Scent Treks through Time ~ Camille Goutal / Antoine Maisondieu / Ineke Ruhland

09th June, 2008

Editor's note: These interviews are the second part of a series in which Marian Bendeth explores what a panel of modern perfumers would say if they could travel back to the time of their choosing, to meet, chat and co-create with a perfumer of the past. An introduction to the series and table of contents is here.


Camille Goutal

Perfumer, Annick Goutal Parfums.

Creations: Le Chevrefeuille, Les Nuits d'Hadrien, Mandragore, Myrrhe Ardente (more...)

Marian Bendeth: If it was possible to travel back in time to any particular century and decade of your choice to meet your number one inspirational Perfumer:

When would that be?

Camille Goutal: Ancient Egypt has always fascinated me... So I would choose XIII century B.C when Nefertiti and Nefertari were Queens.

MB: Who would that be?

Unfortunately, I don't have a specific perfumer name in mind. But I often think about the priests who had secret formulas, in order to purify the mind or the spirit.

I also imagine that they had many formulas used as remedies, and the fact that they truly believed in their powers is very touching in a way. They cherished the ingredients as treasure and knew how hard it was to obtain them.

Nowadays, we have everything so easily that we forget how precious the materials we use are. The fact that perfume is related to spirituality is also very interesting, even if, when I create a perfume, it's not the first thing that comes to my mind!

MB: What specific questions would you want to learn from them?

I would love to know (more than learn) what is for them the quintessence of femininity (in terms of perfume of course)!

And of course, if they have some kind of universal perfume suitable for both men and women that would immediately evoke sensuality, love or happiness... Because, nowadays, we all have different opinions on what is sensual or not, and just imagining, that there was, long time ago, a scent that was immediately associated to love is fascinating to me.

MB: If you could team up together in that time period, who would you like to co-create a fragrance for?

Since she created two fragrances for me, I would love to create a perfume for my mother!

Fond of roses as she was, I'm sure she would have loved to have a perfume made with amazing rose oil, myrrh, frankincense, grey amber... With magic in it!

MB: If you could bring anything back with you, what would that be?

More than a particular ingredient, I would love to have the freedom of using as many ingredients as I want without having to pay attention at the law: musk, rose oil, cinnamon, clove, pepper etc without any restriction. I would be in heaven!!!


Antoine Maisondieu

Senior Perfumer, Givaudan.

Creations: Jasmin et Cigarette, Gucci Rush for Men, Armani Code for Men, Burberry Brit for Men, Vrai Blonde, Encens et Bubblegum, Rossy de Palma, Roxy, Funny Moschino

It would be lovely to be able to go back in time and if I could there is two big periods I would like to live: end of 19th century/beginning of 20th working with Guerlain and the other one would be between mid- fifties and early seventies.

As you can see if I were able to travel in time I won't be here so often!

I would love to meet such perfumers as Edmond Roudnitska and his work for Dior (Eau Sauvage, Diorissimo, Diorella)

What specific questions would you want to learn from them?

I don't know what I would ask, I'll just love participating in the creation process!

I would love to be participating in the creations of perfumes like Calandre (1969), Pour Monsieur de Chanel (1955), Chanel 19 (1970), Cristalle (1974). I would have also love to participate to the early creations of Caron and Balmain Vent Vert (1945) & Monsieur Balmain (1964).

If I could bring back something it would certainly be the innocence and the time to create. Thank you for this journey into the past.


Ineke Rühland

Perfumer, Ineke LLC.

Creations: After My Own Heart, Balmy Days & Sundays, Chemical Bonding, Derring-Do, Evening Edged in Gold

I would go back in time to the 15th century, and more specifically 1485 to Milan, Italy. This was the Renaissance period in Italy, where the art of perfumery was prospering before moving to France in the 16th century. Perfumes were used primarily in the royal and aristocratic courts and by the wealthy, and were becoming more complex and interesting as new distillation techniques and raw materials were acquired in trade with Islamic cultures.

I would like to meet the bespoke perfumer of Leonardo da Vinci, assuming that he might have had one. Leonardo is a fascinating person, perhaps the most diversely talented genius ever to have lived, with his polymathic expertise as a painter, illustrator, sculptor, anatomist, botanist, architect, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, musician and writer. He is the archetype of the “Renaissance man”.

In 1485, Leonardo was 33 years old and worked for the Duke of Milan, Ludovico Sforza. According to Leonardo’s 16th century biographer, Giorgio Vasari, Leonardo was a respected judge in matters of beauty and elegance, so I think it highly likely that he would have been an early user of perfume.

Most of my questions would be about Leonardo rather than perfumery. Little is known today about Leonardo’s private life. He was a man of high integrity and sensitivity to moral issues. He was a conscious eater, a vegan who bought caged birds at the market in order to release them (a philosophy I share). He was both a perfectionist and procrastinator (traits I share). In Leonardo’s day, one could get in much trouble for expressing thoughts that challenged the generally accepted worldview. I would love to dig deeper to discover what someone so intelligent actually believed. What made this illegitimate son of a notary and a peasant girl grow to become one of the world's most famous artists and a scientist who was way "ahead of his time"? How is it that everything he touched turned into a thing of eternal beauty?

MB: If you could team up together in that time period, who would you like to co-create a fragrance for?

For Leonardo, of course. It would also be great to create a fragrance for the enigmatic Mona Lisa, although Leonardo would not begin to paint her until eighteen years later. Perhaps a great fragrance could put a full smile on her face.

MB: If you could bring anything back with you, what would that be?

I have always loved Leonardo’s Vitruvian Man (c. 1485), a study of anatomical proportion from one of his journals. It exemplifies the blend of art and science, which is also what we try to do in perfumery. It depicts a nude male figure in two superimposed positions with his arms and legs apart and simultaneously inscribed in a circle and square.

Leonardo would have been working on this around the time of my visit. I could try to persuade him to let me have it, being just a single page among the 13,000 in his journals. I would offer to exchange some secrets of the universe (he still believed the sun revolved around the earth, for example), or perhaps a generous supply of perfume. In any case, I think I would have to sell it to Bill Gates upon my return to the present so as not to alter the destiny of the universe all too much, since Bill Gates is the current owner of the Vitruvian Man as part of his purchase of Leonardo’s Codex Leicester several years ago.


Join Marian next week for time-travels with Antoine Lie, Mandy Aftel and Michel Roudnitska.

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About the author: Marian Bendeth

Marian Bendeth is a Global Fragrance Expert based out of Toronto, Canada. Marian has won six fragrance industry editorial awards for her writing. You can find out more on her website


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    • bulgariman | 10th June 2008 21:17

      Its really interesting to see the influences of our favourite perfumers - I enjoyed the ones with Jean Claude Ellena too and looking forward to see next weeks article

      Cheers Basenotes