Olfactive Studio: Meet the perfumer, Celine Verleure.
Before diving into the details of this article, some background is in order on how I came to know Olfactive Studio and its creator, Celine Verleure. Several of my “fragrance friends” attended the Elements Showcase in New York in late August where they were introduced to Celine and her line of creations. Through other auspices, I was given the opportunity to choose one of the four scents in her current line-up. Without much more than a description of the scents — I’ll get to that in a moment — I ordered a sampler of the four to try. I’ve had few decisions that were as difficult, since all of the fragrances were outstanding. Nonetheless, I reached a decision that I’ll share momentarily.
Olfactive Studio is a ‘niche perfumer’, and its brand development is a story built upon a series of other stories. For instance, the entire concept for Olfactive Studio was created out of a social media experiment entitled “Blog for the fragrance that doesn’t (yet) exist!”. Each Olfactive Studio fragrance in the line-up is based around artistic photography, using an image in conjunction with the perfumer — who is given great latitude — to interpret the visual into the fragrant. The concept? Capturing the encounter between visual and olfactory, the “eye and nose”. It’s the natural extension of recapturing the intimate experience — the recollection of emotions captured in both sight and smell. The fragrances take their names from the artistic and photographic impressions, each of which adorns the packaging and the interior of the box.
From lightest to darkest, they are:
- Lumiere Blanche (White light) – a warm, creamy, almond infused fragrance set with light woods and spices
- Still Life – reminiscent of a cocktail, infused with yuzu, rum, spices and pepper
- Autoportrait – a very personal, balmy and woody scent with a slight incense, offset with bergamot
- Chambre Noir (darkroom) – a rich, deeper leather, incense, papyrus fragrance augmented with violet, berries and soft woods.
Each of the experiences becomes a very authentic interpretation between visual art and perfume, and the perfumers are left to develop the scent from their own imagination and impression of that photo. Though skeptics might dismiss this as marketing mantra, it’s an ingenious concept built on authentic craftsmanship. The skeptics would be missing a brilliant collection without a stitch of mediocrity.
That sense of authenticity extends to Ms. Verleure herself. If her name sounds familiar, Celine was instrumental in the development of Kenzo Jungle, as well as a contributor to OsMoz.com and has had a past working relationship with L’Oreal. When given the chance to meet her recently in New York, there were no second thoughts. Celine is a perfumer who appreciates her craft and maintains both a keen business perspective and a charming, personable nature. My first meeting revealed someone who was very approachable, precisely the sort of person one would feel comfortable in spending hours in conversation over a glass of wine and a meal, which several of us did for our first extended meeting. The conversation lacked pretense, and was a gathering that generated more than its share of laughter, joking, and a genuine experience as refreshing as…
Well, this brings us to the fragrances in the collection. Each offers something creative and unique. Every one is excellent in its own right, which brings me back to my first exposure to the house: Selecting just one fragrance from the four.
A seemingly easy task for most perfume houses, easier if your choice is limited to four. Think again, as Olfactive Studio’s collection of brilliant scents makes this a difficult but happy task. It’s a collection I’d be happy to own in entirety, but a more thorough review of the individual scents is a subject for a subsequent article.
I selected Autoportrait as my first foray into the house, and our first review of Olfactive Studio scents will focus on that.
But there is a larger story about Olfactive Studio itself.
The house doesn’t yet have a US presence. Even so, ordering from their web presence is an easy affair and shipment has been consistently quick. For anyone who wants an impression of the collection, they provide a sampler pack of 1.5ml sized spray testers for 6 Euros, including shipping to the US. Even that 6 Euros goes to a worthy cause since Verleure is using the services of handicapped and disabled workers to fulfill the assembly of the samplers, a fact she shared when she spoke about the details behind Olfactive Studio.
I would certainly look forward to a broader distribution arrangement that brings Olfactive Studio a wider audience on American shores. For now, you can discover the scents at www.olfactivestudio.com