Perfume, Punk, and Cookies.

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Val the Cookie Queen

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Hey APJ Perfumistas, Music Fans, and Cookie Monsters

I am gonna be interviewed live, on a local radio station on the 15th of March.  Talking about perfumes, punk, and cookies.  I am so freaking excited I asked Portia if I could share the news with you.  I mean, what is the definition of local radio in 2019 huh?  You can all listen to it online anywhere in the world.

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Perfume, Punk, and Cookies.

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Impressions De Giverny by Rasei Fort for Fort & Manlé 2018 + Interview

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Portia

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Hi there APJ,

There has been a lot of buzz around the Fort & Manlé brand in the last couple of years. The fragrances are excellent and not stereotypically niche. When you hold a bottle in your hand you can feel the heart and love that’s gone into creating something so beautiful, and then when you spritz! That’s when the real fireworks start. I’m an unashamed fan of Rasei and his work. We’ve met and I found him a Continue reading

With Guerlain’s Sylvaine Delacourte in Paris + Photo Essay

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Post by Ainslie Walker

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Hello Fragrance lovers – something very special for you today!

Sylvaine Delacourte’s story is of hard work and perseverance. Currently Guerlain’s Artistic Director of Fragrance, an inspiring pioneer, in an historically male dominated industry. She has instigated change and innovation within Guerlain’s traditional curtains.

I attended Atelier Il Était Une Fois prior to the meeting, smelling 25 original, discontinued Guerlain fragrances. A beginner when it came to Guerlain, my visit to Paris was certainly rectifying this. Basics covered and now who better to bring me up to speed than Sylvaine Delacourte!?

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With Guerlain’s Sylvaine Delacourte in Paris

Australian visit announcement!

AW: From the beginning, tell me about your career?

SD: I was a makeup artist! Knowing nothing about perfume I joined Guerlain, became a trainer in makeup for France and internationally, then Product Manager.

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AW: How did you progress into fragrance?

SD: I became curious. I worked for the most beautiful perfume brand in the world. There was no in-house training for perfume so I attended Cinquième Sens and it was a revolution! My teacher Monique Schlienger was inspiring. I fell in love with perfume. I started to buy books and bottles – my collection was enormous!

I asked, “If I can study perfume, after I will create training for Guerlain.” I was given 2 years, paid, to learn perfume.

I attended Isipca, Firmenich and many more! I spent one week with Jean Claude Ellena.

I kept my word and created perfume training for Guerlain. I was the first person to do sales training about perfume at that time.

AW: From trainer to perfumery?

SD: Jean Paul Guerlain invited me for lunch. Handing me 3 blotters, he said “I’m creating a fragrance” I replied, “I am a beginner, I know nothing!” He insisted, I made my choice and he said, “I feel exactly the same.” It was Heritage. He said “stop what you’re doing and come work with me.”
I became evaluator, technological coach and psychological coach. [Laughs]
We did many perfumes together; from after Samsara, to Champs Elysees – a turning point: I was quite alone in that project, working with Olivier Cresp from Firmenich, nobody knew -it was secret and it was chosen to launch!!

JPG was upset about Champs Elysees, “Sylvaine, go into marketing, it will be good for you.” He developed Coriolan and Mahora – good perfumes but commercial disasters.
Guerlain was not in good health, I was asked to come back, “we have to launch a perfume, it must be a success!”

I developed one with Maurice Roucel and won against JPG and other perfumers it was L’Instant de Guerlain I cosigned with Maurice. Next, I won Pour Homme and after I won a floral, Insolence.

Finally I was made Director of Creation.

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AW: Your current role?

SD: I control all the tools and language about perfumes we transmit to beauty advisers, press and marketing. I know all the steps of the perfumer; I know what’s inside. I know how to talk about it, so I know perfectly the message we need to give.

AW: Bespoke Fragrances?

SD: Since 2006 I’ve made 35 bespoke fragrances. I have 6 to make now! I created a 2-hour consultation with psychoanalysis, olfactive tests – I make them anosmic, almost in an hypnotic state to find positive smells from their life.

AW: Working with Michael Edwards?

SD: He is very cute. He comes many times, yes, to see me – twice a year to talk new products and their pyramids. He asks, “Are you ok with this category,” first. He is very professional and serious, does not take risks. Very kind -a gentleman. He understands perfectly the fragrances.

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AW: Two fragrances most special to you?

SD: They are all my babies, but 2 are very important:

L’Instant de Guerlain for Women as it was tough at that time. I cosigned with Maurice Roucel, I was in the spotlight and it meant a new life for me.

Cuir Beluga I made for myself, it is me! It is my perfume! Cuir Beluga is the most beautiful fragrance I have created. It is difficult to stay at that level. This will be by my gravestone!

AW: Working with Thierry Wasser?

SD: I worked with Thierry on 3 fragrances before he joined Guerlain, when he was still at Firmenich, Quand Vient La Pluie, Iris Ganache and Guerlain Homme.

La Petite Robe Noir, the original, was an exclusive. When Thierry joined Guerlain he said in an elegant way “I have kidnapped your formula to make it more international!” [Smiling]

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AW: Difficulties as a woman?

Always fighting as a woman – I did not want to be in the spotlight but when you do something you are proud of, you want to be recognized. Now, everyone in the team is important.

AW: “Musk-inade,” working with musk -L’Instant Magic days!

I am very fond of musk! It is very comforting, elegant, refined, and warm. Some are difficult to catch. You must blend a bouquet musks for everyone to smell it. It’s not easy to work with musk, it hugs close to skin, and it’s hard to make it extraverted. Musk is tenacious but has no trail. We have to add trail to the musk.

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AW: Raw materials you like / don’t like?

I love vanilla, mimosa, heliotrope, iris and violet. I love vetiver and patchouli. Vetervyl acetate, heliotropin and hedione.

I work on delicacy and subtlety. I like to work raw materials in contrasting ways e.g. Cruel Gardenia – I made Gardenia like lace, very delicate and subtle. I made vanilla fresh and green in Angelique Noire. Rose Barbare’s rose is not romantic or fresh but dark, musky, nutty.

I don’t like indole – too animalic for me!

Oud I find the hardest – I don’t like it. Thierry loves working with that kind of note. I am happy he takes care of this!

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Sylvaine Delacourte Australian Visit:

Sylvaine visits Australia November 3rd – 5th, launching L’Art et la Matiere collection, David Jones, Sydney.

Sylvaine oozes such passion for the brand and fragrances; specifics roll off her tongue without hesitation. She will share her remarkable knowledge to attendees. In addition she will host workshops, where VIP’s will create their own floral fragrances.

– 3rd November 6:30pm / 5th November 4pm instore at DJ’s.
– Perfume Creation Workshop $65, 4th November 10am / 5th November 1pm

BOOK through Sydney Perfume Lovers Meetup Group online or David Jones.

Thankyou for reading! Hope to see you there!
Ainslie X

Ormonde Jayne in Florence: An Aperol spritz with Linda Pilington

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Post by Ainslie Walker

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Hi Fragrant Friends!

I’m in Italy for Pitti Fragranze 2016 and today you can share with me:

An Aperol spritz in Florence with Linda Pilkington
*And a prosecco ‘roadie’ if I’m honest…

A Florence virgin, I arrived from Australia just 30 minutes before the first of many exciting interviews I had prearranged before departing. By the time the curtains opened for Pitti Fragrance I already had met with three fascinating folk from the world of fragrance. Nothing like hitting the ground running…and run I did!!

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Linda Pilkington of British brand, Ormonde Jayne and I met in the garden in her quaint hotel, Lungarno Vespucci 50 on the bank of the Arno River nearest to Ponte Amerigo Vespucci, Firenze.

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Ormond Jayne at Pitti in Florence

An Aperol spritz with Linda Pilington

With a fascination for scent and an entrepreneurial mindset from a young age, it is not surprising Ormonde Jayne has evolved into a successful, luxury cult brand.

How the brand evolved….
Initially named by her husband after the street she was living on in London, Ormonde Terrace, combined with her middle name, the brand began a rapid evolution. Winning Top Draw for best designs for handmade candles, room sprays and bath oils meant Ormonde Jayne was noticed and picked up by department stores Harrods and Liberty soon after launching.

Soon after, Linda began work on a stand-alone boutique on London’s Old Bond Street with the help of Chanel’s merchandising team. Linda had previously created for Chanel’s fine jewelry an in-house scented candle, that she still supplies.

Before doors opened on day 1, the editor for the Evening Standard had already knocked on the door and by day 2 there was a buzz – a queue forming before second day of trade. This was November 2001.

Linda bashfully describes her successes as ‘happenstance,’ however it’s clear she has put in plenty of hard work and loads of travel too!

Linda’s favorite fragrances…
Linda and her sister were “the best smelling teenagers of their small village near Manchester, England.” Her sister owned a bottle of Dior’s Eau Sauvage and Linda had Dior’s Diorella. The pair used to layer the duo and the town folk used to all say “those girls smell amazing!”

Her all time favorite, for its uniqueness is Feminite du Bois Shiseido / Serge Lutens. She has also worn Givenchy’s Pour Femme (Eau de Givenchy??), Van Cleef & Arpel’s First and Chanel’s Cristalle – In fact Linda told me Ormonde Jayne’s “Tiare is a little nod to Chanel’s Cristalle”

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Linda’s creative process…
Linda’s innovation has been on finding unusual ingredients, not widely used at the time, such as hemlock, oud and champacca – and daring to use them first. “Champacca (2002) came out almost 10 years before Tom Fords in 2009” she explains

Recent news…
Currently the company is repackaging to linen covered boxes. Each country can choose a pantone color, which will then be unique to them. For example purple is already exclusive to Russia. A nice touch.

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My personal favorite is Ormonde woman – full of mesmerizing hemlock. What’s yours?

I will be meeting Linda in her London boutique and Studio in a few weeks, so please let me know if you’ve any questions you’d like me to ask on your behalf!

Cheers!
Ainslie X

Naomi Goodsir Interview

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Post by Ainslie Walker

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“A perfume can be viewed as an invisible accessory. It is a personal choice which creates a statement of style”
Naomi Goodsir

Naomi Goodsir is a tremendously talented Australian, taking the world by storm with her couture designs – hats, bags, body accouterments…and since 2012 niche fragrances.

Fantastic news in February, when I spent an afternoon with her in Sydney, was that her most recent release, Iris Cendré had been announced as a finalist for the Fragrance Foundation Awards, France (THE FIFI’S) in the Prix des Experts category!! Naomi has no idea how it was chosen as one of the top 12 out of 350 entries as usually one must nominate their own fragrance and yet she did not. Perhaps she will find out who the mysterious initiator was when she attends the awards in mid April for the big announcement! (I have my fingers crossed for her)

Naomi Goodsir Interview

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The fragrances are currently available in 28 countries, here in Australia Peony Melbourne has carried them since 2012. In fact Naomi tells me proudly that Jill was the first buyer in the world to order any of her fragrances, recognizing instantly their beauty and appeal.

Originally studying fashion design in Sydney, Naomi worked her way into millinery, molding, stitching and creating her pieces by hand. She relocated to France, near Grasse to be near her life and business partner Renaud.

Today her creations are in demand, with Naomi also collaborating with designers for their collections, fashion catwalks including Kanye West’s in Paris, window displays and National Opera Houses. From 2008 Naomi expanded into handbags and body accouterments fashioned from luxe raw materials including buffalo/veal/cow/goat/kangaroo leather, horse hair, lace, felt, silk, feathers, barramundi, crinoline, Bakelite, American alligator skin, and Australian and African crocodile skin.

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Naomi and I discussed her process for her perfumes, where she collaborates with independent master perfumers Julien Rasquinet and Bertrand Duchaufour. She says, like with her designs, she always starts with a raw material she loves and ideas develop from there. The raw material provides texture and inspiration and further ingredients add layers, similarly to when she creates her hats and bags. With Cuir Velours, it was leather, immortelle, rum, with Bois d’Ascèse it was incense, tobacco and whiskey, Or du Sérail, which featured on the cover of Fragrances of the World 2015 annual, features golden honeyed tobacco and Iris Cendré, of course has delicate orris at the core.

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Naomi was wearing Bois d’Asèse when I met her and divulged the very personal and moving story behind the scent. Its inspiration coming from the warm incense smells she remembers from within a church in the rural NSW town of Coonabarabran – the last place she visited with her dad before he passed away. It also embraces the scent of bushfire from her childhood memories. When I sprayed her personal bottle on my arm we both observed the “fatherly” aspects -my skin amplifies oakmoss and I did feel a warm sense of fatherly comfort.

The following day I wore Cuir Velours from a handmade gift Naomi gave me and I texted her saying “I feel I have awoken, bewildered and happily crawled out of one of your giant leather handbag creations into a boozy dream…complete with immortelle stuck in my messed up hair!” She replied with “A wonderfully apt description- the labdanum, rum et immortelle work perfectly together- a ‘bon mariage’ “ (yes she is beautifully spoken and fluent in French)

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Her next release is collaboration with Isabel Doyle, Annick Goutal’s in-house perfumer which they have been working on for some years and are calling it Nuit de Bakelite for now.

Fascinating and elusive, usually Naomi avoids the camera, however she agreed to just a few just for me to share and even shared with me her very first selfie!!

Have you tried the fragrances from the collection? Which is your favorite and why?

Interview: Neela Vermeire

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Post by Portia

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Hey there Fragrant Friends,

I have a huge apology to make. This interview was done back in April 2015 and the email got lost in the wrong folder. I found it this week and thought it would be really nice to put it up. Neela is one of my mates and I know how much of her heart and soul goes into her fragrant creations, I had a few questions and thought you also might like to read her answers.

Interview: Neela Vermeire

PICHOLA on WHITE Neela Vermeire CreationsPhoto Donated Neela Vermeire Creations

Parfumo gives these featured accords:
Top: Cardamom, Cinnamon, Saffron, Juniper, Magnolia, Neroli, Clementine, Bergamot
Heart: Orange blossom absolute, Rose absolute, Tuberose absolute, Jasmine sambac, Ylang-ylang
Base: Benzoin absolute, Sandalwood, Driftwood, Haitian vetiver

Pichola is out, congratulations, how do you feel after the launch of one of your fragrances?

Thank you Portia! We feel very excited by the generally positive reaction.

I find Pichola a big departure from your previous 4 releases, what lead you down this path?

We did not intend any conscious departure – but I understand what you mean – it is different compared to the first four (and the fifth Mohur Extrait).
We wanted to create a fragrance that reflected the feeling of the light reflections on Pichola. Also that it is a fragrance that could be worn by people who appreciate a rich yet translucent smell.
The texture of Pichola EDP is complex yet at the same time lighter and it feels like a silk chiffon which has colours yet is light to wear. We did not want a heavy hitting white floral that could knock one out but one that could be a comforting and elegant companion when worn.
The first four are perhaps more complex at first glance, heavier and texture-wise like rich brocade silk.

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You are famous Neela as Bertrand Duchaufour’s most exacting client, was your fifth collaboration’s creation any easier?

It gets tougher to create something that in our opinion needs to measure up to the existing creations. Ashoka won an award last year and that raised the bar further up and made it even more difficult. It never gets any easier.
We don’t and will never rest on any laurels (that would be rather unwise) – we work like we did with the very first fragrances – with lots of time, dedication, positive energy, honesty and making sure that the creations weave the magic for everyone who encounters them. Naturally they are not all “people pleasers” but what is the point of us creating unexciting perfumes? We want each of our clients to feel transported into our olfactory universe.

There are two types of visitor to Udaipur’s Lake Pichola: the ones who stay in the Lake Palace looking out and the ones who stay on the shore to view the palace in Pichola. Which one are you and why?

I have stayed both on the shore and on one of the two main islands -where the Lake Palace is located.
The view is very different from the shore.
It is one of objectivity and a wide lens view – if that makes sense.
When you are inside the Lake Palace – you feel it is a personal story and it is a close-up. It is subjective detailed and focused view. You see your view of the shore and the lake according to where you stand in the palace and during what time of a day or night.

Neela Portia Pierre Herme 2013

Which are your three biggest countries for clients and why do you think that is?

Difficult to say but off the top of my head
Italy, US, Russia – I think it is because these fragrances sing a song for everyone who has an open heart to listen to these creations.

Will we ever see home or body products from Neela Vermeire Creations?

Yes I would personally love this to happen.
However, as a totally independent company – we need to sell our existing perfumes well to focus on our next creations.
We will not launch a new line until we can make this a sustainable business.

However, we do have some beautiful leather clutch bags and some accessories that we only sell when people request through our web boutique.

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Thank YOU xxxx

Neela Portia Guerlain Lunch 2014

“It’s hard to be a diamond in a rhinestone world.” Dolly Parton.

Further reading: Australian Perfume Junkies and What Men Should Smell Like
Neela Vermeire Creations has €205/60ml
Surrender To Chance has samples starting at $7/.5ml

It’s nice to learn a little about Neela and the way she operates, yes? Which is your favourite Neela Vermeire Creation?
Portia xx

Arquiste: Carlos Huber Interview 2014

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Post by Anslie Walker

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Arquiste at Peony Melbourne’s Event

Carlos Huber is director/curator of Arquiste perfumes. I got to have a lunch with him in Melbourne, moments before the Australian launch of new fragrances L’Etrog Aqua and Architects Club at Peony Haute Perfumerie.

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Arquiste: Carlos Huber Interview 2014

You are studied Preservation Architecture, did you also study perfumery?

I started as a Preservation Architect and also worked for Ralph Lauren. I met a perfume evaluator who introduced me to perfumer Rodrigo Flores-Roux. I became friends with him, spending a year studying with him as much as possible. We share a love of history, so he understands my passion and interprets my visions well.

How did the range develop?

I came up with 6 stories, moments in history for the perfumers to translate. I choose places I have visited and connect with deeply to ensure the fragrances are authentic. The aim is to bring olfactive references to life. They are historic moments in time, yet I did not want them to be vintage, I wanted them to be modern concepts where we are dropped in that moment, not have the moment brought to us. We also use the most modern of ingredients to create hyper real experiences.

Tell me about the Arquiste signature bottles?

I love these, they are Italian made, solid and round and if you look closely on the inside you cannot see where the glass and perfume begin and end. I just had the lids remade so they are heavy in the hand. The new fragrances are in 100ml only and the originals are in 50ml, eventually they will all be available in the 100ml size.

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Overview of the range with quotes from Carlos:
Woods and Citrus:
Aleksandr is an amber leather developed by Yann Vasnier that interprets a Russian love story in 1837. Violet and neroli is the fired-up lovers after shave products, as he gets ready to leave the house for a dual. He dons his fur coat and leather boots and heads outside amongst the snow-laden fir and birch trees, where in a clearing ahead, the fateful duel awaits him.

Architects Club by Yaan Vasnier “this fragrance is set in The Fumé-the jewel of Claridge’s and has 3 phases – the first fresh icy gin martini phase with juniper, angelica, lavender, clary sage and coriander, the second comfortable woods and amber where oak, guaicwood and sensual ambermax settle on skin and thirdly the dry smoky vanilla tobacco, old books and leather phase. I love wearing this fragrance!!”

L’Etrog is a citrus chypre developed with both Rodrigo and Yann. It’s inspired by Jewish harvest festival Sukkot, which occurs in October. “L’Etrog is Hebrew for Citron and is the balmy sweet night time in Calabria, Italy 1175 where farmers gather after a day in the citron fields. Dried date accord and scents from the wood cabin mix with the intense citron leaving a velvety powder dry down after the zest has died down.”

L’Etrog Aqua is an Eau De Cologne style yet contains 15% perfume concentration!! It’s the morning after L’Etrog, where dew is heavy on the citron fields, green, tart, wet, juicy and cool, it sheds light on aspects of the original and highlights them. “This fragrance contains more myrtle than any other fragrance, along with lavender, rosemary, vetiver and pistachio, which is like a dry cedar.”

Anima Dulcis was developed by both perfumers and is definitely worth a try. Carlos describes it as “a baroque gourmand” combining cocoa, Mexican vanilla, cinnamon and three types of chilli to interpret a convent in Mexico City in 1695 where a group of nuns prepare recipes of bread puddings and hot chocolate.

Florals:
Fleur De Louis is a woody floral developed by Rodrigo Flores-Roux’s. It’s the French perspective in 1660 on the French and Spanish boarder, where Louis XIV is about to capture a glimpse of his new bride, Maria Theresa. Orris, jasmine and rose represent the French as they peer from a pavilion made from freshly cut pine and cedarwood. Orange blossom wafts from the Spanish infant’s clothing.

Infanta en flor is a floral musky amber and is Yann Vasnier’s take on the same time/place as Fleur de Louis, but from a Spanish perspective. Maria Teresa, blushes, fans herself and steals a look back at the gallant King as he lays his eyes on her for the first time. Cistus, Spanish leather and immortelle dance with the innocent scent of orange flower water, rose-rouge and rice powder.
“The French perfumer did the perspective from the Spanish border and the Spanish from the French!” Carlos marvels.

Boutonniere No7 was Rodrigo Flores-Roux’s work and is a green floral fragrance made with the brief of “How does a man wear a flower?” Carlos explains “The answer is that men wore white gardenias on their lapel to the opera in Paris in 1899 to seduce women. We originally wanted it to be at the end of the night – it became quite sickly and did not work so we went for the first intermission at the opera combining gardenia with cologne ingredients such as lavender, vetiver, oakmoss, mandarin, bergamot and then added an ultra dose of jasmine”

Flor Y Canto meaning “flower and song” was developed with Rodrigo Flores-Roux and is a fresh, green opulent white floral “mixing Mexican originated flowers of tuberose, magnolia, marigold and frangipani with incense of Tenochtitlan, Mexico in August 1400 to represent a festival of flowers called Tlaxochimaco where flowers are offered on temple alters for the gods and the dead.”

Which are favorite fragrances for you?

My favorites are Cologne Bigarade by Jean-Claude Ellena for Frederic Male, D’Orsay’s Le Nomade, Tom Ford’s Champaca Absolute and Neroli Portofino.

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Of the Arquiste line – what do you wear the most?

I have been wearing a lot of the Architects Club lately (I have to say it smells FANTASTIC on Carlos!) and also Fleur de Louis is my other favorite.
In winter in New York I also like to wear L’Etrog /L’Etrog Aqua on my scarf and under layers as they contrast with the winter in a nice way.

Can we have a glimpse into the next story/moment in time you will bring to us with the next fragrance?

I can say it is based between 1614 and 1622 and is based on special cargo that traveled between Mexico, Europe and Japan.

Ainslie Walker x