‘Natural Perfumers’ come in all shapes and sizes. At the Exsense fair they consisted of a former model with an aromatherapy background and an old Italian family, some of whose ‘natural’ products turn out to contain a dash of aldehydes.... and somewhat controversially real musk.
“If you care about what you put into your body, if you eat organic then you are going to care about what you are going to put on your skin, for me it was just a natural progression” she says. No animal products are used in the line and they are tested only on humans.
The fragrances are €169 - €189 for 30ml, or available as 10ml roll-on for €69.
At the other end of the ‘natural’ spectrum, also showing at Exsence is Royal Crown perfume – here opulent Florentine crystal bottles topped with large Swarovski-studded crowns shout status and glamour.
The House, which was launched just over a year ago, is owned by Antonio Martino. The perfumer is part of an old family, the Visconti family, which originally moved from Italy to France and were master glove-makers in Paris. Later the family moved to Grasse and became perfumers. Antonio Martino, a descendant of the Visconti family, also owns the Antonio Visconti perfume House, which, like Royal Crown, also uses mainly natural ingredients in its perfumes.
Four of the Royal Crown perfumes contain no synthetics at all: Poudre de Fleurs, Tenebra, Celebration and Alkimiya. The rest are predominantly natural but contain small amounts of aldehydes (less than 5%), according to Martino. Many of the essences used by the company are certified organic including myrrh, grapefruit, mint, orange, lemon, rosemary, thyme, iris and narcissus.
“Natural ingredients have a soul” says Martino “synthetic materials don’t have a soul. I use a very tiny amount of aldehydes in some, just enough to make a difference” he says. “With naturals, if you wear it on the skin, it stays on the skin, this morning, this afternoon, this evening and also tomorrow in some cases. Natural ingredients are like a music that goes up and down, they make a fragrance that goes up and down, but synthetics are very flat.”
Unusually, the perfumes also contain animal products. Ambergris is used in the Royal Crown perfumes as well as natural musk from deer. “The ambergris is Gold Amber, it’s the best type of amber you can get and comes from Oman,” explains Martino.
“As for the deer - before you had to kill a deer. Now we get our musk from a supplier in France, they get it from places in China and North India. There are small pieces of land where these deer are raised. It is a particular form of extraction and the animal is not killed – we have official certification that the animal is not killed.”
“I trained with my grandfather from a very early age and he taught me a lot,” says Martino, who now works with his daughter Nicoletta. “Our perfumes use recipes from the old school, often very floral and very strong.” she says.
Royal Crown costs 437 Euros for 100ml EDP