Six questions for 19-69’s Johan Bergelin
Swedish niche perfumer Johan Bergelin is blending some of the most unique and interesting fragrances these days. His 19-69 eau de parfum creations for him and her smell unlike anything else on the market thanks to his refined talent for layering ingredients. He begins each scent composition by selecting a key moment during the year 1969, his favourite time period for art, culture and music. Once he has a theme, he starts by searching for the finest quality raw materials – many unusual and unexpected choices. Slowly, he layers these notes into modern fragrances bursting with character and interest. He’s a true talent.
Scent Lodge recently caught up with him in Milan for a quick interview.
Scent Lodge: To start, 19-69 is renowned for its very complex blend of notes. These are layered and often unexpected ingredients. How many ingredients do you on average include in a fragrance?
Johan: It really does vary: in Capri EdP and Villa Nellcote EdP there are approximately 20 different fragrance notes, but in Miami Blue includes only 7.
SL: What is your all-time favourite fragrance ingredient and why?
JB: 19-69 explores a lot of movements related to the years around 1969, so needless to say weed was a big part of that. We have created our own cannabis accord which along with patchouli are my personal favorites. These are included in for example Chronic EdP and Purple Haze EdP.
SL: Tell us a little about how important quality is when creating a fragrance. Where do you source your ingredients and how do you pick them?
JB: 19-69 have a lot of integrity which also reflects the ingredients that are selected.
SL: What is the most unusual fragrance ingredient you’ve come across?
JB: I was invited to a traditional Japanese tea ceremony in Paris last summer, and the host was a collector of oud. Knowing that I am a perfumer he brought out some incredible pieces and it was a truly amazing experience.
SL: Describe a typical day in your life when you are composing a new scent.
JB: The creative process in ongoing. I do travel extensively for work, so each day will look different. If I am on a plane, I might watch a documentary about art or explore new (or old) music. If possible at the destination, I will get a bike and get around town using that. I spend a lot of time in Italy and France and there are so many beautiful rose gardens, buildings, churches and also art exhibitions that I find incredibly inspiring. Back at the hotel I use my iPad to scribble: this is a vital part in the creative process. Sometimes everything falls into place right away, other times you have to leave it for a little while.
There are technical procedures taking place that I supervise at the lab in Paris and Milan. When the samples have been macerated, I usually evaluate them at home by the kitchen table in a very relaxed setting while listening to music.
SL: What 19-69 fragrance would you say best reflects Canada and why?
JB: Purple Haze EdP reflects John and Yoko´s bed in that took place in Montreal in 1969, so definitely this fragrance.
19-69 fragrances are available in Canada at sephora.ca, select Sephora stores, Hudson’s Bay stores, thebay.com, select Shoppers Drug Mart stores and shoppersdrugmart.ca