Acide is the first cologne of Editions M.R. It is sxclusively available at our parisian store, 10bd des filles du calvaire Paris XI.
Mathieu: Hi Will, You are perfumer, canadian and parisian, what is your history?
Will: I was an arts student, trying to sell my paintings and publish my poems, with difficulty. I landed an internship at the lab of a prestigious fragrance house. That’s where I started composing my own perfumes. Afterwards, I established my own lab, and made bespoke perfumes for individuals. It was a natural next step to create a perfume for a brand.
Mathieu: Can you tell us what is the difference between an eau de cologne and a classic fragrance?
Will: The eau de cologne is a structure, a mix of citrus and aromatics, accompanied by light florals and woods. It’s designed to be fresh and fleeting, in contrast with heavier perfumes built to last. It’s also a matter of concentration; cologne is less concentrated than eau de parfum or extrait de parfum.
Mathieu: En perfumery as in fashion the starting point is always the matter. What is inside Acide?
Will: Lemon! I chose a marvellous organic lemon oil from Sicily, that smells of lemon sorbet – icy, zesty, tart but smooth. To prolong the lemon and underline its signature, I used Lemonile, a powerful modern synthetic. Bitter orange notes of neroli and petitgrain add sparkle, while cognac oil provides boozy fruitiness. Valerian, with its smell of used sheets, gives atmosphere, à la vie d’hôtel. The light dry down is woody, herbal and salty, almost coastal.
Mathieu: Talking about bergamot or oak moss, they are matter, can you tell us who do we transform it into juice?
Will: Every material is treated differently. In the case of bergamot, the peel of the nearly ripe fruit is cold-pressed to extract the essential oil, exactly as it occurs in nature. Oakmoss goes through a more transformative process: it’s soaked in water, then extracted with hexane, a volatile solvent, to produce oakmoss concrete. The concrete undergoes an alcohol extraction, to remove the insoluble waxes, resulting in the absolute, a very concentrated and elegant product.
Mathieu: Afterwhile we have to mix all of it. For Acide you created the cologne in your own lab and you told me that we had to wait fo r a while before we bottled it. How does it work?
Will: The fragrance concentrate has to sit for a month, known as maturation, when the different materials get to know each other and marry up. This gives volume and long-lastingness to the fragrance. The concentrate is then diluted in alcohol and water, stirred, and left for another month to macerate, before it’s filtered, bottled and ready to be worn.
Mathieu: And of course there is the formula... You told me that some fragrances are created through bases, can you explain us what does it mean?
Will: Bases are the perfumery equivalent of stock cubes, pre-prepared accords for the perfumer to integrate into his compositions, for the sake of convenience. I used two of my own bases in Acide: Sarriettal, a herbal complex resembling winter savory, and Cyclatone, a watery cyclamen accord. This allowed me to keep the formula simple and easy to control.
Mathieu: There is in the perfumery industry a certain secret surrouding the formula. One day you came at the office and gave me the formula hand written by yourself, I thank you so much by the way, it is really beautiful. Afterwhile you propose me that we publish it, this is what we do as it is in our store. Can you tell us what is the reason for that, beacause it is probably a first time in perfumery history?
Will: Traditionally, the formula is kept secret, to avoid the perfume being copied. This lack of transparency strikes me as detrimental to everyone involved: the perfumer, the brand and the customer. We’ve used large quantities of the best materials, so why not prove it to clients? Those seeking quality will respond favourably. Besides, with today’s analytical technology, the only way to protect oneself is to make a fragrance that’s too expensive for most to copy, which is exactly what I did.
Mathieu: The product is the key then? Because it can never be copied exactly?
Will: I use very specific qualities of certain naturals, whose odour is determined by their terroir, cultivation extraction and, sometimes, age. My lavender oil comes from the foothills of the Alps, where it’s grown 1500 metres above sea level. My neroli is from Vallauris – the distiller makes less than one kilo per year. My patchouli has been aged for 35 years. For certain products, such as bergamot, I mix different batches to create my own quality, called a communelle. All of this would be impossible for my competitors to source or imitate.
Mathieu: But it is unstable too, which means it changes with time?
Will: Quality perfume is like wine; over the years, it matures. Orientals and leathers improve, while colognes tend to suffer. This is because, with age, citrus notes fade, while woody, ambery and animalic notes increase.
Mathieu: How do we properly conserve a fragrance then?
Will: Some people keep their perfumes in the fridge. Fragrance has three enemies: light, oxygen and heat. A sealed bottle stored in a cellar can keep for a century. But who waits that long to open a perfume?
ACIDE IN GRAZIA! OCTOBER 2018
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