Meet our perfumers
As the Alchemist community already knows, our Atelier in Paris offers the possibility to create your bespoke perfumes. A process guided by perfumers that will inspire you and help you discover the language of perfumery. We sat down with Louise, one of the perfumers that have been part of The Alchemist Atelier family since we opened our first Atelier in Rue Étienne Marcel, Paris, to learn more about what inspires her and the world of perfume.
- What's your earliest olfactory memory?
I have so many! A very vivid one is the smell of the pipe tobacco my father smokes at weekends. He collects tobacco boxes and when I was little, I loved opening the boxes and smelling the tobacco inside. There was fresh tobacco, powdery, woody, smoky but not burned, sometimes fruity, sometimes chocolaty or vanilla flavored.
- Can you describe the smell of Paris?
I think of the metro; it’s like a warm piece of iron rubbed on stone. We get this metallic, warm, powdery, slightly vanilla smell, mixed with people. The fabric of the seats, the terrible smells in the corridors. I find this smell lingers even outside the metro.
- How did you decide to become a perfumer?
I would say that it was like a vocation to me. I have been fascinated by smells since my childhood and knew I wanted to work somewhere in this industry. I would create perfumes by melting flowers and herbs in water or with kits I got for Christmas and birthdays, and draw perfume bottles or even recreate perfume adverts from TV with my friends. The day I found out that the person creating the fragrances was called a “nose” that was it, I had found my goal!
- Tell us about your favorite scents.
I love the smell of patchouli; damp, woody, sweet, warm, elegant. It reminds me of a walk in the forest near my childhood home after a rainy day. Another scent I love is the labdanum, which is a tree resin. It is very ambery, warm, resinous, a little bit sweet and woody. It reminds me of the smell of summer and heat in the Mediterranean forest.
Lastly, rose; citrusy, very floral and sometimes spicy, green, artichoke-like, fruity. Mysterious and changing, it is an ingredient I find difficult to tame but so beautiful.
- Do you always notice perfume on others?
When we start working in this field, we become nose-driven, so we smell absolutely everything and everyone because our sense of smell helps us define the moment we are in. It becomes our second sight. It’s always nice to notice the smell of someone beneath the perfume they wear. The mix of the two fragrances is what makes someone smell really unique.
- What should people know about choosing a perfume?
The choice of perfume is very intimate. Follow advice but feel free to disagree. The fragrance needs to please you. And the second golden rule: if you like a fragrance on a blotter (the paper tool we use to smell), always try it on the skin because the warmth and acidity make the perfume evolve much faster and very differently. Then you can decide if it suits you and if you love it.
- What’s your favorite base and accord?
My favorite base is Moss Chypre because it contains patchouli and labdanum. It’s the perfect illustration of patchouli, given more character with moss, and some mystery and warmth with the labdanum. My favorite accord is rose floral because it corresponds to a perfect rose; spicy, luscious and rich. This accord is beautifully achieved and so easy to use, I love it!