Without giving away your identity, tell us a bit about yourself - what area do you work in, what kind of life do you have?
My passion is yoga and yoga dance. I have a very international life – it always feels like I’m packing to go away again.
How often do you wear perfume? Why is fragrance important to you?
I think anyone who reads Basenotes regularly knows I change my perfumes sometimes up to three times a day ! Mostly, if I do, I choose scents that layer well together or scents that will not dominate for the entire day. Suffice to say, I am never without some kind of fragrance!
That second question is loaded! I cannot think of anything else I can carry with me throughout the day, on my person, that is so close, personal and speaks so much about myself or how I feel - without revealing everything! Fragrance for me can be a mood setter, a mood booster, time travel to memories and a way to express yourself, project yourself, your personality, in a subtle way. Fragrance for me is sensuality and art in a bottle.
Looking at your Wardrobe Collection, I'd say you're quite a fan of the classics, would that be correct?
Yes, the classics are the foundations of modern perfumery, to me. The classics came from a Golden Age. The connotations of the classics are quite different from the modern, in my opinion. The classics say things differently, speak of different eras, thoughts and yet are still available to us today – in the form of an aroma. Fragrant portraits from the past that are relevant today. That’s cool.
What are your favourite recent releases?
Tell us about your penchant for Shalimar - you've got the EDT, EDP, Vintage and new Extrait. (Is there a similar thing developing with Mitsouko....?)
I have a huge love for many of the Guerlain heavyweights - L’Heure Bleue, Mitsouko , Shalimar, Vol de Nuit. They enchant me as they are all fragrances that seem to be personifications. Each has a character, a history, a story and a personality. Even within the different concentrations and versions of each perfume, they are a little different and yet the same. It’s fascinating. For example, to truly know Mitsouko, you should seek all concentrations and if possible smell the vintages or older formulae.
Interestingly, in the case of modern day Mitsouko, I find that the Eau de Parfum is a truer representation of Mitsouko’s character than the new Edouard Flechier parfum extrait. I think if you are deeply passionate about a scent, it drives you to discover all of it. It’s a way to make the scent alive for me and learn of all the facets of one treasured scent.
I have different concentrations of other perfumes too. Most of the time they are not radically different, but it’s most definitely worth playing around with several concentrations to see which you love the best and which suits you (Especially with the Houses of Guerlain and Chanel eg. Chanel No.5, Bois des Iles )
Pure perfume extrait is usually the most accurate character of a fragrance, that the perfumer is trying to present to the wearer-it is the ‘original scent’ which is why I often go for extrait. (As well as the one's I've mentioned already, Caron extraits are simply divine). Parfum extrait seems to be out of favor with many modern perfume houses and that saddens me.
You're known for helping newbies, what advice would you give to somone starting out on their perfume journey?
Don’t stop being a fragrant newbie – it’s the only way to learn. After several years of fragrance immersion, I am still a newbie - we never stop learning and we cannot know everything. I’m just a newbie who’s just been learning/’smelling’ a little longer, that’s all.
Immerse yourself in smelling everything you can – classics, niche, natural perfumes, oil. It’s so exciting when one is a complete newbie - a whole Disney like world opens up! Challenge your nose with sampling. Buy samples first and decants before you commit to a full bottle. Try not to blind buy full bottles and if you have to, get the smallest size!
Engage other members of Basenotes for help and advice.
Keep an open mind about what you are sampling.
Your taste in perfume may change in the future - something you despised may become a favorite later !
‘The Kick’ – you may find yourself attracted and obsessed with particular notes – you’re on a kick .
If we were to send you to a desert island (you are allowed to choose which one!), which three perfumes would you take with you?
Bora Bora- send me there! Only three perfumes – for survival one needs at least 10! This is the skeleton crew I would take …