Frederic Malle explains how creativity + technique = a perfumer, and takes us behind-the-scenes at IFF.
One of the funnest parts of owning a business is seeing which of the things you put out into the world really take off. A few years ago we released our Dude No. 1 Beard Oil. I had originally made this scented oil as a Christmas gift for my husband. He’s not into spraying fragrance on, so I made a spicy wood scent and put it in a fat roll-on bottle. Soon his friends wanted some, and eventually they convinced me to release it as part of my line. Together we came up the name Dude No.1, which is of course totally tongue in cheek. The Dude No. 1 Beard Oil totally took off, sparking the whole category of beard oil (which didn’t exist before!) and getting press in GQ, Vanity Fair, The New York Times, New York Magazine, Cup of Jo, Nylon, you name it. Seriously, it astounded me.
One of the things I kept hearing is how much people loved the fragrance – men and women! Finally, finally, three years later, we’re releasing our Dude No. 1 Cologne. Based on our wildly popular beard oil, it’s blend of three woods – Virginia cedarwood, creamy sandalwood and smoky Haitian vetiver – accented by spicy ginger and pink peppercorn with a heart of Moroccan rose.
Enjoy : ) xoxo
Perfumer Kim Weisswange celebrated her 25th year making perfume with an incredibly complex collection of fragrances which combined create a different scent for each day of the year. The base note is always the same, the year. There are twelve heart notes – one for each month in the year. And there are 31 top notes for each day in a month.
Last year I started working on another project with two friends called Bergamot. Jason and Sid met while working in the technology department of a huge international fragrance company over ten years ago. Jason and I met at a rooftop BBQ. The three of us have always been enthusiastic about independent, small batch and boutique perfumery and talked a lot about how we could share this passion.
We launched Bergamot officially this month. It’s the first ever try at home service for fragrance. My role is as the curator for the fragrances in our monthly collections and the e-commerce shop. Each month I come up with a theme (the first is Love At First Sight; October is Indian Summer) and subscribers receive three fragrances based around that theme. While I love making perfume through MCMC, I also love sharing all the wonderful perfumes I across by other artisans. Bergamot gives me a chance to share these hard to find under-the-radar scents.
Of course I’d love it if you signed up. And if you have any kinds of fragrances you’d be especially interested in trying (say from Spain, or tea rose, or unisex), let me know and I’ll do my best to find them!
We are so excited to finally have a stockist in Miami! For some reason it’s taken us a while to get down south, but if you happen to be walking Lincoln Road, please stop into Alchemist. My sister-in-law lives in Miami so I get to visit about twice a year. The view from her apartment is out of control!
If you don’t know about the Humanity Project, it’s an ongoing collection of fragrances based on volunteer experiences. This summer I had the pleasure of teaching a six week perfume course to a group of 14 and 15 year old young women at El Puente, a community organization right here in my own Brooklyn neighborhood. In the coming weeks I’ll share much more, but just wanted to share the photo above. That’s me in the middle. And that little guy there is my baby!
Oh, New York. Though you beat us down with your monster rents and constant hecticness, we stay because you are so damn interesting.
Photos by Wayne Lawrence of beach-goers at Orchard Beach in the Bronx. “His work represents a visual diary of his life’s journey and focuses on his relationship to communities otherwise overlooked by mainstream media.”
“There are no new colors to see and very few new sounds, but we are actually creating new, unique smells no one has ever smelled before.”
- Ned Polan, vice president for fragrance ingredient research at IFF via The New York Times