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View Poll Results: Who is the greatest living perfumer?

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  • Calice Becker

    2 2.22%
  • Pierre Bourdon

    5 5.56%
  • Olivier Creed

    4 4.44%
  • Bertrand Duchaufour

    16 17.78%
  • Jean-Claude Elena

    14 15.56%
  • Olivia Giacobetti

    3 3.33%
  • Jean-Paul Guerlain

    19 21.11%
  • Jacques Polge

    17 18.89%
  • Christopher Sheldrake

    10 11.11%
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  1. #1

    Default Who is the greatest living perfumer?

    Please vote.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Who is the greatest living perfumer?

    I vote that this is posted in the wrong forum. LOL.

    As to the question, I wish I knew! They don't get to create whatever they want and market it, so we would have to get access to everything they created. And what about a formula that was never actualized?
    Last edited by Bigsly; 9th September 2012 at 06:41 AM.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Who is the greatest living perfumer?

    Roucel and O Polge deserve to be in the discussion IMO

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Who is the greatest living perfumer?

    for those who don't know, bourdon creates kouros and cool water. polge created many of chanel's male fragrances.

    but my vote goes to olivier creed.

    aventus, mi, git, viw and smw are all masterpeices in my opinion.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Who is the greatest living perfumer?

    Jacques Polge.

    Antaeus, Egoiste, Coco, N5 EDP, Entire Les Exclusifs range. A lot of ultra good stuff.

    Olivier Creed dont do its own fragrances.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Who is the greatest living perfumer?

    No Christopher Brosius option?

  7. #7

    Default Re: Who is the greatest living perfumer?

    Quote Originally Posted by d4N13L View Post
    Jacques Polge.

    Antaeus, Egoiste, Coco, N5 EDP, Entire Les Exclusifs range. A lot of ultra good stuff.

    Olivier Creed dont do its own fragrances.
    Does Creed have its own in-house parfumiers, or do they actually seek out folks like in the poll and just not disclose it?

  8. #8

    Default Re: Who is the greatest living perfumer?

    If Almairac did Fahrenheit after all I vote for him. Also both Morillas and Cavallier done loads of quality stuff. Loads.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Who is the greatest living perfumer?

    Where is Dominique Ropion?!
    "What is this secret connection between the soul, and sea, clouds and perfumes? The soul itself appears to be sea, cloud and perfume..." - from Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Who is the greatest living perfumer?

    There are several missing, including Ropion, Demachy, Roucel, Benaim, Wasser, Laurent etc. but I'll vote JPG just for some of the Guerlain classics he created.

    Duchaufor will probably top out the poll, after all he is everywhere these days, but I can't really connect with his work.

    My understanding is also that Olivier Creed is a Creative Director and that the company employs the services of other perfumers.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Who is the greatest living perfumer?

    Included a few from your list. I think all of these are also still alive:


    Jean Kerleo
    Jean Paul Guerlain
    Jacques Polge
    Pierre Bourdon
    Jean Louis Sieuzac
    Bernard Chant
    Dominique Ropion
    Jean Guichard
    Patricia de Nicolai
    Jean Claude Ellena
    Edouard Flechier
    Gerard Anthony
    Bertrand Duchaufour
    Francis Kurkdjian
    Annick Menardo
    Francois Demachy
    Maurice Roucel
    Calice Becker
    Olivier Polge
    Christopher Sheldrake
    Mathilde Laurent
    Michel Almairac
    Marc Buxton
    Michel Roudnitska
    Olivia Giacobetti

    There are others.........

    Edit: Forgot Sophia Grojsman.

    -- If Serge Lutens is a perfumer then I'm a better tennis player than Roger Federer. Lutens an artistic director with a good knowledge of raw ingredients. He has the vision but not the skills to express it. This is why he has Sheldrake, Bourdon (Feminite du Bois), Roucel (Iris Silver Mist), etc. Hard to believe, but apparently there will always be those who believe otherwise. Some people really want Serge to be a perfumer! :-)
    Last edited by pluran; 8th October 2012 at 02:58 AM.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Who is the greatest living perfumer?

    I would add Jacques Cavalier.
    "No sweet perfume ever tortured me more than this." Desert Rose by Sting and Cheb Mami, Album 1999.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Who is the greatest living perfumer?

    Honorable mention to Alberto Morillas

  14. #14

  15. #15

    Default Re: Who is the greatest living perfumer?

    Hands down:
    Jean Kerleo
    "...a Chacun son Mauvais Gout."

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Who is the greatest living perfumer?

    Too many good ones included and not in the OP list that makes it for me impossible to choose.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Who is the greatest living perfumer?

    Andy Tauer could have had a sniff at this list.
    Quite a few niche names that could be here and aren't.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Who is the greatest living perfumer?

    I would add Roger Pellegrino

  19. #19

    Default Re: Who is the greatest living perfumer?

    I like several perfumers (many not included in your list) and can't personally choose one over another in this case. It would be like saying which one is the best painter or the best film director...impossible.


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  20. #20
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    Default Re: Who is the greatest living perfumer?

    Living? JPG
    - - - - - - - - - - - - -

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Who is the greatest living perfumer?

    Quote Originally Posted by teardrop View Post
    Where is Dominique Ropion?!
    My sentiments exactly. I couldn't vote accordingly.
    Current Top Favorites:
    1) Portrait of a Lady original formula (EdP Frédéric Malle)
    2) Giorgio for Men vintage/V.I.P. for Men (Giorgio Beverly Hills)
    3) Dia Man vintage edt (Amouage)
    4) Les Nombres d'Or Vetyver (Mona di Orio) - tie
    4) Lalfeorosa (O'driù) - tie

    6) Anat Fritz Original Formula and Classical (Anat Fritz)
    7) Captain vintage (Molyneux)
    8) Tzora (Anat Fritz)

  22. #22

    Default Re: Who is the greatest living perfumer?

    From your list it's impossible to name one sole perfumer, because individually they've all played their role in contributing greatly to the course of evolution in perfumery.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Who is the greatest living perfumer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Duke Hunt View Post
    From your list it's impossible to name one sole perfumer, because individually they've all played their role in contributing greatly to the course of evolution in perfumery.

  24. #24

    Default Re: Who is the greatest living perfumer?

    Quote Originally Posted by teardrop View Post
    Where is Dominique Ropion?!
    Agree!

  25. #25

    Default Re: Who is the greatest living perfumer?

    Quote Originally Posted by teardrop View Post
    Where is Dominique Ropion?!
    Yea, where is he?

  26. #26

    Default Re: Who is the greatest living perfumer?

    Annick Menardo

  27. #27

    Default Re: Who is the greatest living perfumer?

    Voted for Bertrand Duchaufour, but he has to share his first place with Jean Claude Ellena...!

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Who is the greatest living perfumer?

    Quote Originally Posted by teardrop View Post
    Where is Dominique Ropion?!

    agree!!!

  29. #29

    Default Re: Who is the greatest living perfumer?

    My vote goes to Guerlain, but I'm not making any attempt to be objective - I don't think it's possible - and I'm only picking from what's available. It isn't so much about his contribution to the library of scents that BN calls classics (I think this term gets tossed around too freely) but because of the sheer number of his scents I can wear and enjoy, and which do their job very well. Even stuff that is not thought too highly of like a number of fragrances from the Aqua Allegoria series regularly make their way into my rotations.

  30. #30

    Default Re: Who is the greatest living perfumer?

    I voted for Guerlain too, for same historical reasons and # of amazing scents that shaped history.

  31. #31

    Default Re: Who is the greatest living perfumer?

    Ropion, Tauer and Kurkdjian are all among the best in the business, and I am sure to be omitting some others. Certainly the OP's list has many deserving people, however, and I'll go with J. Polge.

  32. #32

    Default Re: Who is the greatest living perfumer?

    Olivia Giacobetti - but she has to "grow some"

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  33. #33
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    Default Re: Who is the greatest living perfumer?

    Many good noses in there. For the impact they had had on their respective houses, surely JPG and J Polge share top honours.

  34. #34

    Default Re: Who is the greatest living perfumer?

    It's not in the list but for me, by far, Serge Lutens.

  35. #35

    Default Re: Who is the greatest living perfumer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mon-Petit View Post
    It's not in the list but for me, by far, Serge Lutens.
    same here. by far indeed.

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  36. #36

    Default Re: Who is the greatest living perfumer?

    Missing some, but from the list I gotta say Oliver Creed IMO.
    Seasonal favorites:

    1. Creed - Spice & Wood
    2. Creed - Aventus
    3. Dior - Vetiver
    4.
    by Kilian - Straight to Heaven
    5. by Kilian - Cruel Intentions
    6. Puredistance - Black
    7. Tom Ford - Plum Japonais
    8. Neela Vermeire - Trayee
    9. Creed - Royal Oud
    10. Chanel - Egoiste

  37. #37

    Default Re: Who is the greatest living perfumer?

    Sorry to ask this, but I am someone who often doesnt know who composed my favorite perfumes. Could the OP please give us a few examples of what each nose composed? [Am I the only person here who doesnt know these things?]

  38. #38

    Default Re: Who is the greatest living perfumer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Classics Lover View Post
    Sorry to ask this, but I am someone who often doesnt know who composed my favorite perfumes. Could the OP please give us a few examples of what each nose composed? [Am I the only person here who doesnt know these things?]
    ...look here...!
    http://www.nstperfume.com/perfumers-a-to-e/
    ...or here...!
    http://www.fragrantica.com/noses/

  39. #39

    Default Re: Who is the greatest living perfumer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mon-Petit View Post
    It's not in the list but for me, by far, Serge Lutens.
    Oh, but it is. Christopher Sheldrake is the nose behind almost all of the Lutens scents. Unless you are suggesting a separate category for creative directors like Serge Lutens.

  40. #40

    Default Re: Who is the greatest living perfumer?

    Quote Originally Posted by MysteryBuff40 View Post
    Oh, but it is. Christopher Sheldrake is the nose behind almost all of the Lutens scents. Unless you are suggesting a separate category for creative directors like Serge Lutens.
    Based on several reviews and statements by Serge Lutens himself, Christopher is a technician and Serge himself is the perfumer/nose.

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  41. #41

    Default Re: Who is the greatest living perfumer?

    Based on several reviews and statements by Serge Lutens himself, Christopher is a technician and Serge himself is the perfumer/nose.
    Exactly, the chemist Sheldrake helps for the scientific aspects.

  42. #42

    Default Re: Who is the greatest living perfumer?

    We don't know what term he used exactly but it was translated into technician. Maybe in French, technician is not so low on the status ladder. But he clearly isn't the perfumer behind the SL house. It's Serge himself.

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  43. #43

    Default Re: Who is the greatest living perfumer?

    Serge himself said "chimiste" in french = chemist

  44. #44
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    Default Re: Who is the greatest living perfumer?

    Quote Originally Posted by hedonist222 View Post
    Based on several reviews and statements by Serge Lutens himself, Christopher is a technician and Serge himself is the perfumer/nose.
    I'd like to hear Sheldrake's take on this. I don't think being Serge Lutens' lab technician would qualify him to be the next perfumer at Chanel.

    I've always assumed that Lutens was just overstating his role as creative director. Clearly his vision was instrumental in guiding the work, but so was Tom Ford's at YSL, Gucci, etc. Serge Lutens with a different "technician" is not the same. The releases since Sheldrake's departure are not at the same level.
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  45. #45

    Default Re: Who is the greatest living perfumer?

    Quote Originally Posted by rubegon View Post
    I'd like to hear Sheldrake's take on this. I don't think being Serge Lutens' lab technician would qualify him to be the next perfumer at Chanel.

    I've always assumed that Lutens was just overstating his role as creative director. Clearly his vision was instrumental in guiding the work, but so was Tom Ford's at YSL, Gucci, etc. Serge Lutens with a different "technician" is not the same. The releases since Sheldrake's departure are not at the same level.
    Who knows?
    Then again, Chris isn't the Chanel perfumer either. Some would say he is a mere assistant to Jacques Polge. The Chanel perfumer.

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  46. #46

    Default Re: Who is the greatest living perfumer?

    Quote Originally Posted by pluran View Post
    Included a few from your list. I think all of these are also still alive:


    Jean Kerleo
    Jean Paul Guerlain
    Jacques Polge
    Pierre Bourdon
    Jean Louis Sieuzac
    Bernard Chant
    Dominique Ropion
    Jean Guichard
    Patricia de Nicolai
    Jean Claude Ellena
    Edouard Flechier
    Gerard Anthony
    Bertrand Duchaufour
    Francis Kurkdjian
    Annick Menardo
    Francois Demachy
    Maurice Roucel
    Calice Becker
    Olivier Polge
    Christopher Sheldrake
    Mathilde Laurent
    Michel Almairac
    Marc Buxton
    Michel Roudnitska
    Olivia Giacobetti


    There are others.........
    I'm still alive too (well I think I am anyway) . . .

    From the list presented I'd have to choose Jean-Claude Elena but there are a lot missing and not everyone on the list is what most perfumers would consider a Perfumer: that is to say someone who creates fragrances from scratch themselves. As distinct from creating concepts that are realised by other people into fragrances.
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  47. #47

    Default Re: Who is the greatest living perfumer?

    ^ I'll vote for you, Chris.
    The question of who is or is not a true perfumer is an interesting one.
    Assuming for a moment that perfumers are artists, then one could draw an analogy with visual artists like Anish Kapoor: He may design a piece of sculpture on paper, but it is left to engineers and the like to figure out how to realise it.
    That said, if I had spent years training at perfumers' school, I might feel a little protective of the title 'perfumer'.

  48. #48

    Default Re: Who is the greatest living perfumer?

    Quote Originally Posted by gandhajala View Post
    ^ I'll vote for you, Chris.
    The question of who is or is not a true perfumer is an interesting one.
    Assuming for a moment that perfumers are artists, then one could draw an analogy with visual artists like Anish Kapoor: He may design a piece of sculpture on paper, but it is left to engineers and the like to figure out how to realise it.
    That said, if I had spent years training at perfumers' school, I might feel a little protective of the title 'perfumer'.
    Thanks!

    The Kapoor example is a good one and if I thought most fragrance creative Directors were genuine artists of that kind I'd be relaxed about the use of the term perfumer for them but I fear many do little more than interpret the results of a lot of market research and focus groups, which isn't really art: its a valuable contribution to a business, sure. Just not art.

    Kapoor is most certainly an artist and his early work as a sculptor was produced directly by him. Later he went on to make more collaborative art including some on a more grand scale but I don't think he would, as a result, describe himself as an architect even though some of his work is without doubt architecture: that's a different discipline and he works with architects and engineers (who also don't do the physical building) to create those things.

    I guess that's the bit I think perfumers are sensitive about - the claim by some people who don't and never did make perfumes to be perfumers because they contribute something to the design of perfumes. On the other hand there wouldn't be much business about for contract perfumers if there were not people and brands who prefer that pretence.

    It's probably far too fine a line for most perfume lovers to care about and I'll now shut up about it (at least on this thread)!
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  49. #49

    Default Re: Who is the greatest living perfumer?

    Quote Originally Posted by rubegon View Post
    I'd like to hear Sheldrake's take on this. I don't think being Serge Lutens' lab technician would qualify him to be the next perfumer at Chanel.
    It's all about image


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  50. #50

    Default Re: Who is the greatest living perfumer?

    Putting Serge Lutens on the list is like putting Frederick Malle on the list. After all, Malle created Musc Ravageur, Portrait of a Lady, Bois D'Orage, Vetiver Extraordinaire, etc. And were Ropion, Bourdin, Roucel just his "technicians"?

    I don't think so.

    That is why I respect Malle. The man has enough respect for perfumers that he puts their name and picture on the box, giving them full credit!

  51. #51

    Default Re: Who is the greatest living perfumer?

    Putting Serge Lutens on the list is like putting Frederick Malle on the list. After all, Malle created Musc Ravageur, Portrait of a Lady, Bois D'Orage, Vetiver Extraordinaire, etc. And were Ropion, Bourdin, Roucel just his "technicians"?

    I don't think so.

    That is why I respect Malle. The man has enough respect for perfumers that he puts their name and picture on the box, giving them full credit!
    Malle and Lutens are not comparable.... There is no Malle style in this house, the perfumes are very differents, it's not the same universe. For example the Jean Claude Ellena are very proach of what he also did in some Hermes, because it's the same perfumer and it's not the fault at Malle. In Lutens house it's only Lutens, the releases in Chanel can't even approach the Lutens style in any way.

  52. #52

    Default Re: Who is the greatest living perfumer?

    BTW Basenotes directory names Sheldrake as perfumer for Ambre Sultan, Chergui, MKK, etc....NOT Lutens.

    The only ones I would give Lutens full credit *might* be L'eau and L'eau Froide. This makes him nowhere close to top of list.

  53. #53

    Default Re: Who is the greatest living perfumer?

    Quote Originally Posted by cameron View Post
    BTW Basenotes directory names Sheldrake as perfumer for Ambre Sultan, Chergui, MKK, etc....NOT Lutens.
    And who says Basenotes is the ever knowing Oracle of perfumery?

    Serge Lutens has clearly stated he is the perfumer behind his perfumes and Christopher is the chemist/technician.

    Who being a technician/chemist demeaning? I don't think so.

    Everyone has a task and each taskhas it's roles and responsibilities.

    And Malle gathered a bunch of top grade perfumers to make perfumes. He doesn't interfere much with the creation itself.

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  54. #54

    Default Re: Who is the greatest living perfumer?

    Quote Originally Posted by alfarom View Post
    I like several perfumers (many not included in your list) and can't personally choose one over another in this case. It would be like saying which one is the best painter or the best film director...impossible.
    This. No offense, but me thinks such polls are rather beside the point.
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  55. #55

    Default Re: Who is the greatest living perfumer?

    Christopher Sheldrake is my favourite perfumer.

  56. #56

    Default Re: Who is the greatest living perfumer?

    Serge Lutens is a creative director. Don't believe me? Read this interview...

    http://graindemusc.blogspot.com/2010...r-left-me.html

    "My involvement is to suggest essences and direction. I know where I’m going and so does Christopher Sheldrake (it’s his job). The real partner, the core, is the perfume. It takes you where it wants, but never against my wishes."
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  57. #57

    Default Re: Who is the greatest living perfumer?

    Serge Lutens is a creative director. Don't believe me? Read this interview...

    http://graindemusc.blogspot.com/2010...r-left-me.html

    "My involvement is to suggest essences and direction. I know where I’m going and so does Christopher Sheldrake (it’s his job). The real partner, the core, is the perfume. It takes you where it wants, but never against my wishes."
    Sorry i believe only what i see (and smell too !) And Chris is even not officialy stated once time as the perfumer/nose of this house (officialy i mean)...
    I could quote the passage where he said he was helped by a chemist if you want...
    Anyway, what he really said here is (in french because a traduction is a only a traduction) :
    "Mon implication intervient autant aux niveaux des essences suggérées, que de la direction. "
    My implication operates "as much as" in the choice of essences as in the direction.
    "autant" means "as much as" not only "suggest"

  58. #58
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    Default Re: Who is the greatest living perfumer?

    Perfumers use technicians to assemble the compositions that they design. The perfumer orders a formula with a specific list of ingredients and ratios, and the technician mixes it to his order. This is how I understand the relationship between a perfumer and lab technician works based on what I've read, although I have no first hand experience.

    Christopher Sheldrake has trained as a perfumer and worked for years at Quest and now at Chanel in that capacity. I don't think his working relationship with Lutens involved Lutens providing a detailed recipe for a composition and Sheldrake mixing it up in the lab for him as a "technician".

    Lutens saying that he is the perfumer doesn't make it so. If that were the case, he wouldn't have to hire Quest International to get an accomplished perfumer to mix his formulas.

    Suggesting (or even requiring) that certain essences be used in a composition still sounds like a creative director to me. I think it's pretty insulting and egotistical of Lutens to call Sheldrake a "technician". I wonder - did this quote from Lutens come after Sheldrake left Quest for Chanel? Maybe he's upset that he lost his golden goose. After all, what's the best composition to come out of SL since?

    But, hey, that's just my opinion.
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  59. #59

    Default Re: Who is the greatest living perfumer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Trauerkraut View Post

    Thanks for the links! I spent a while browsing through them - I would say Bernard Ellena or Michel Almaira [hope I spelled it right] - but neither of them made the poll. Maybe there should be an "Other" option.

  60. #60

    Default Re: Who is the greatest living perfumer?

    Maurice Roucel for me! (who is strangely enough not on the list)............
    My Top '10' : (In no particular order)

    - Dolce & Gabbana: Pour Homme (vintage)
    - Paco Rabanne: Pour Homme (vintage)
    - Loewe: Esencia/Pour Homme/Solo/7
    - YSL: Opium Pour Homme Edp
    - Jacques Bogart: Bogart Pour Homme (2004)
    - MPG: Santal Noble
    - Guerlain: Vetiver
    - Amouage: Jubilation XXV
    - Hermes: Terre d'Hermes
    - YSL: Kouros (Fraicheur)

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