A fragrance house and its makers story have inspired me again this week. Hopefully this tiny snapshot of the scientist, perfumer and artist Marc-Antoine Corticchiato whets your appetite for tomorrows fragrance reviews from the house, Parfum d’Empire.
Marc-Antoine Corticchiato is the handsome, urbane looking man in the photograph we all find on the front page of the Parfum d’Empire site. Considering his good looks and ability, his obvious charm (from the French videos I watched, but didn’t understand) and that his fragrance house is a continuing financial and critical success I am surprised there isn’t more information about him flying around the scentbloggosphere. I have stolen wholesale and remixed outrageously from the 2 best sources I could find; an interesting and informative interview on CafeFleurBon that you will be well rewarded should you take the 5 minutes to read it and the media fantasy that may be reality on the Parfum d’Empire site.
Born in Morocco, Marc-Antoine Corticchiato’s family hails from Corsica and he grew up in the village of Cuttoli Corticchiato, deep in the Corsican maquis (as Corsicans refer to the local bushland) and in Morocco at the family citrus groves. A competition horse rider, at an early age he considered becoming a professional equestrian. It was not to be; thank all the Gods and goodness itself.
“As a child, I was not especially attracted by perfumes but rather by plant scents, because I was curious about the different smells of a plant (through) the day or at various time of the year, even of the season. I was also curious about the great variety of plant smells…. ” Marc-Antoine Corticchiato
This drive to understand mysteries of scent production in, and why this fragrance varies through the life of, aromatic plants led Marc-Antoine to study chemistry. He developed a new technique to analyse extracts of aromatic plants through carbon-13 nuclear magnetic resonance (13C NMR: an important tool in the chemical structure elucidation of organic chemistry; wikipedia) for his Ph.D., then training at the renowned École Internationale de Parfumerie de Versailles (ISIPCA).
Going on to work in a research laboratory focused on the analysis of aromatic plants and extraction methods, for years he “dissected” natural raw materials and acquired in-depth knowledge of them, their characteristics and various uses. His work has been publishing in international scientific reviews.
His first blends were aromatherapy, teaching him to work towards therapeutic and olfactory goals simultaneously. He joined a Parisian perfume laboratory after carrying out this research for several years, where he found the opportunity to express his creativity more fully.
“Finally, I decided to create my own fragrances and I founded PARFUM D’EMPIRE in 2003 because I wanted to express my own vision of perfume…. I was inspired by all these Corsican people who have left their country to get a better life in different parts of the world…… The most well-known of them is of course Napoleon… (who said) “Eyes closed, in the darkest night, if by some miracle I were transported to Corsica. I would recognise it immediately by its smell. “….. So do I.…. For all these people, the scent of the Corsican scrubland is still their favorite perfume.” Marc-Antoine Corticchiato
Through perfume Marc-Antoine expresses the emotion conjured by blends of the most beautiful raw materials, coveted for centuries for their refinement, aphrodisiac properties and use in sacred rituals. Even going so far as to set up a production unit for essential oils in Madagascar. It is the link between perfume, eroticism and spirituality that he has revived with his fragrance house Parfum d’Empire.
“Founding my own brand PARFUM D’EMPIRE was a real challenge! I did it to be free to create with the noblest raw materials.…My perfumes are an invitation to explore the most complex and mysterious of empires: the realm of the senses.” Marc-Antoine Corticchiato
Marc-Antoine also teaches at ISIPCA (Institut supérieur international du parfum, de la cosmétique et de l’aromatique alimentaire).
I wish I could find more but I think much of his interesting story must be hidden in French text, beyond my reach. Tomorrow though we will let the perfumes speak for themselves.
Thanks for reading, now it’s time for you to share. Do you have a Marc-Antoine or Parfum d’Empire story to share with us? We’d love to read it. Leave a message in the comments,