Perfumers Olivier Pescheux & Calice Becker talk about their fragrant creations
The first thing you notice when you interview a world class perfumer is how attached they become to their perfumes. They almost think of them as their children having lived with them daily for one-to-two years during the creation and refinement process. Perfumers will wear numerous variations of a fragrance testing each new sample on their skin day and night. It is no wonder they become very fond of their compositions.
Sophe Labbé once said that she was taken aback the first time she smelled a woman wearing one of her fragrances. “I was walking down the street doing some shopping when I caught the scent of a woman in front of me. I thought to myself, why is that woman wearing my fragrance?,” she laughs. “I forget that once it is approved, it is sent out into the world and becomes the signature scent of so many people.” Even with that fact in mind, she still considers them her “babies”.
Olivier Pescheux is one of the most sought-after perfumers working today. Having created blockbuster scents Montblanc Legend and Paco Rabanne 1 Million, he has the privilege of choosing the projects he wishes to work on now. He can accept work that truly excites him. One of his favourites is Versace’s Eros Flame, a fascinating composition of contrasting ingredients and character. He was able to design a modern woody-spicy scent that surprises and delights as it dries down on the skin. Here, he explains his final result.
New York-based perfumer Calice Becker has developed scents for some of the world’s top fashion brands including Donna Karan, Marc Jacobs, Tommy Hiliger, Balmain and Dior. Having graduated from the Givaudan Perfumery School, Calice lists more than 115 fragrances on her resume, many of them bestsellers. She says her first perfume memories are at age four getting out of the bath when her mom applied a little eau de cologne. She was immediately fascinated and began on a lifelong pursuit of scent. Honeysuckle and bergamot are two of her all-time favourite smells in the world.
Donatella Versace recruited Calice to create Versace Dylan Blue pour Femme where the perfumer handpicked notes of Granny Smith apple, black currant, clover, forget me not, shiso, peach, rose hip, rose, jasmine and musk. This is an unexpected combination and one that Donatella loved immediately. It’s a scent with character and personality. Here, she speaks about the fragrance.
Translating a fragrance from an eau de toilette version to a more concentrated eau de parfum can present perfumers with a challenge. How to maintain the character of the original by adding additional facets. Olivier did this by adding a unique ingredient in Versace’s Eros eau de parfum: candied apple. This isn’t a note you’d think would work in a men’s scent but it works thanks to the balance of tart and sweet. Here’s how the perfumer speaks about his eau de parfum:
Versace fragrances are available in Canada at shoppers drug mart, Hudson’s Bay, Sephora and other fine retailers.