Maurice Roucel / Linda Pilkington / Lorenzo Villoresi ~ Scent Treks through Time

09th July, 2008

Editor's note: These interviews are the eighth 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.


Maurice Roucel

Senior Perfumer, Symrise

Creations: X-Centric Dunhill, Musc Ravageur Dans tes Bras, Lalique Pour Homme Lion,  24 Faubourg, Gucci Envy, Iris Silver Mist, Riverside Drive, Jasmin 17 Le Labo, L'Instant de Guerlain, Missoni, Insolence (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? Who would that be? 

Roucel: It would be the early part of the Twentieth Century to meet François Coty!  This would be the best gift a perfumer could receive! The man was a genius.

I would love to spend some time with him and share a lot of ideas and inspirations. I have a lot of respect for this man, he was a  creator of so many incredible things! Not only perfumery but as a businessman as well!  I think of the Tax Free market, different classifications, marketing concepts, the list goes on and on. So many modern perfumers are still inspired by him, and his classifications which you can still find in modern perfumes today!.

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

Maybe Coco Chanel,  but I would also like to watch him create Émeraude or the Premier Muguet – ah Wow, fabulous! or the great le Chypre or powdery floral oriental, there was so much going on.

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

I would love to bring back a piece of his brain! –(chuckle) no, but  a lot of inspiration, his mind, would be a the best gift a perfumer could receive for personal development.


Linda Pilkington

Perfumer and founder, Ormonde Jayne

Creations: Orris Noir, Ormonde Woman, Ormonde Man, Tolu, Isfarkand pour Homme, Osmanthus (more...)

If possible to travel back in time, I would love to have lived 2000 BC in Egypt and be part of the High Priesthood preparing the Kings and Queens for the afterlife. 

I would study philosophy and collaborate with other High Priests on embalming oils to impress the Gods. Ideally, I would be Nefertiti’s perfumer and embalmer.  

After removing her organs, I would prepare an unguent made from cyprinid, an Egyptian tree, the fruit of the adipose palm, myrrh, juniper and lemongrass to rub into the skin and wrap her body up in cloth soaked in a balsam, probably galbanum, so she would be sent on her way smelling of Estee Lauder’s Private Collection, one of my all time favorite perfumes.

If I could bring anything back, it would be masses of floral garlands made from susinum.


Lorenzo Villoresi

Perfumer and founder, Lorenzo Villoresi

Creations: Patchouli, Wild Lavender, Alamut, Piper Nigrum, Musk (more...)

I would time-travel to around 1533 when Caterina de’ Medici married the King of France Henry II. She brought to France the fashion of perfumes of the Renaissance Italian courts as well as her personal perfumer, Renato Bianco (called by the French René le Florentin) who opened his first workshop in Paris in Rue Pont-au-Change. I would have loved to be with Caterina’s court in this very important period in the history of perfumery.

I would have liked to know better the methods of distillation and extraction of aromatic materials used at that time and of course I would have loved to try some formulas of the royal perfumes. Although we do have some documents of that time and also some books like the “Notandissimi Segreti dell’Arte Profumatoria” (Most Noteworthy Secrets of perfumery Art) by Rosetti, dated 1555, and the recipes of other famous ladies of the Italian courts like the booklet “Experimenta” of Catreina Sforza, dated 1525, and others.

I would have loved to create a fragrance for Caterina herself or for some other remarkable woman of that time, like Lucrezia Borgia or Isabella d’Este.

I would definitely bring back the instruments for extraction and distillation, the ancient bottles, and all the instruments used by the Alchemists after having tried to understand their philosophy and their working methods.

Join Marian next time for more time travelling scent treks.

  • Share this

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


Advertisement — comments are below