the most famous raw material widespread in perfumery: the Pathetic! We could cook a beautiful heart-shaped cake, with strawberries and cream, add grandmother’s secret touch and a sprinkle of Pathetic. Wow!

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Pathétique perfume by O’Driù

  1. If you had a time machine, which historical period in perfumery would you like to go back to and work in as a perfumer?

Immediately after my death.

  1. If you could invent a new olfactory gadget, tool or technology, what would it be and how would it benefit perfumers and/or society?

A vanilla-flavoured anal vibrator! I’m sure that using it most critics could discover how precious vanilla becomes when blended with fecal notes.

  1. What is the purpose of perfume?

Making money.


Reflections on Angelo’s answers and O’Driù

I must admit that the morning I received Angelo’s answers to my questions, I was in a grumpy, pathetic mood. After reading these answers, I found myself smiling, and in a much better mood for the rest of the day. Angelo’s answers seem to embrace the same kind of spirit expressed by the Dadaists, an art movement I have always been particularly fond of. Dada, an art movement that sprang up in Europe during World War I, was an “anti-art” movement:

Many Dadaists believed that the ‘reason’ and ‘logic’ of bourgeois capitalist society had led people into war. They expressed their rejection of that ideology in artistic expression that appeared to reject logic and embrace chaos and irrationality…

According to Hans Richter [one of Dada’s key artists] Dada was not art: it was “anti-art.” Dada represented the opposite of everything [that] art stood for. Where art was concerned with traditional aesthetics, Dada ignored aesthetics. If art was to appeal to sensibilities, Dada was intended to offend.

(Text quoted from Wikipedia)

Is Angelo Orazio Pregoni channelling Dada in his work? Is his perfume “anti-perfume”? I don’t know; but the playfulness of all that Angelo does and his rejection of the conventions of perfumery remind me very much of the Dada spirit. These ramblings are only my interpretation of Angelo’s creative answers to my standard set of thirteen questions. All I really know for sure is that Angelo’s answers put a broad smile on my face the day I read them and reminded me not to take life, or myself, too seriously. Life became lighter for me.


I hope you’ve enjoyed the third instalment of Perfume Polytechnic’s Perfumer Interview Series with Angelo Orazio Pregoni of O’Driù. Hearty thanks to Angelo for his fun and lively answers! If you’d like to find out more about O’Driù and Angelo’s perfumes, visit O’Driù’s website. If you’re interested, you can also read a previous blog post of mine in which Olly Technic and I blind-tested and reviewed a sample set of O’Driù perfumes. O’Driù’s fragrances are listed on Fragrantica.

If you’d like to catch up on last week’s instalment of Thirteen Thoughts with perfumer Mark Evans of Evocative Perfumes, click here. Emma Leah of Fleurage was interviewed in week 1 of Thirteen Thoughts. To read Emma’s interview, click here.

NEXT WEEK’S Thirteen Thoughts: Perfumer Interview Series will feature Paul Kiler of PK Perfumes. Make sure you visit Perfume Polytechnic again this time next week to find out how Paul answers the same thirteen questions!

Thirteen Thoughts: Perfumer Interview Series – Mark Evans of Evocative Perfumes

thirteen-thoughts-v2_800_shadowThirteen thoughts from perfumers around the globe. Each perfumer profiled at Perfume Polytechnic has been presented with the same set of thirteen questions that probe into scent memories, imagination, education, history, the creative process and philosophy. How each perfumer answers these questions, and what form the answers take, is up to them. Tune in each week for a new instalment to learn more about the olfactory arts and how perfumers think about smell.

Today’s interview is the second of five weekly instalments of Thirteen Thoughts, a Perfumer Interview Series. Today’s interview is with Mark Evans of Evocative Perfumes, based in Adelaide, Australia. Future instalments will feature O’Driù’s Angelo Orazio Pregoni, 4160Tuesdays’ Sarah McCartney and PK Perfumes’ Paul Kiler.

I want to let each perfumer speak for themselves about who they are, what drives them, and what they do with fragrance, so without any further ado, I introduce you to…

Mark Evans of Evocative Perfumes

Mark EvansBW

Mark Evans of Evocative Perfumes

  1. Tell us about a significant olfactory memory from your childhood.

I’d love to be able to regale you with stories of fragrant holiday locations and smells that tear me back to momentous events in my past, but I’m afraid the truth is I was raised in a regular English immigrant family in the seventies in suburban West Australia where money was short and such things as perfume, holidays and aesthetics just didn’t play a part (proven by the lurid purple bedspread and orange carpet in my bedroom as a teenager). Two smells that I guess do take me back to those times are the smell of woodchips and potting soil from my first ever job in a plant nursery and the other would be the smell of body filler putty stuff that was used in a panel beating shop where I had another job sweeping the floors. Not sure I could get more prosaic if I tried but really, the world of the senses or art of any sort was just not a thing back then – you worked hard, ate a meal, watched TV and went to bed. It wasn’t until I was in my thirties that I managed to shake off that mindset and discover that there was so much more to experience from life and the senses and the world around me. The gradual discovery of perfume was certainly a driving force behind this revelation – it corrupted me completely.

  1. What is your “origin story”? When, why and how did you decide to become a perfumer?

One day in my thirties I found myself re-reading over and over the chapter relating to smell in Diane Ackerman’s Natural History of the Senses, particularly the part where Sophia Grojsman visits IFF (International Flavors and Fragrances) and describes experiencing perfumes being developed there. I had no idea why, but I found the whole idea fascinating and I became incredibly excited to throw myself into this completely unknown world – it was like something inside my psyche that had lain dormant had stirred, woken up and started shouting at me! I remember being confused and even a little concerned at the time; nothing had prepared me for the strength of this sudden obsession that was so foreign to my normal life as a geeky computer tech. Maybe this is just how it is when you stumble across the thing you were destined to do. Just a pity that it happened to me so late.

This new obsession was magnified ten-fold when I finally managed to obtain samples of some actual perfumes (I certainly couldn’t afford whole bottles and wasn’t confident to go into a shop to smell the testers) and was incredulous that such beauty could be contained within a smell!

Being of a scientific bent and having a huge curiosity, I needed to find out about how these smells were put together and so I started exploring any way I could. And so here I am, ten years or so later and that excitement hasn’t abated in the least. By the way, I have no qualms about waltzing into Mecca Cosmetica and spraying with abandon now!

  1. Do you have any formal training in perfumery, or are you self-taught? Have there been any mentors or other personal or cultural influences on your work as a perfumer?

I’m completely self-taught. Thank goodness for the internet, hey? There’s a bunch of communities online devoted to learning perfumery and it’s only because of their existence that I was able to make any progress at all. I was also lucky to come along at a time when these communities were still young, very active and enthusiastic. The learning curve has been incredibly steep and it has taken many years of fanatical devotion, but I like a good challenge and here’s hoping that I’ve managed to succeed a little. Of course there have been many influences and diversions along the way. It seems that every few months I smell something and decide that the rest of my training needs to head in that direction. Until the next influence comes along, that is.

  1. Who are your favourite perfumers or perfume houses, and what do you like about their work?

Without thinking too hard, names that come to mind include Christopher Sheldrake for Serge Lutens, Jean Paul Guerlain, Isobelle Doyen for Annick Goutal & Lez Nez, Thierry Mugler, and Jean-Claude Ellena for Hermès.

I’m thinking about what could be the common factor between these (and many others, of course) that appeal to me. I think it must be that the perfumes they create or release are all extraordinary, as in extra ordinary. The perfumes grab your attention and force you to think about them. You can’t spray them casually.

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Evocative Perfumes’ range of Eau de Toilette fragrances

  1. Describe your brand to us: tell us about the kind(s) of perfume that you make, as well as your brand’s philosophy or ethos.

I guess when you study perfumery, there naturally comes a point at which you think about taking the scary step of baring your soul and letting others smell and even pay for your creations. I’m an introvert and so taking this step was especially scary – more like a headlong leap into the unknown.

When I was thinking about some sort of consistent brand image and name (I certainly couldn’t use my actual name for the brand like many other indie perfumers do, can you imagine – Evans Perfumes, hahaha) I wondered if I could use the actual descriptive word evocative – it described what I wanted to achieve with my work and when I found that no one else seemed to have used the name (and the internet domain was available) I went for it. It’s kinda daggy I know but I’m hoping the Evocative name will eventually become associated with quality and creative perfumes.

The perfumes themselves are a mix of different styles and types that are released as I experiment with and learn about different styles of perfumery. One day in the future hopefully they will settle down into a more consistent range when I find a style that particularly suits me.

  1. How do you come up with the idea for a new perfume? For example, do ideas come to you spontaneously, do you work conceptually, or do you try to fill gaps in your range?

Yes to all of them. Ideas can come from anywhere and at any time but I think that they mostly result from smelling incredible ingredients and wanting to ‘do something’ with them. Like my Olibanum which resulted from smelling an amazing frankincense and needing to break it down to its elements and highlighting them within something that is wearable as a perfume.

It’s also true that I would like to fill in gaps in the range: it would be great to have a leather and a woody aromatic masculine.

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Olibanum perfume oil

  1. What element of your perfume making process do you think readers of this blog would be interested or surprised to learn about?

Maybe your readers would be surprised that an indie perfumer with limited funds has to do it all themselves. Everything. Not only do you have to actually learn and practice perfumery itself for years, you have to source small amounts of the hundreds of hard to find ingredients from all corners of the globe. Researching where the best quality ingredients come from and then begging, borrowing and stealing what you can and even making your own when necessary.

You have to liaise with suppliers of these ingredients as well as the producers of bottles and label printers etc. Then comes learning web design and eCommerce, creating the website yourself and then handling all the logistics from payments to packaging and shipping. Then there’s the marketing side of things, getting your name out there and answering interview questions 😉 coming up with a brand, an image and so on. It’s a lot of work and there’s a lot to learn!

  1. What are the current challenges you face as a perfumer, both creatively and in regard to manufacturing, distributing and marketing your perfume?

I could go on about the mundane reality of never having enough funds to fully realise my dreams for Evocative Perfumes, but I guess that’s the case for any venture – you do the best with what you have available to you. Funnily enough, although it has been a huge challenge getting my hands on the many, many ingredients needed to make perfumes, I really enjoy that side of it. I think of it as the same way that a collector loves scouring around and finding their prized items. I’m a collector as well, it’s just that I collect smells and I love the thrill of the chase and the excitement of finding that one rare extract that no-one else has.

Another hard thing for me has been the whole business of getting the finished perfume from the big flasks here into the hands of the wearer. Hassles of sourcing bottles and labels and packaging and dealing with restrictive postal services and taking money from people and so on and so on. So tedious.

  1. How has your work as a perfumer affected your perception of everyday smells?

It has affected my smell perception to an amazing degree. After the years of concentrating on how my experiments are smelling, the relevant parts of my brain must surely have laid down new pathways and I’m aware of the smells around me constantly now, like you on one of your smell walks, Polly.

I’ve also started occasionally perceiving smells that I know aren’t actually there. Sometimes I’ll actually get a whiff of bacon if I see an advert on TV or something. Not often but it does happen.

I read somewhere that a study was done on the brains of perfumers and although their olfactory nerves were normal, they had more neural pathways leading away from the olfactory part of the brain to other parts. So it wasn’t so much their sense of smell that was enhanced, but the associations that resulted from the smells.

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Siberian Fir perfume oil

  1. Many ingredients that are edible are also used in fragrance (chocolate, vanilla, coffee and rose, to name a few). If you could reverse this process and turn any perfume ingredient into an edible ingredient, what would that be? Which fragrance ingredient do you think would taste nice as a flavour?

Patchouli – can you imagine? And labdanum absolute!

A lot of the materials used in flavours are exactly the same as used in perfumery so it’s highly likely that we’ve all consumed most of them in our food already!

Here in Australia we have musk candy that really does taste like ethylene brassylate smells.

  1. If you had a time machine, which historical period in perfumery would you like to go back to and work in as a perfumer?

I’d have to say the 1940s and 50s: such an amazingly creative time for the couture houses and perfumers.

  1. If you could invent a new olfactory gadget, tool or technology, what would it be and how would it benefit perfumers and/or society?

This is a hard one. You hear of the new technologies attempting to transmit scents via phones or the internet, but knowing what goes into complicated smells, this simply could never work for perfumes – they might work for a range of generic smells, but nothing too complex or original. In fact I think that these devices are a bad idea. I really don’t see much use for them beyond novelty – surely they could only promote the standardisation and cheapening of scents.

  1. What is the purpose of perfume?

Talking about fine perfume as opposed to functional perfume…

I’d make a distinction between deliberate and casual perfume wearers here. For those who grab and spray a trendy celebrity scent on the way out the door, perfume is just an additional part of the wardrobe – a final touch, a boost to self-confidence and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that.

For the deliberate wearer, though, I think perfume is first and foremost about personal pleasure. Whereas the casual wearer wants to smell good for other people, the deliberate wearer sprays or dabs firstly for themselves and if those around catch a whiff, then that’s fine too. So in this case the perfume acts more as an artistic medium – the wearer is sharing the perfumer’s vision and it’s our job to try to take the wearer on an emotional journey through bliss and remembrance and even intellectual curiosity.

That’s what it’s all about for me.


I hope you’ve enjoyed the second instalment of Perfume Polytechnic’s Perfumer Interview Series with Mark Evans of Evocative Perfumes. Warm thanks to Mark Evans for his fascinating answers! If you’d like to find out more about Evocative Perfumes and Mark’s fabulous creations, visit the Evocative Perfumes website. For those seeking more in-depth information about Mark’s creative practice including detailed information on how his fragrances are made, visit the companion blog to his website, which is great reading too. You can also find Mark’s fragrances listed on Fragrantica.

If you’d like to catch up on last week’s instalment of Thirteen Thoughts with perfumer Emma Leah of Fleurage, click here.

NEXT WEEK’S Thirteen Thoughts: Perfumer Interview Series will feature Angelo Orazio Pregoni of O’Driù. Make sure you visit Perfume Polytechnic again this time next week to find out how Angelo answers the same thirteen questions! You are in for a singular experience.

Thirteen Thoughts: Perfumer Interview Series – Emma Leah of Fleurage Perfume Atelier

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Thirteen thoughts from perfumers around the globe. Each perfumer profiled at Perfume Polytechnic has been presented with the same set of thirteen questions that probe into scent memories, imagination, education, history, the creative process and philosophy. How each perfumer answers these questions, and what form the answers take, is up to them. Tune in each week for a new instalment to learn more about the olfactory arts and how perfumers think about smell.

Today marks the launch of Thirteen Thoughts, a Perfumer Interview Series that will run weekly for an initial series of five weeks on Perfume Polytechnic. Today’s interview is with Emma Leah, master perfumer at Fleurage Perfume Atelier in South Melbourne, Australia. Future instalments will feature O’Driù’s Angelo Orazio Pregoni, Mark Evans of Evocative Perfumes, 4160Tuesdays’ Sarah McCartney and Paul Kiler of PK Perfumes.

I want to let each perfumer speak for themselves about who they are, what drives them, and what they do with fragrance, so without any further ado, I introduce you to…

Emma Leah of Fleurage Perfume Atelier

Perfumer Emma J Leah

Emma Leah of Fleurage Perfume Atelier

  1. Tell us about a significant olfactory memory from your childhood.

My olfactory memories are intricately linked to other sensory inputs. I grew up in a desert area in Victoria (in South-Eastern Australia) and one of the most surreal was the smell of the salt pans. The alien metallic tang that you could taste in your mouth, coupled with the blinding white light, tempered by the dusty red sand and bursts of dry green hay from the landscape were like nothing else I have ever experienced and something I draw on often when dealing with the abstract and unusual.

  1. What is your “origin story”? When, why and how did you decide to become a perfumer?

On the one hand I could say I have always been a perfumer but it was only a ‘conscious’ decision later in what I regard as my journey of study. It began with aromatherapy. I was creating different blends and frustrated by the limited palette and the exploration and learning progressed into high-end traditional perfumery. I officially called myself a perfumer when I founded my own company Fleurage.

  1. Do you have any formal training in perfumery, or are you self-taught? Have there been any mentors or other personal or cultural influences on your work as a perfumer?

I’m self-taught due to circumstances but had I been given the choice I still would have been self-taught because the schools don’t really teach traditional perfumery using botanicals anymore. I was inspired by three important industry names: Septimus Piesse, Edmond Roudnitska and the family Guerlain. The perfumery style I have embraced is 1700’s French.

  1. Who are your favourite perfumers or perfume houses, and what do you like about their work?

Guerlain by far stands out in my mind and to my nose: exceptional blends and attention to detail in presentation. It was also a highly professional company who in my mind understood the intimate connection of perfume to the individual and designed, created, and marketed their range in line with this thinking. This ended when they sold it.

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Fleurage Perfume Atelier

  1. Describe your brand to us: tell us about the kind(s) of perfume that you make, as well as your brand’s philosophy or ethos.

Fleurage Pty. Ltd. is an Australian company owned and operated by Emma J. Leah and Robert G. Luxford.

It began in June 2007 as a vision of a Parisian Parfumerie at 88 Millswyn St., South Yarra.

We were one of the only perfumeries that specialised in purely natural scents across our whole range and still stand as one of the largest range of botanical parfums in the world. Since those sleepy days in the Domain area in Melbourne we have grown by leaps and bounds fulfilling the niche scent market requirements as they have come along. Our perfumery in South Melbourne is double the size of our beginning location and we look to expand again in the coming year as we grow and evolve.

Along with our large original range of natural perfumes, we now offer custom scent creation for individuals and brands, a large range of bath and body products and an extension to our perfume range using modern commercial ingredients. Demand for information has seen us recently develop perfume making courses and experiences for the public and it is this unique application that has brought us to new exciting projects. Offering patrons the chance to explore and create perfume is rare and coveted and we are proud of our achievements in this area making it accessible to everybody with a desirable outcome.

Everything we do at Fleurage has a central core of attention to detail, exceptional quality, and taking the unorthodox approach. We believe in elegance, working hard and enjoying a glamorous life.

Anywhere Fleurage is located strives to be an oasis of gentler experiences, enlightenment and joy.

As a perfumer of Fleurage I create whatever is inspiring and holds a kind of beauty in the expression of the scent. This allows me to work with a wide range of ingredients for many and varied applications. I have worked with artists, theatre, fashion, cosmeticians and famous people.

  1. How do you come up with the idea for a new perfume? For example, do ideas come to you spontaneously, do you work conceptually, or do you try to fill gaps in your range?

Ideas come all the time in a variety of situations. Music, movies, people, fabrics, food, stories, snapshots of life, colours, paintings, books, feelings, times and eras. For me anything can be expressed in a scent.

  1. What element of your perfume making process do you think readers of this blog would be interested or surprised to learn about?

I think many people know the mechanics of perfumery but the finer details of creation would probably surprise a lot. What I hear mostly is the shock at how many ingredients can make up a seemingly simple perfume and how few can sometimes create a complex scent. When the notes are listed on databases etc. they only pick out around ten highlight notes (or less) and I think many people assume that’s all that is in the scent.

Some people are also surprised that I work with a brief (and have the name first) for all of my fragrances and three-quarters of my process is writing and sniffing before I even contemplate mixing anything together.

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Covet, one of Fleurage’s botanical fragrances.

  1. What are the current challenges you face as a perfumer, both creatively and in regard to manufacturing, distributing and marketing your perfume?

Perfumery is changing so rapidly these days I find the biggest challenge is to stay true to my creative ideas and processes. I could complain for pages about the isolation, the cost and the frustration of shipping and competing with the giant companies that own 90% of the market but in the end I just get on with the job of doing what I love and trusting it will get to the right people.

  1. How has your work as a perfumer affected your perception of everyday smells?

I am captivated by smell and always have been. Being a perfumer has just meant I get to experience this joy on a new level every day. I don’t judge smells, I accept them and file them away for future use. Admittedly sometimes I find some odours and application of scent to be offensive but I am only human. I also find the “fashion” of fragrance to be very boring.

  1. Many ingredients that are edible are also used in fragrance (chocolate, vanilla, coffee and rose, to name a few). If you could reverse this process and turn any perfume ingredient into an edible ingredient, what would that be? Which fragrance ingredient do you think would taste nice as a flavour?

Without hesitation I would love to eat or drink Blue Lotus extract.

  1. If you had a time machine, which historical period in perfumery would you like to go back to and work in as a perfumer?

The 1700’s when new ingredients were being discovered and used and perfumery was an exploration of beauty and capturing desire. Or ancient Mesopotamia when perfumery was part of the rituals of the gods.

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A gorgeous custom creation from Fleurage

  1. If you could invent a new olfactory gadget, tool or technology, what would it be and how would it benefit perfumers and/or society?

I actually don’t know how to answer this. I am not much of a futurist. I feel that we have forgotten so much and are losing so much that we need to revisit the past.

My personal favourite indulgence I am working on obtaining for the Fleurage Perfumery of the future is a perfume fountain. It has no use beyond being beautiful.

  1. What is the purpose of perfume?

Scent is our primal messaging system, warning us to either stay away or encouraging us get closer.

BUT…

Perfume (truly beautiful perfume) connects our brains to our hearts through the experience of pure joy and for a moment we are ethereal beings.

For me the purpose of perfume is to give ready access to joy and beauty.


I hope you’ve enjoyed the very first of our Perfumer Interview Series with Emma Leah of Fleurage Perfume Atelier. Many thanks to Emma Leah for her wonderful and interesting answers. If you’d like to find out more about Fleurage, the beautiful perfumes Emma makes, and the courses and creative experiences she offers, visit the Fleurage website.

You can also read about my experience with Emma creating my own “Karatta” perfume a few months ago at Fleurage, here and here.

NEXT WEEK’S Thirteen Thoughts: Perfumer Interview Series will feature Mark Evans of Evocative Perfumes, an independent fragrance house from Adelaide, Australia. Make sure you visit Perfume Polytechnic again this time next week to find out how Mark answers the same thirteen questions!