Parfumo's Perfume Blog
During our winter trip to the south of England, we managed to arrange an interview with Mr. Gustav Temple at his Lewes office, just a few miles north of Brighton. As the publisher of the CHAP, the hip men's magazine for a classic British lifestyle, he seemed to us to be a competent partner in terms of "scent enjoyment". The term "chap", which we only know in German as "guy" or "lad", is used in Britain for the gentleman of the 21st century, who no longer comes from the aristocracy but simply indulges in a lifestyle Motto "Expand your mind, refine your wardrobe".
The interview was conducted very British with several cups of tea on an old Chesterfield sofa. Mr. Temple turned out to be a very charming interlocutor, and the interview increasingly turned into a chat about the differences in perfume culture in Great Britain and good old Germany. We laughed a lot - and maybe finally answered the question: how should James Bond smell?
In preparation for this interview, we read your book "How to be a Chap". Now we know which movies a chap should have seen, which cars to drive, what to drink, eat and smoke. What we have missed, however, is a chapter on the topic: How should a chap smell?
Yes that's true. Until some time ago, we always joked that a chap should smell like whiskey, cigars and old leather. But since I've been immersed in the world of perfumes, it seems a bit more complex to me. Surely it will surprise you that I did not wear any perfume until two years ago. But meanwhile I'm obsessed with it.
Oh, how did that happen?
Somehow everything started when I met my girlfriend three years ago. It was her perfume that attracted me first, and I remember asking her what fragrance she wears. Later she said, when I asked her about her perfume, she knew that I was interested in her. Her scent triggered a very strong reaction in me. You may be attracted to women, but if the perfume a woman wears is wrong, the whole thing changes. It is really important. And I had not smelled the perfume before and I thought: I like that! That's attractive.
When we became a couple, I wanted to give her this perfume for Christmas. Since then I always give it to her for Christmas (laughs). But then she wanted to buy me a scent. And that's how we started. I mean, there are a million ways to start. So I started with the classic male fragrances like "Eau Sauvage" by Dior, which I like very much. And I discovered "Eight & Bob". It was made in Paris in the 1940s for John F. Kennedy and hidden in a book to get through customs. It was called "Eight & Bob" because it had eight bottles for him and one for Bobby Kennedy, and finally I found a modern fragrance that I really like: Tom Ford "Noir".
Where did you test the fragrances? In Germany, in cities like Brighton in the city center every 500 meters there is a perfumery for mainstream fragrances and at least two or three niche perfumeries. But we did not see one ...
Yes, all in all in the UK, the possibilities to try and buy perfumes are very limited. You can go to the drugstore, yes, but it's a closed and strange market. I do not think that perfume get enough attention from us.
Britain has a long tradition of perfume with big traditional perfume houses like Trumper, Penhaligon's, Floris etc.
Yes, but Trumper is also a good example of things that have never changed. Maybe that's why we have a different approach, so perhaps there are not that many perfumeries. The rich folks just go to Trumper, or Taylors of Old Bond Street. We have not detached ourselves from that yet. In addition to these traditional businesses, there are only shops in London where you can find the most common mainstream perfumes. Even the one my girlfriend wears (it's "Faubourg 24" from Hermes), I could not find in any store here! It was even hard to get it on the "High Streets" in London!
I think in Spain, France and Italy it is more common for men to wear perfumes. Because men are generally extravagant, especially in Italy. They think more about their clothes and they are well dressed. So it could be due to the fading of British extravagance.
We have tried some British perfumes and they are more likely to be made for the bankers of London. They do not scream: "Here I am, smell my perfume!" That may not be British.
Yes, maybe you are right. I have a Floris perfume here. It is "Floris 89", the perfume that James Bond is said to have worn, the character in the books. For me it smells more like a hand washing soap or something similar. More like a shampoo, for me it's not James Bond. Well, it's nice, but for me it's very feminine. It's fresh and citrusy, but it was not what I was looking for.
Sounds more like a Cologne.
I do not know how it is in German, but in English the word Cologne is generally associated with male fragrances. You do not buy a man a Perfume, you buy a man a Cologne.
Oh, that's different in Germany. If you go to a German perfumery and ask for a cologne for a man, you will be shown only light and citrusy perfumes for the summer that are typical of an EdC. In Germany, the term Cologne is only used to refer to the lowest concentration of a fragrance. But that has nothing to do with gender.
Okay, in the UK it would be very unusual to buy a man something called "Eau de Perfum". Maybe it sounds too feminine, I do not know. By the way, what do you think about unisex fragrances? This is absurd for me because I think there are two different needs for men and women.
Well, we do not pay attention if a perfume is made for men, women or both sexes. One of our favorite perfumes is Patchouli, which is sold by Reminiscence Paris as a women's perfume. It is very dark and deep. The same company has also produced Patchouli pour Homme. And we tried that out and thought, "This is for women, it's much smoother, a bit sweeter and cleaner." For us, the Patchouli sold as a womans perfume is much more masculine than the male.
Is that because women are more adventurous and imaginative than men? Did the company think it would be too risky to offer the women the Patchouli to men, and they made a simpler, more conservative version of it? It seems to me that men are less adventurous in choosing their scents, they want something familiar.
Well, it could be, yes. It could also be that especially British men are not so adventurous - except, of course, James Bond! So, how do you think James Bond should smell?
I think James Bond would certainly wear a civet fragrance, very seductive, powerful and masculine - and expensive. Maybe that's why perfume is not so popular here. Everyone is obsessed with James Bond. He is a strong role model for masculinity in the UK. He has been a reference point since the 1950s and 60s. And I wonder if Daniel Craig - or whoever - would have put on a perfume in a James Bond movie, if fragrances would then become more popular. Because in the UK, perfume is somehow linked to femininity. This, too, is different in Italy, for example. No man expects to be considered homosexual just because he is well dressed. And it's the same with scent. Do you think that generally more German men wear perfumes, even the younger ones?
It seems so, yes. But it also seems that it is a development that is associated with a general development with attention for everything that gives enjoyment and uniqueness. Just as good wines are now given more attention, wine combined with chocolate or cigars, currently in Germany is just the pleasure of whiskey and gin in fashion. It is no coincidence that many new perfume companies have been founded in the last 10 to 15 years. And most niche perfumeries opened just a few years ago.
I wonder if there is a parallel between clothes and fragrance? From my point of view, everything I do with the CHAP magazine has something to do with a particular look, a specific way of dressing elegantly. And I wonder if there is something similar about the perfume. It could be argued that the approach to fragrances is the same as clothing, and that the chaps prefer the classic fragrances that were worn, for example, in the 1940s. They do not experiment, they would not experiment with a new type of pants. But is scent not a more personal thing? When I started, I assumed that I would like all the classic fragrances because I like classic clothes. But I was wrong. For example, I like Tom Ford "Noir" and I like "Eau sauvage" too. But it was not important that it was a classic.
Our experience is that sometimes classic perfumes smell very contemporary and vice versa. And, of course, hardly any scent is sold today that is made with the original recipe from the time it was first published, for allergic reasons, or because synthetic substances are cheaper ...
... or for ethical reasons. Today, civet is no longer extracted from the civet cat or musk from the deer ...
… Yes. But we are seeing some new perfume manufacturers trying to reinvent the older fragrances, such as Oriza L. Legrand, who produced perfumes until 1940, then closed and reopened in 2012, trying to get close to the old perfumes with contemporary recipes. We think that this development is linked to the retro movement, which is also a very young movement, people who buy old things, for example old phones and they use and so on.
Yes, but it seems that fragrance manufacturers have not yet come up with the idea to use it for their marketing work, although there is definitely a market for it if you associate it with the retro movement. It's the same with vintage clothes. 10 years ago, if you wanted to wear vintage style, you had to wear original vintage clothing. But today there is a new industry producing reproductions of old fabrics and patterns. There are dozens and dozens of new companies that make clothes in retro style. Why has not any perfume manufacturer targeted this market? Maybe it should be me!
Yes, that would be an idea! But first of all many thanks for the interview!
Interview: Marie de Winter & Ferdinand Sturm (Redaktion WinterSturm)
This remarkable milestone marks Parfumo's dedication to serving the online perfume community, where a search of the net for information on fragrance will often lead to this site, given the vast size of our fragrance directory. With over 100,000 entries to more than 7,000 brands, the platform provides a reliable source of verified knowledge of perfumes that is hard to beat.
Parfumo, which was founded at the close of 2008, has been successfully operating according to the Wikipedia principle for five years now. Interested and passionate members are constantly researching information on new releases as well as supplementing and revising existing data. In total, well over 1,500 fragrance aficionados were involved and contributed more than 200,000 sources to Parfumo Research. A diligent and outstandingly committed core team ensures that our standards are upheld so as to provide us with us with the most up-to-date and well-documented database entries possible.
We would like to take the opportunity to express our sincere and warm thanks to all members of the research team! Their continual dedication to supply us with new and comprehensive information from the fragrance world not only made this landmark possible but also greatly advances our fabulous community! Members and visitors alike benefit from the wealth of information an unprecedented database offers, today and in future.
We anticipate another exciting year of fragrance launches documented and detailed by our terrific community. In addition, we are especially looking forward to December, 2018 as it marks Parfumo's tenth anniversary!
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- The flacon and packaging should stand in the foreground and occupy a position of prominence in relationship to other objects included in the shot.
- The photo should not be blurred. Clarity should be sufficient to read the typescript on the flacon and packaging.
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- Please be advised that color photography is preferred, as it a gives the viewer the most accurate representation of the flacon and packaging. Black and white photos will only be accepted on a discretionary basis.
- Custom photo borders look well in isolation but create unnecessary clutter in a gallery setting. Therefore, they should be avoided.
- The fragrance identified in the caption should be the focal point, so no other perfumes should appear in the foreground of the picture. However, including different perfumes is acceptable if they are situated in the background.
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Thanks again for making Parfumo such a special place to share the love of perfume!
The Parfumo Team
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Dear Madame Delacourte, for years you were as much part of the Guerlain family as Thierry Wasser is, and now Guerlain is just one of your two main passions, for launching your own fragrance line recently has become just as important. What made you take this step?
I belong to a family of entrepreneurs, I think they have always encouraged and stimulated me. It's been a while since I had the plan to launch my own brand and I decided to take the plunge with a young entrepreneur who gave me the wings to create my own line with a lot of freedom!
Our goal is to bring something different to people who are ever more looking for exclusive perfumes but also authenticity and knowledge on products the buy. Hence the discovery experience we have created on the website.
When you chose the main theme of you fragrance line, you decided on MUSCS. These are synonyme to soft, comfortable, cocooning scents. Why did you choose this direction?
I wanted to distinguish myself from the other brands and I made the choice to work on a single raw material to create a full collection of 5 perfumes.
A lot of people were waiting for me to work on a guerlinade "seal" or "gourmand perfumes" but I wanted a new challenge, that's why I decided to work on white muscs!
First you can't find that many musky perfumes in niche brands, and when you take a closer look at them, they are always built in the same way.
Second it is very difficult to work on muscs, at first they are not really tenacious and it is a challenge to reinvent them in each fragrance.
So here in my collection, you have 5 interpretations of the muscs. For example Smeraldo is enhanced with a green facet when it is more a spicy facet in Helicriss. My goal was also to give them a lot of projection, to be memorable, and of course confortable as I like to call them "olfactive pashminas".
Your fragrance line consists of 5 perfumes in the Eau de parfum concentration: Smeraldo, Dovana, Helicriss, Lilylang and Florentina.
While they are all beautiful and have a magical quality, will you keep launching muscs only, or are you planning on going in different directions too, like for instance oudy, chypre, floriental?
Yes I am already thinking of my next collection with another ingredient: maybe wood, vanilla or citrus. I am working on it!
As of now, your perfumes can only be purchased from your website sylvaine-delacourte.com, and you deliver them all over the world. Will they become available more widely in the near future, in shops or other places?
We have created a discovery experience on the website so you can order the 5 samples from the Collection for 4€ delivered to your home and then discover in a video the raw materials origins and my inspirations for each perfume and share with me your feeling on each creation.
You can buy the full bottle on the same website and to answer your question we are under discussions with potential partners which will be able to talk about the perfumes as much as I can do it myself so you might be seeing the Collection in a few exclusive shops in 2017.
As it is always risky to purchase a fragrance without having smelled it first, you offer a sample kit of all 5 scents which also can be ordered from your website. Is it the only way one is able to get to test the fragrances, and do you intend to enlarge that range by adding body products, candles or maybe even cosmetics?
We are a very young start up and we are going to build and reinforce the brand step by step! For now we are focused on creating great perfumes and take people to an olfactory journey into the heart of each fragrance.
The fragrances you made for Guerlain are unmistakably "you", they are gourmandy, dreamlike and beautiful. Will you still partake in creating more for Guerlain (or maybe even other houses) still?
I will not be part of Guerlain next creations, I will be in charge of bespoken fragrances for this beautiful Maison and also in charge of creating some special training. I am also here to stay as an ambassador of the brand worldwide!
The interview was conducted Chanelle, many thanks!
First of all, what gave you the idea of launching your own Fragrance Brand “Zoologist”?
Back in 2013, I wasn’t very happy with my career and I felt very insecure and frustrated. I guess that’s what people like to call a “mid-life crisis”. Lots of people making politics and decisions that led to nowhere. I wanted to create a project that I have full creative control of, and launch some interesting products that I would be proud of. Coincidentally I had just discovered the world of niche perfumes (and was very obsessed with it, as you would have guessed) and wondered if I could create my own brand. I had no insider connection, no entrepreneurship experience, no business strategy and no marketing research; everything was based on gut feeling… I posted in a Basenotes.net forum asking if there were any perfumers who would help me create some perfumes and two indie perfumers responded – the rest is history.
Did you ever think about becoming a perfumer yourself? If not, why didn't you?
I had thought about it, but later rejected the idea for I knew one needs to spend a lot of time practicing perfumery to become good at it and time is something I don’t have the luxury of. (I still have my day job and when I go home I either spend half the evening fulfilling online orders or developing my next scents and promotional artwork.)
How would you describe the process of finding the right perfumer to match the fragrance concept, or was it really the other way round? Did the perfumers choose the animal they would develop a scent concept for?
To me, the most important thing to know before any project starts is the style of the perfumer, and their temperament (through online chatting). Once I know his/her style, I can determine what kind of animal is best suited for that perfumer. For example, some perfumers like to make very unconventional and unique fragrances, so I will assign an animal that’s unexpected or less commonly loved. Some perfumers like to do beautiful, classic perfumes, and I will assign animals that people tend to perceive as elegant or beautiful.
Of course, there were some perfumers who would approach me directly, proposing a specific animal that he/she wishes to make. (e.g. Ellen Covey’s Bat.) In most cases, I won’t refuse (laugh).
Is there any connection between being a game developer and a perfume aficionado?
Maybe not, but working in a big game studio has inspired me a lot in terms of product development - what sells, what not, should we take some risk doing unconventional things, etc. Also, it has taught me the important elements of making and marketing a product - packaging, marketing copy, social media, etc, and my coworkers who specialized in each department all offered valuable opinions, or even help (such as the illustrations on the labels.)
Are you launching your brand in Germany sometime soon? Lots of people think highly of the concept and the quality of the fragrances, but still they are not well known over here and some people shy away from ordering overseas.
At this moment I can’t see Zoologist being widely distributed in Germany, or much in anywhere - I won’t be able to make much profit selling to a distributor because my operation is so small (I mix, bottle and package everything by myself at home, and fulfilling an order of 30 bottles could take me a whole day), and the material cost is so high because the perfumers sell me their compound concentrate at a markup cost. I can only make a dollar or two per bottle if I choose the distributor route, but what’s the point of doing so? Wholesaling directly to small boutiques is the second best way for me, the best way is customers buying directly from my website. But shipping in Canada is horrible for they are so expensive… (I subsidize almost 50% postage shipping outside North America!) So I guess I just have to take things slowly.
What was your inspiration for a zoology-themed range and do you plan one in a different direction in the foreseeable future?
There are two branches of thoughts when it comes to fragrance development - one that highlights a particular animalic note such as castoreum (such as Zoologist Beaver), one that is inspired by the animal habitats (such as Zoologist Bat, that smells like a cave). My new scent, Macaque, is a bit different from the others because it is about the meditative mood that the said animal often gives people.
The interview was conducted Chanelle, many thanks!