"We need to keep the freedom to create, while ensuring the non-toxicity of our products" – an interview with Richard Ibanez

18th June, 2015

Richard Ibanez is a perfumer at Robertet and has created fragrances for brands such as Azzaro, Jovoy, Divine and Grès. We spoke to him about one of his latest fragrances, Living Lalique, and on the challenges of being a perfumer today.


How did you become a perfumer?

I have lived in Grasse and always had a passion for art and sciences. I have got a very good olfactive memory and Robertet trust me!



Tell us about Living Lalique

Lalique wanted a creation around orris – Robertet is an expert in orris extraction and offers many qualities.

I chose to create the fragrance around a splendid Pallida Florentina Orris Butter with a higher IRONE content (12/14%) and to showcase sparkling and powdery facets, minimizing the violet facet (which can be perceived as old fashioned).

The creative idea for Living Lalique is inspired by the Art Deco movement which is very close to the brand universe. That means: long and geometric lines softened by the addition of exceptional materials: Crystal, Precious woods, Chrome steel. Therefore, the sparkling top note blends Black Pepper, Nutmeg, Bergamot and Lime

The heart reveals the powdery elegance of Orris (a unique floral note), Vanilla and Tonka Bean Absolute increased by White Musks.

Woods became more precious by fractional distillation and are balanced to bring an original and sensual wake: Marrakech wood (ex Cedar wood Atlas), Cedar wood Texas, Vetyver , Cashmere wood (ex Paryrus wood)


What are the differences between working for Lalique and other clients?

Premium creative freedom that allowed me to use the most beautiful raw materials available at Robertet. They choose the perfume on a ‘crush’ but take the time to evaluate the evolution in time.


What influences you?


Olfactive memories of my life, a raw material, an unknown person in the street, a movie scene, a piece of music, a painting etc …

Of course, my two daughters and my wife (who are very critical!)

But above all the desire to discover again and again the magic of perfume creation.


What are the biggest challenges you face today as a perfumer, how has this changed since you started?

We need to keep the freedom to create, while ensuring the non-toxicity of our products to consumers.

Creation comes from evolution which is required for fine fragrance, like for music, cooking, movies, painting, and fashion.

They are so many requests, that’s why it’s important to insist that creators are given enough time.

We have the opportunity to create for customers with different universes, so all perfumers can express themselves.

Living Lalique is available now at Harrods

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About the author: Grant Osborne

Grant Osborne is the founder and editor of Basenotes. Grant has two children, and a dependence on tea, haribo and bacon.

Website: http://www.grantosborne.com


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      • hednic | 9th January 2017 13:01

        Interesting read. Thanks for sharing.

      • gandhajala | 9th January 2017 13:17

        Thanks, Grant.

        Hope the fragrance is more attractive than that ad.

      • Redneck Perfumisto | 9th January 2017 17:26

        Yes, very much. I thought so, too. Ibanez keeps coming back to the importance of time in creation of fragrances, and I hope that message gets through to all the right people. I was especially impressed by the idea that Robertet paid good attention to the evolution of this fragrance over time, which is a hallmark of old-school quality. I wasn't entirely sure people still did that, because it takes effort.

        Reminds me of a few great old fragrances (e.g., Shiseido White Rose) that are strange for a minute or two when first applied, but then become extraordinarily beautiful. It takes long turn-around times to evaluate that - an investment in time. Great example from our recent discussion is that sample of MdM GK I pulled out of the drawer- your fave. How many fragrances have a fantastic, complex, full-fragrance smell on a sample that dries up over 4 years? Or a silk shirt that is put away for 2 years and comes out smelling "to die for"? (That one was Green Irish Tweed.) I am pained to admit that I own far too many fragrances that don't pass that test. Top- note decoys with all their beauty on the surface!.


        I totally get that, but yet I find the ad strangely attractive in a slightly masochistic way. Kinda like "Dear Megyn - please make my life a luxe hell in TWO cities, because je ne sais quoi." Gotta be appealing to the Trophy Spouse Club. Makes me emit a happy relieved sigh as I pull up to the McDonald's drive-through.

      • Ken_Russell | 9th January 2017 21:14

        Many thanks, enjoyed the read. One of the age old issues of perfumery, seen from a new perspective.