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Fragrance Formulation: In the Perfumer's Studio

Posted: February 26, 2007, from the March 2007 issue of P&F magazine.

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  • From P&F Magazine
  • March 2007 issue, pg 32
  • 3 pages

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“The smell of the factory and smell of the different leathers and fur—that’s really something I think I will remember all my life,” he says. “And when I say leather, I mean there are so many different leathers. Sometimes I’m frustrated because we don’t have the raw materials to translate this leathery aspect. It’s sensual, but not really animalic. It’s textural—like silk, like wool. It’s very difficult to translate that into perfumes. You have the smell in your head, but translating it is very complicated.”

Capturing the ethereal in a bottle has been Gueros’ mission ever since, from fine fragrance to hair care to body lotion. Recently, he provided P&F editor Jeb Gleason-Allured a rare glimpse into the perfumer’s creative process and the drom Manhattan fragrance studio he calls home.

From Concept to Fragrance

To illustrate its perfumers’ work process, drom has created fragrances with and for a number of national and international magazine editors, providing a rare glimpse into the fragrance creation process. When Gleason-Allured and Gueros first consult, the P&F editor directs the perfumer to focus the fragrance on whatever is interesting him at the moment. Gueros explains that he’s recently experimented with a vegetal accord reminiscent of Cannabis sativa and comprised of woody notes (to provide a resinous effect) and an herbal, tealike note. It sounds intriguing, so they agree to proceed from that base.

Gueros has been with drom for about five years, working in France, Germany and now the United States. “I try not to bring too much of the European market when I work here [in Manhattan],” he says. “I try to put on another hat. I work for the American market. I’m in the process of learning the cultural references that the Americans have to help me create things that are typically American. Even if most of the brands now are international, there are some specific things like cultural relationships to raw materials, to scents—orange blossom, for example. In Europe [that scent relates to] ‘baby;’ here it’s medical products.”

Some of the “clients” participating in drom’s personal fragrance creation project presented very specific requests for their scents. “We had an editor who wanted a sushi accord for her perfume,” says Gueros. “And for that we didn’t make, of course, a real fishy accord because it wouldn’t smell good. But we could use some of the related elements like ginger, wasabi, the prune alcohol that goes with sushi. And that gives the feeling of being in a Japanese restaurant.” Still other participants requested specific materials, such as grapefruit, or even wanted their scent to reflect events in their lives like weddings. In other cases, clients asked for fragrances based around loose concepts like “woodsy” or “musky.”

This is only an excerpt of the full article that appeared in P&F Magazine, but you can purchase the full-text version.