Perfume, Punk, and Cookies.


Val the Cookie Queen


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.


Perfume, Punk, and Cookies.

Continue reading

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




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


Post by Ainslie Walker


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!?


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.


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.


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.


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]


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.


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!


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


Post by Ainslie Walker


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!!


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.



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”


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.


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!

Ainslie X

Naomi Goodsir Interview


Post by Ainslie Walker


“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

Naomi Goodsir:Ainslie Walker 2016 #1

Naomi Goodsir:Ainslie Walker 2016 #2

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.

Naomi Goodsir:Ainslie Walker 2016 #

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.

Naomi Goodsir:Ainslie Walker 2016 #4

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)

Naomi Goodsir:Ainslie Walker 2016 #5

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


Post by Portia


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.


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.

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


Post by Anslie Walker


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.

Arquiste Peony 2014 #1

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.

Arquiste Peony 2014 #2

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.

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.

Arquiste Peony 2014 #3

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

Catamara Rosarium of Rosarium Blends: Interview


Post by Azar


Catamara Rosarium is the perfumer, ritual artist, alchemist and master herbalist behind Rosarium Blends. She not only creates stunning, magical natural fragrances and incense but also offers an extensive line of philtres, salves, essential oils and related items as well as consultations on the Rosarium Blends website

Catamara AzarPhoto Donated Catamara

I met Catamara and her partner, distiller and perfumer Marcus McCoy (House of Orpheus), at the second Annual Seattle Artisan Fragrance Salon in May. Catamara generously provided me with a number of samples to take home. I have fallen in love with her rich, energetic fragrances and will be writing more about them in the coming months.

Rosarium Blends RB-Logo

Today it is my pleasure to ask Catamara a few questions for APJ.

I have been wondering about your background in alchemy, herbalism and magick. Did you grow up in the craft? When did you realize that you were drawn to these ancient arts and sciences?

I have been drawn to the craft since I was a young girl though I didn’t have any way to access any real information or know anyone who did until my late teens. I became profoundly immersed into various traditions from 1997 to present. My passion for making herbal concoctions began about 10 years ago and I’ve become deeply obsessed with the ancient arts and sciences involved with alchemy and the herbal arts ever since.

What does it mean to you to be a ritual artist?

I started using the term ‘ritual artist’ as a way I felt best described dance collaborations I was involved with in times past. I integrated tribal belly dance movement with the invocation of particular deities or god forms during the performance –therefore I wasn’t just belly dancing, I was invoking and embodying that energy as an integral part of the performance. The term ‘ritual artist’ has transmuted and has been more directly focused into my work in the plant kingdom. All of my formulas are created in a ritual setting during specific astrological elections, planetary hours and lunar cycles. Each product I create has specific energies I invoke ritually while concocting, drawn down into the matter to charge and assist in furthering the embodiment of the charm.

Rosarium Blends sage_resin

How does alchemy and your working knowledge of the elemental processes figure into the creation of your natural perfumes?

Every plant has specific energies that can be worked with magickally. My formulas are first determined by researching all plants and the lore that may be specifically related (in varying ways) to the formula I wish to create. I do not simply mix scents together because they smell good, I focus first on the energy I want to alchemicalize by combining what I know of each with the other. The process of knowing how much of each scent I select to blend thereafter is an intuitive process.

Your fragrances are created with the help of carefully crafted charms and powerful spiritual personalities and are designed to be used to manifest specific, life changing results. With that in mind do you consider your natural perfumes appropriate for everyone to enjoy casually as beautiful personal scents?

People are attracted to scent for a variety of reasons. When speaking to customers about which blends they are drawn to (before knowing what it was designed for), I often find them to be pleasantly surprised when they learn of the meaning and how it applies in their current life circumstances. While my blends are carefully crafted for various purposes, they will work with great success if worn with intention and on a subtle level. Otherwise I do believe they can be enjoyed and worn casually, and believe that if someone is attracted to the scent it is likely they will appreciate the effects as well.

Rosarium Blends elemi

Can you describe your relationships with green intelligence and the spirits of the plant kingdom? Do disciplines like vegetalismo and curanderismo figure into your work as a perfumer?

Each plant has an intelligence or genii connected to it, is a great teacher, and there is a myriad of ways to connect with them. My relationship is that of a student and they direct me in which ways to work with them. My work with Vegetalismo has introduced me to perfumes shamans work with during ceremony, of which my partner and I have created two blends inspired by this, ‘Agua de Palo Santo’ and ‘Agua de Flora’. Curanderismo factors in by my emphasis on creating blends that have a psycho-spiritual healing effect to cause change.

I have been enjoying the beautiful photos of your “poison garden” on facebook. (Poison gardens remind me of the Nathaniel Hawthorne short story “Rappaccini’s Daughter”.) As a gardener I am well aware that at least half of the plants I cultivate are poisonous. These plants are, for the most part, simply protecting themselves with alkaloids, saponins etc. Why do you maintain a poison garden and what have you learned from keeping a garden devoted specifically to poisonous plants?

I have always been drawn to the beauty, blessing and bane of those plants that are deemed ‘poisonous’. I love sitting with them through all cycles of their life, during the day and nighttime hours in communion and meditation. I am fascinated by the complexity of their blooms, seeds, roots, thorns, leaves, vines, etc, each with purpose. I believe everything is a poison and can harm you in excess. The poison garden requires deep respect, honor, intuition and knowledge.

Rosarium Blends kali

 As a self described “Sorcerous, Hermetic, Alchemist, Tantric, Witch” how do you view the world of mainstream perfumery? Is there any magic left in the corporate world of scent?

The beautiful thing about scent is that it is linked to our brain and connects to our memory. It is deeply connected to our emotional state and has an impact on our behavior whether we realize it or not. Once we have made a connection with it, scent can instantaneously transport us to times past and give us a feeling of comfort, arousal, love, hate, rage, etc. Scent can have positive effects on our mood, reduce stress, trigger arousal, increase self-confidence and much more. This is truly amazing and I believe that any scent whether hand crafted by a witch or artisan perfumer, or mass-produced in the corporate world, has the ability to effect people and trigger emotion or feelings within.

Rosarium Blends perfumes_set

Rosarium Blends have a terrific selection in their Rosarium Blends online shop<<JUMP

Thank you so much, Catamara, for taking the time to enlighten us here at APJ. I am looking forward to reviewing your fragrances in a future post.

*All pictures donated by Rosarium Blends

Michael Edwards Interview + 50% Off Book Deal


Post by Ainslie Walker


Ainslie Walker’s personal interview with Michael Edwards

[50% off Michael Edwards book offer and Meet the Legend himself in Sydney next week!]


How were you drawn into the World of Fragrance? How then were you able to make your passion a career?

I was working for FMCG in their toiletries marketing department in the mid 1960’s which led to me being very intrigued by the power that fragrance has to change consumers perceptions of a products performance. Intrigued as I was, I knew nothing about perfume until 1975, when I attended a Firmenech workshop. I absorbed their ‘Bouquet de la Perfumerie’ a guide (out of print since 1978) that grouped fragrances, by their accord, into 11 olfactory families. From there my work developed quite by accident. I became intrigued about how hard it was for people to find a fragrance in store that was right for them. How could we use the power of the fragrance families to help? I set up as a retail consultant training and merchandising. But there was no guide asides from H&R’s book. In 1984 I released my first Fragrances of The World Guide of 300 fragrances. Older released Fragrances that had sat on the shelf began to sell in an environment where sales staff normally sold what they liked, or what was new. I wanted the industry to speak the same language through my books. I added 3 new categories to the wheel; Fresh with the release of Eau Sauvage, as it was not just citrus of EDC that came before it, Green was added with the release of Estee Lauder’s Alliage – it was so green, it was no longer floral, when Calone was introduced as an ingredient in perfumes, I created the Water section of the wheel.

Please tell me about 2-3 of the most inspirational/interesting people you’ve met/worked with.

Yves De Chiris is the fifth generation of the fabled Chiris dynasty that began with his great-great-grandfather, Antoine Chiris, in 1768. It was Yves grandfather, George, who gave François Coty his start in perfumery. It was a Chiris company, too, that employed Ernest Beaux, the creator. Yves himself, in his role as Senior vice president of Quest International, now part of Givaudan, masterminded the creation of such gems as Angel and Féminité du Bois. His knowledge and expertise fascinate me.

Guy Robert more than anyone, has influenced my work. The creator of such gems as Madame Rochas (1960), Calèche (1961), Doblis, Amouage Gold and Dioressence, and many of the early Gucci scents. Guy is considered by his peers as one of the great 20th century perfumers. I first met him in the late 1980s. Without his help, insight and introductions, PERFUME LEGENDS would probably not have been possible. For more than sixteen years until his death last year, he acted as my FRAGRANCES OF THE WORLD technical consultant. His comments and advice proved invaluable. He became my mentor, adviser and friend. I miss him terribly.

Edmond Roudnitska the master of 20th century perfumery. When I first wrote asking if he would speak to me about his creation of Femme (1944), Diorissimo (1956), Eau Sauvage (1966) and Diorella (1972), I held out little hope that he would agree to meet me. I not only wanted to talk to him about the legends he had created, but also because he was then the only living perfumer who had known such perfumers as Ernest Beaux (Chanel No.5 1921) and Henri Alméras (Joy 1930). In the event, he agreed to receive me and, on our first meeting, gave me more than two hours of his time. The piece of advice I remember to this day? “Simplify, simplify, simplify,” he one said. It’s become my motto too.

Jean Claude Ellena I find him fascinating! Now Hermès’ in-house perfumer, Jean Claude has inherited Edmond Roudnitska’s mantel. In a work of bland flankers, his creations remind us how sublime perfume can be.

Luca Turin because no one writes more eloquently about perfume. His original book, Parfums. Le guide is for me a ‘bible’. I adore him.

What trends in fragrance can we look forwards to seeing over the next 2 years? Men’s/women’s/niche etc?

We live in rapidly changing times, in that old perfumeries are closing due to IFRA restrictions, on the other hand we have the golden age of new molecular perfumes on the horizon. The explosion of niche will lead to increased creativity – there will be many interesting developments, for example we have already seen Tom Ford and Editions de parfum come from this.

What are you working on at the moment?

• I am reediting and updating Perfume Legends, for release in 2016 – I have added Fracas – Robert Piguet, Feminite Du Bois – Serge Lutens, Flower-Kenzo, Coco Mademoiselle – Chanel and Jean Paul Gaultier
• Fragrances of the world 2015 is due for release soon, with 1400 new fragrances added
• I am interviewing the great American perfumers for my new book American Legends – I have completed 95% of the interviews, but no release date as of yet.
• I am also working on the Nuance Fragrance Wheel installations in a number of airports across Europe
• I shall be presenting a Saudi Arabian education programme to the press in Jeddah on September 8, dedicated to enriching the olfactory experience with a deeper understanding of international fragrances

What is your connection to Australia?

Well my wife is from Australia, thus I have an emotional connection to Australia. It is the country that let me experiment and learn to make it understandable for people to talk about, and sell perfumes. I trained 30 000 staff in Australia. It was Australian retailers who gave me the chance to create the books and train their staff.

Where do you spend the rest of your year, and what are the highlights?

• In October I go to Cannes for the Duty Free & Travel Retail Premium Event: TFWA World Exhibition –a 4 day show of all new brands- I am there from 8 am to 11 pm seeing a different brand every 30 minutes
• Fragranze in Florence in September
• Esxence in Milan
• NYC I go 2 times a year – I visit all the brands like Bond No 9, Ralph Lauren, Estee Lauder and Victoria’s Secret. I also go to all the perfumers, evaluating, such as Robertet, Drom and Firmenich

Michael Edwards Ainslie walker

Can you suggest fragrances EVERYONE should ensure they experience and why they are of importance?

• Jicky – Guerlain 1889 was the first to turn perfume into an art, not just an imitation of nature
L’Heure Bleue – Guerlain 1912 was a miracle
Eau Sauvage – Dior – transformed 200 years of Eau De Colognes into something fresher and longer lasting
• Feminite De Bois – Serge Lutens– brilliant and original
Terre d’Hermes – Hermes
Portrait of a Lady– Frederic Malle Editions de parfums was a miracle, and one of the most expensive juices on the market being high concentration of 50% perfume.

Are you documenting everything and writing your autobiography to release at some point?I for one would love to read it. Michael was quick to reply and gently say “I have been asked before, and I have always been reluctant to speak of myself, avoiding personal things, including my own opinions. What good is that – for me to tell my favorite or most disliked perfumes? This serves no purpose. I am independent, and thus able to work with all the brands. “The perfumes are the stars, I am not the star – there is enough pomposity in the world today without me joining in”

Michael Edwards 50% Off Book Deal

If you didn’t win, the legendary Fragrances of the World 2014 guide, Michael is offering a generous discount for APJ readers!! If you go to Fragrances Of the World<<JUMP at the checkout Redeem Code: APJ2014 Normally $195, but until the end of October, only $97.50

Michael Edwards In Sydney

On September 4th Sydney Perfume Lovers will meet with Michael Edwards in Potts Point to hear an in-depth interview with Michael, led by Catherine and Clayton Ilolahia from What Men Should Smell Like. – there are still a few spaces left!

Ainslie Walker x

Sweet Anthem Perfumes and perfumer Meredith Smith


Post by Azar


Sweet Anthem Perfumes and perfumer Meredith Smith

Indie Fragrance Criterion – Discover Pacific Northwest Perfumes

An Interview, Review and Giveaway

On February 24th of this year APJ posted an introduction to Sweet Anthem Perfumes and perfumer Meredith Smith. Today I have a few questions for Meredith about the business of perfume in the PNW. My next post will be a review (and a give-away) of the six fragrances in the Indie Fragrance Criterion – Discover Pacific Northwest Perfume sample set.

Something extraordinary is going on in the Pacific Northwest perfume scene. In the February 24th post I referred to the PNW as a “hot spot” for Indie perfumers and attributed this phenomenon to our dreary winters and to the local creative climate but didn’t even consider that perhaps the business environment might be what is really driving the astounding growth of great noses in the PNW and all along the west coast; see Ca Fleure Bon

Instead of operating via the old industrial economic model of “survival of the fittest” through negative competition for limited resources (creating perceived value through perceived scarcity), what seems to be happening here is more of a collaboration. This collaborative model succeeds by taking steps to grow the customer base for everyone while encouraging new talent and supporting existing businesses. The perfumers are independent but recognize and foster their interdependence, creating mutually beneficial events and opportunities as well as sharing information and resources. This kind of information based, collaborative economic model works on the principle that sharing creates interest and value, supporting not only the perfumers themselves but the suppliers and related businesses as well.

Sweet Anthem Perfumes BottlesPhoto Stolen Sweet Anthem Perfumes

Meredith, you have been one of several PNW perfumers encouraging, as you say, the “Seattle Sisterhood” of perfumers for several years now. Would you describe what you perceive to be the reasons for this local explosion of interest in perfume?

Honestly, I have no idea how it happened! For me, though, I can say that I probably would not be a perfumer if I didn’t live in the PNW. That’s not to say that I wasn’t into perfume before moving here, but the pioneer spirit and the way we interact with nature – from the mountains to the sea – helps fuel the olfactory palette. We have such intense connections to the earthly plane that it’s difficult not to be inspired on a daily basis when living here, and that helps fuel many industries of pioneers. Plus, having spirited colleagues in many kinds of industries helps keep me going – from my fellow perfumers to other Etsy-style brand owners, the PNW is really a community of talented makers in many stripes. I know my perfume sisters agree!

Can you give us some examples of how and why whatever it is that you do works so well in the PNW?

This is the crux of the reason I moved to the PNW. Everything here seems to be done in the DIY spirit. We love to branch out and get our hands dirty. We love to learn (it’s one of the smartest places in the country to live). We love to do things no one has ever done before (the $4 coffee being a prime example). PNWers are not afraid – pioneers that we are – of going upstream, avoiding the mainstream, and eschewing the man at pretty much any and all costs. I think that’s a part of why collaboration is so vital to the NW. If going upstream is the norm, there’s no point in going it alone.

Sweet Anthem Perfumes OilsPhoto Stolen Sweet Anthem Perfumes

I understand that the curated collection I will be reviewing is part of a collaborative exchange between San Francisco and Seattle area perfumers. Could you give us a little of the back-story?

This is actually a curated collaboration between myself and Antonia from Tigerlily Perfumery, a little perfume shop in the Valencia neighborhood of San Francisco that features mostly indie and niche lines. Initially, Karyn, Nikki, and I were trying to do this sort of thing with a shop in New York (who shall remain nameless) but that fell through, much to our dismay. I had a chance to meet Antonia before the perfumer’s salon last March and we really clicked, both owning perfume shops that carry a lot of the same inventory and really loving indie perfume lines. I pitched this idea to her about the PNW gift set, and she loved it! It was actually her idea to do a Bay Area box in tandem, with launch events in both cities. (It worked out nicely that several of us Seattleites were already going back to San Francisco for the summer Renegade Craft Fair, so the launch event got neatly wrapped into our existing event schedule.) But really, Antonia’s the big idea gal here, so I’m excited she’s on board!

Can you explain why/how these specific perfumes were chosen for this first Indie Fragrance Criterion?

By and large, the perfumers were asked to submit their best works! In the Seattle set, we all submitted things with a bit of a Northwest-y vibe, and I consulted with many of the perfumers what I thought would be the best fit (I’m thankful that they trust my judgment and happy that they’re all brands I’ve come to know and love). In the San Francisco set, you’ve got some IAO award nominees and winners, and some noses new to me but not to Antonia. Antonia and I talked a lot about themes, but in the end we decided that for a showcase of raw talent, generally the talent knows their works best, and so we left it up to each of them.

 Indie fragrance critereon AzarPhoto Donated Azar

Meredith, thank you so much for taking the time to share your perspective on indie perfumery in the PNW. Stay tuned, everyone, for the upcoming review and give-away!

Azar xx