The Story of Scent with Thierry Wasser at Selfridges

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12th June 2014 012

Last Thursday, 12th June, I had the pleasure as a member of The Perfume Society to attend a Q&A with Guerlain’s Head Perfumer, Thierry Wasser.  I have transcribed my audio recording of the Q&A for you to read below, but I am afraid it just does not do justice to what a privilege it was to hear Mr Wasser answer Jo Fairley’s questions with not only humor and wit that kept the audience engaged and laughing throughout the duration of the Q&A session, but also with real insight garnered from his experiences attained through his position at Guerlain.  I was really surprised at the lengths he goes to to expertly fulfill his role, and what I really loved was his pragmatic, common sense approach to it.

You will see that there are some words here and there which I just was not able to make out.  Partly because of the recorder on my iPhone and partly because my French is so appalling. I have also edited the transcript slightly in places for more fluid reading.

 

Emmanuelle Noyer:  I welcome you this evening to Selfridges to what is going to be a unique and fabulous evening. My name is Emmanuelle Noyer. I am the Managing Director for this fabulous house that is Guerlain for the UK, but my role tonight is only to introduce our two exceptional guests. They really need very little introduction. Jo Fairley, acclaimed journalist, beauty writer, founder of the Perfume Society and many more. Jo has such a wealth of knowledge and is a true lover of fragrances. She is the only journalist I know who can get information that nobody can ever find out about the world of beauty. I think they are in for a very interesting and thought provoking interview. Jo will be interviewing tonight the perfumer and nose for Guerlain, Thierry Wasser. Before joining Guerlain, Thierry worked and created some of the world’s best selling fragrances. He was asked personally by the Guerlain family to join this house and to steer it to the next level and grow to the point of the future whilst maintaining the highest standards that the house has always had throughout the centuries. This brings us very nicely to the purpose and the main subject of this evening which is Sustainability in the World of Fragrances. For a house like Guerlain renowned for using the finest and most expensive raw ingredients in the world of perfume from all around the world it’s a real challenge but of course an exciting one.

 


 “Sustainability is a state of mind….. it’s nothing new, and it’s just common sense for us.”


 

Jo Fairley:  What a gentleman. We would expect nothing less from a Frenchman. But you are not French, of course. But you are kind of by adoption now.

 

Thierry Wasser: I have both French and Swiss passports.

 

JF:  I am absolutely delighted to be here talking to Thierry. It’s not the first time we’ve done something like this. He is one of the most knowledgable people I have ever met on the subject of fragrance. I am also incredibly proud as the founder of The Perfume Society that I gave Thierry the very first subscription card, and I made him an Honourary Member for life. You have the first Honourary Member of The Perfume Society here.

 

I want to know how this all began. What is your first smell memory when you were little?

 

TW: Actually it was a fragrance called Pour Un Homme de Caron , which is a brilliant fragrance that was created in 1933. It was a friend of my mom who was wearing that, and I was totally obsessed with it until today. But I was very little and my first fragrance actually when I was 13 was Habit Rouge.

 

JF:  Which is a Guerlain fragrance. That was very grown up for a 13 year old.

 

TW: I was 13, but I was physically looking like I was eight, which was rather inconvenient. So I chose this fragrance because to me it was very masculine. It made me more comfortable being, I thought, a man, but I was a kid. I agree it’s kind of bold, but the purpose was to feel a bit older than I was and it worked.

 


“I am convinced that the way you feel and look, the emotional value of our business cannot be measured, but it gives you happiness, joy and strength.”


 

JF:  You went on this journey as a perfumer. What do you think is your signature? Do you have a signature in fragrance? Is there anything that you can’t resist putting into a fragrance?

 

TW: Yeah, sure I have some ticks. First of all house tick of Monsieur Guerlain is the use, sometimes abuse, of rose, iris, bergamot, jasmine, tonka beans and vanilla. I have a soft spot for the past six years for rose, especially Bulgarian rose. I would be the least person to be able to figure out what my style, what my writing is, especially since in five years I’ve learned so much in resourcing, in manufacturing, that even my writing formula has changed.

 

12th June 2014 006

 

JF:  I understand that actually for your own education, as it were, you’ve gone back and you’ve created all of the historic Guerlain fragrances so that you could smell what they smelled like. Is this right?

 

TW: I did. You see, and I think you have a nasty question about legislation and stuff like that we can get into later. When you do have to make a reformulation we do have the book of formulas which is a manuscript of all the formulas from the founder until I arrived. They don’t speak really. You can see by the handwriting that there is a rhythm. There is a way the ingredients are laid and the succession of raw materials, but it doesn’t speak. To have a clearer vision I have become …. I had to fetch raw materials in very remote places to be able to find what I thought would be as close as the ones used in the 19th century or in the beginning of the 20th. Like bergamot. Bergamot was not treated. It was raw, which is rather easy. The Shalimar in the 1925 version is very interesting to smell because it is indeed different than the one we know today, but I am not sure that people would like it, but at least I know what was the intention and if, god forbid IFRA comes with another joke of theirs, I will be able to eventually go back a bit closer to the original.

 


“Perfumers usually think that reformulation, or complying with the law, is a pain in the butt. It is, but actually you have to take it as a game. First of all if you know the law, you can walk on the edge.”


 

JF:  I want to go on to that because there has been a lot of publicity in the media recently about the potential reformulation of classics like No 5 and some of the Guerlain classics, etc. I think it’s a little media flurry about an old story, but I want to know your perspective. How much under threat are our beloved fragrances like Shalimar, Mitsouko, etc.?

 

TW: They have been very mistreated in the past 15 years, but this campaign you are talking about is actually, excuse my French, bullshit. Because it started with an interview from somebody who is working for a news agency, which allegedly serious, and doesn’t know anything about the subject. Suddenly you have big titles saying the European Commission wants to kill Chanel No 5 and Shalimar, which is absolutely untrue. The European Commission was opening discussion about measures which has been proposed by the European Scientific Committee who didn’t decide anything. Suddenly you have all those articles and fuss about what the European Commission is intending to do. When you are a journalist and you don’t even understand your subject, and you don’t even go down to the source of the information you should write it on toilet paper.

 

JF:  I know you spend some of your time now at Brussels speaking for the perfume industry. How do you divide your time as a perfumer, but also as a … to promote Guerlain around the world? How does your time divide?

 

TW: It varies. The typical week in Paris is Monday I am in the lab, Tuesday I am in the headquarters, Wednesday I am at the factory, and Thursday and Friday I am in the lab again because obviously my main role is to create new fragrances. I also inherited through the dynasty of Guerlain the duty of manufacturing. That is why I spend 20% of my time, one day a week at the factory. There you are in charge of active control, quality control. 25% of my time annually is spent in trips for sourcing. That will go through your question on sustainability because they are pretty linked but when you do manufacture something you of course have to buy your raw materials.

 

JF:  We are here to focus very much on sustainability tonight. Why is it important to Guerlain? I think you actually have a certificate for sustainability, is that right?

 


“Yeah, sure I have some ticks.”


 

TW: There are ISO certificates on different degrees or levels of certification. Our factories are certified ISO 14001 and the stores in Paris too. We are very happy to do that, but to me it is like writing a cheque to the Red Cross. You just do what is necessary to be awarded the certificate and it’s not such an involvement. Sustainability is a state of mind. When you are 186 years old as a company I shall remind all of us that sustainability is a fairly new term. But 180 years ago you were sustainable. You didn’t trash everything. You were recycling. You were taking care of things. So it’s nothing new, and it’s just common sense for us.

 

JF:  Because it is about the sustainability of a business as well as the environment presumably. You need to be able to ensure a safe and continuous supply of some of these ingredients. I think Guerlain has a special programme called In the Name of Beauty, that’s the English translation I think. Can you talk me through any of these special projects? Is it just about the ingredients?

 

TW: No, no, no. This programme is very emotionally charged for me because as you mentioned sometimes very often I go to Brussels doing a little lobbying for my industry. The political body there thinks that the luxury, and especially cosmetics, industry are vain and they don’t really matter because it’s vain. It upsets me a lot knowing that because this industry is vain it has to have zero risk. That’s why you have IFRA and scientific committees…

 

JF:  Because it seems frivolous and non essential to life

 

TW: Of course and there is a programme which allows ladies who unfortunately have been hit by cancer in hospitals, while they’re cured with chemotherapy or radiotherapy, etc to get a make-up tutorial and we put wigs on them, etc etc, and the fact that they can look at themselves, given the circumstances are tragic, with love for themselves. They can feel that they are desirable, that they are human again, weirdly enough. That’s how low their self esteem is at that moment and that makes them fight. Fight ten billion time better against that than if they were just miserable. This programme is very close to my heart because I am convinced that the way you feel and look, the emotional value of our business cannot be measured, but it gives you happiness, joy and strength.

 


“You have to love the fragrance, but the fragrance has to love you too.”


 

JF:  Obviously Guerlain is famous for using high quantities of high quality natural ingredients. You have special projects in different corners of the world. I gather in Calabria you don’t just have bergamot but also orange blossom and you are using the orange trees to protect the bergamot trees.

 

TW: Yes, but I didn’t invent any of that. People have been doing that for three centuries. They understood that the bergamot tree was fragile and that the bitter orange tree was much more robust. They planted those bitter orange trees around their bergamot gardens to protect them from the wind. Our ancestors were not that stupid. They observed, they watched and indeed we have programmes ,as you say, but it is a little weird that I have to talk about sustainability here. In a way we do that, but it is not a marketing tool. It’s not something we are advertising for. So now indeed they twist my arm so hard to speak about sustainability that I am very happy to tell you what we do, but it is not the main purpose. When we go there to Indian for vetiver or sandalwood, or whatever it is, we need to be logical, use common sense, and indeed be sustainable. Even if you are the most selfish bastard on Earth you have to understand that for your own future you have to be sustainable.

 

JF:  But I know that the vetiver project is particularly close to your heart. Tell me a bit about how you came to develop this project and what actually happens. How you work with the farmers.

 

TW: I used to source jasmine, jasmine sambac, tuberose and mimosa in the south of India. Our local partner came with a smelling strip one day and said smell this. I did indeed and you know when sometimes you smell something, a scent or perfume, and it makes you travel in space and time. Suddenly I was there in south India, and I had been transported to the perfumery school Givaudan 30 years before. I smelled that vetiver oil that reminded me so strongly of the Bourbon quality from the Reunion Island that is not done anymore. So I said this vetiver is awesome, where does it come from. My friend, the distributor, there said it was from a valley two hours drive from here. For the past four years we did an experiment. We started with a couple of acres of vetiver and see what it yields, what is the quality and what is the value of it. What’s funny is that you have to convince the farmers to share a little of their acreage to put vetiver in because they could use the land to grow corn, tapioca, peas, or bananas. You have to convince them to share their land with vetiver which grows as a weed, but it is a magic plant with amazing qualities. For example, vetiver fixes elements in the soil and it cleans the earth. What’s funny about that is that when you rotate the culture (of vetiver) the yield of corn or tapioca is enhanced because of the vetiver.

 

JF: So they do a rotation?

 

TW: Yes. I told them I don’t want them to go into mono culture. It will be a maximum one third of their acreage. Not only does it clean the soil, but also it maintains it because if you don’t pull the roots during distillation and let them grow long their elasticity is so terrific that it avoids the drainage of the soil and erosion. So there is a lot of different qualities that you can teach one farmer from an observation that I made looking at tea fields in Sri Lanka. They were all bordered with vetiver and I asked why.

 

JF: You go back every year and you go to Bulgaria every year. You’ve just been to Bulgaria to see the rose harvest. Why do you do that because by the time you get there, they have picked the roses. The quality of rose isn’t going to change. What difference does it make to Theirry Wasser to go back every year?

 

TW: There are like vintages of roses for example and this year was, like 2010, was an amazing year for the rose and I witness that in Bulgaria, in Turkey, and in the South of France. Beautiful vintage in those countries like in 2010. When a supply route is open and runs you maybe do not need to go every year but first of all, it’s fun and second of all, you have to negotiate prices.

 


“I don’t want branches in my leaves, and I don’t want leaves in my flowers so I have to be there to check.”


 

JF: And you have to do that?

 

TW: Absolutely. When they say the yield was not good, there were not a lot of flowers this year, etc., etc. And you go and see that half of the bush has not been harvested, you just don’t agree with the explanation. Inflation on your price because the weather was poor I can understand, but if you don’t pick the roses to artificially make a shortage, I don’t play that game, so that’s why I go. I’m a manufacturer. I have to look at my cost.

 

JF: So how many harvests do you go to? You go to the vetiver harvest, the rose harvest. Where is the jasmine harvest? Is that the South of France as well?

 

TW: Egypt, South of France, South of Italy, India. South of France is very very little quantity available. It costs an arm, but c’est le vie. Italy is funny because my friend there who grows bergamot stopped making jasmine five years ago because he had no customers. I said that was the stupidest thing I have ever heard. I told him just put four hectares and I will buy it. So I designed a little fragrance that is sold only at our boutique in Versailles because I can’t use large quantities of this jasmine. There is no large quantity, like five kilos. But I made him plant it like that because I urged him to do so because of the biodiversity of Italy. That was the last field of jasmine in Italy which has been plucked out so we put it back and now there is Italian jasmine.

 

12th June 2014 010

 

JF: Do you go to the… harvest and the… ?

 

TW: Mensieur Guerlain has his own distillery in Tunisia. He doesn’t run it anymore because he is too old to travel and it is a hastle, but I have been running this since 2009. So we ordered…. the only customer of that factory. I spent 10 days passing by a hundred tonnes of flowers. I am so picky I am there night and day when the flower arrived. I don’t want to see a single leaf in the flowers.

 

JF:  Because you’re paying for that leaf.

 

TW: Because it gives a weird smell in the flower. It’s very green. After when you crop the trees, the farmers don’t know what to do with all those branches. I take them in, and I get rid of the wood to make an actual distillation of the leaves and that’s petit grain. I don’t want branches in my leaves, and I don’t want leaves in my flowers so I have to be there to check.

 


“I’m a manufacturer.  I have to look at my cost.”


 

JF:  Do you think the rest of the industry is taking sustainability seriously enough?

 

TW: I don’t know. Ask them.

 

JF:  You must have an opinion

 

TW: I know what we do, but it’s a matter of survival as I told you, Jo. Old houses like Chanel, for example, they have their own manufacturing, they have their perfumer, they have their fields in Grasse, etc. I don’t know what they do, but I am sure they do. Jean Paul’s roots, some of them are obsolete or not efficient, so you have to reconstruct them. Vetiver basically comes from Haiti, but I encouraged India to start because the vetiver roots is indigenous from south of India. I have nothing against Haitian (vetiver), and god knows they need the work, but I would rather dance with two feet.

 

JF:  With your suppliers do you check on their sustainability as well?

 

TW: Yes. I really think that sustainability, sustainability, sustainability is funny. It is not a dogma. A lot of people gargle with that word and think it’s the new thing to do. It’s urgent to be sustainable. But when you do go to Haiti, as I did, sometimes their priorities are a bit different. They have to eat first and afterwards they can think about being sustainable. You have to understand that. We need a minimum of understanding and humility about what they do and who they are. Yes, in Haiti we have started to thinking to pass from fuel to natural gas because the carbon footprint of Haitian vetiver is very heavy, but once again they have other problems. We let them fix their problems and afterwards we can master sustainability. In India, for example, the exhaust routes of vetiver, I asked the lab to analyse their calorific potential on a scale of 0 to 10,000. Carbon is 6,000 and the exhaust of vetiver routes are 5,000. So there is a calorific power in those statements. So you shred them, compact them, and you use them as fuel instead of trees.

 


“You just need to be creative even you do technical things.”


 

Sandalwood is another story. It’s a war. It’s very difficult to source sandalwood. Besides the big houses, Givaudin and the IFF, there are two companies who use sandalwood in quantities, Chanel and ourselves and Dior. There is a programme where you plant sandalwood in a secret location. This mountain was an old tea plantation. What you do to to start a tea plantation is to burn the whole thing down to modify the geography of the mountain and you plant your tea. This old tea plantation was unused for the past 35 years so we decided with our partner that not only he will acquire the forest, and we will replant in the natural habitat in which there is sandalwood. So every year through the nursery we have baby three month old sandalwood trees. Every time I go there are three month crops in the nursery, and there are 10,000 of them. Afterwards we put them into the fields, but there is a lot of death toll which is important in those 10,000 because it is a semi parasite and you need a host. Through its root the sandalwood goes to figure out a friend who can lend it its sap.

 

JF:  You have to wait what is it 25 years?

 

TW: No not really. Indians say that the sandalwood starts to be able to give you oil when you can put your hand around. So this is approximately 12 years, but 12 years is too young. It’s unlawful. We wait at least 18 to 20. I know that the older you get the younger you like but not with sandalwood.

 

JF: What can we all do to get people to use their sense of smell more to actually appreciate what they’re smelling more. What would be your piece of advice to people who want to develop their sense of smell and get more out of the world around them through fragrance and through smell? What can we do?

 

TW: I was curious. Explore. When you go upstairs, or like in Sephora, you have smelling strips and some people have like ten of them and they get lost and dizzy, half drunk with all of those scents. Find one that talks to you a little bit more. Put it on your skin, go home and see how it is talking to you. You have to love the fragrance but the fragrance has to love you too. Sometimes it doesn’t work, but you have to patient. There is such an offer today in the fragrance industry that makes your head spin. People are not faithful to a scent as they were 40 or more years ago. I kind of regret that time because when I was mentioning Pour Un Homme de Caron that my mom’s friend wore. I associated this scent with this person because she was only wearing that perfume. It has a different meaning and you use fragrance for yourself. We are not trying to look at a fragrance to be like a model or to have a lifestyle. I understand that celebrity fragrances are an approachable way to get a piece of a celebrity. Why not? But it’s not exactly how I see the fragrance.

 

JF: If you could make a fragrance for a celebrity who would you make it for?

 

TW: I did before Guerlain. I worked with Kylie Minogue. I did her first fragrance, and she was very involved in the project. I also came to London several times to work with Kate Moss, but the problem was we got so drunk at the bar they had to ask another perfumer to take over.

 


“We are trying to create a fashion.  There is a difference.”


 

JF: Someone who wasn’t so easily lead astray. On that note I think I am going to throw this over to the audience. Who wants to ask Thierry a question?

 

Audience Member: What is your favorite perfume that you have created?

 

TW: It’s always the latest because it’s like when you are involved emotionally with a fragrance after it’s difficult to pick which one you like best, like babies, but I have a soft spot for Idyll because that is the first fragrance I did in-house for Guerlain. I have a soft spot for Idyll because I think it’s a reflection of my mood in 2008. I think it’s a little naive and I think I was too. This girl is so cute with all those flowers, and I really have a lot of tenderness for Idyll. I had a lot of pride with Shalimar Parfum Initial, but I think the whole concept was warped and didn’t work well but I loved the fragrance.

 

JF:  I personally think with Shalimar it’s a fragrance that women grow into. It’s like a rite of passage. The first day you can wear Shalimar you’re a proper grown up.

 

TW: I agree. There is only one Shalimar after all. It’s the one from 1925 that we’re trying to reproduce today. Frankly I’m in the company who has to make money and the sickness of making flankers every five minutes is very upsetting, but if I don’t want to get kicked out for not doing my job I would rather do it and it’s fun. But it doesn’t make sense to me really, but that is an internal fight between so-called creative thinkers and creators.

 

AM: I really love the perfumes from all the different cities, London, Tokyo, in particular. I am wondering were you involved in that? When did they come out?

 

TW: They came out in 2005 with New York and Moscow. Jean Paul did New York. Moscow Madame de la… with an outside perfumer. Tokyo which I love very much too is a work of Annick Menardo, and I kept a little eye on it. A lot of this collection has been done outside because there was no in-house perfumer at the time. I love Tokyo, and I wear Tokyo from time to time. I do like it, but once again those collections sometimes have their own lives. You have to witness their potential and sometimes you have to make the decision that they have to be kicked out of the family. Those collections have to move. They are alive, and with life you have death too.

 

AM:  So are you saying you are going to discontinue them?

 

JF:  Buy lots now just to be safe!

 

AM: Is it a fashion maybe?

 

TW: No. I don’t think it’s a fashion. We are not into fashion. We are the only one not doing fashion and thinking fragrances. The others are in fashion. We are trying to create a fashion. There is a difference.

 

12th June 2014 007

 

AM: Is there a perfume out there you wish you had created? And why?

 

TW: I would have been absolutely super proud to have created Terre d’Hermes. I would have been amazingly happy to have done Eau Sauvage. I would have been very proud inventing Mitsouko, my favorite from Guerlain. Terre d’Hermes is to me the only perfume in the recent past that is absolutely stunning.

 

AM: If there was one natural essence that you would like to work with that you haven’t which one would it be?

 

TW: I have used weird stuff. Like curcumin, like in Rose Nacrée du Désert in the oriental series, which is like the base for curry.

 


“Nobody wants to smell body odour, but sometimes there are parts of body odours which can be intriguing and lead to sexual appeal.”


 

AM: Which one gets you excited?

 

JF: You told me when I was in… about having really good costus, which I think is not a natural one but it is so fascinating.

 

TW: No, but it is, and actually I ordered some from India.

 

JF:  Oh it is natural?

 

TW: Yes it was, but it’s totally forbidden to use that for the obscure reason of safety.

 

JF:  But describe it…

 

TW: It’s not funny. You can die

 

JF:  Tell me what it smells like because I have been obsessed with it since you told me about it.

 

TW: It’s a root and it smells very earthy. It’s like an animalic note from the vegetable realm. It’s very bizarre and it’s kind of dirty. That’s what’s funny in the perfumery compounding invention that you can build some very interesting and humanly related smells. Nobody wants to smell body odour, but sometimes there are parts of body odours which can be intriguing and lead to sexual appeal.

 

JF:  You said it smells like dirty hair.

 

TW: Yes, like greasy hair or an old comb. But that’s custos which I ordered from India to make the Chypre de Paris and Chypre… in the old vintage. It was natural but there is a substitute that is made by IFF that is correct but it is not natural. Custos is cool but it is a little dirty.

 

AM (Persolaise):  We’ve talked a bit about Shalimar already but I was just wondering you said if we smelled the 1925 Shalimar we might not necessarily like it. So what is so different about it. If we put the two side by side what would we notice?

 

TW: If you put them side by side you will see several things. Once again it is much less animalic than the version we have today because of the bergamot. The civet is rounded by this 30%, don’t write this down, of bergamot in Shalimar.. roughly. When you imagine that quantity of bergamot, the volume of this citrus note is much much bigger, and it grabs hold of the animalic note. It’s less animalic, but it’s much more leather because there is the birch tar, which has today been disguised as birch water by IFRA so it’s difficult to have this pungence of the leather. That’s the main striking difference. Much less animalic and much more leather because of birch tar. It’s much more masculine than it is today. Now if I had to retouch it, do I put it back or not. That’s why I say to the public I wouldn’t be able to get closer like I did without asking anybody with Mitsouko. I did a little bit myself, okay I’ll change because of the oakmoss, but the oakmoss wasn’t the problem. The problem was before the oakmoss. Perfumers usually think that reformulation, or complying with the law, is a pain in the butt. It is, but actually you have to take it as a game. First of all if you know the law, you can walk on the edge.  Nobody knows the law so they take a safety net and they walk here. You don’t have to know and you play and they say oh those bunch of pricks they want to change this because rose is very dangerous. You know rose is a very big poison. So okay I will play with you, and that is how you envision reformulation.

 


“…sometimes you smell something, a scent or perfume, and it makes you travel in space and time.”


 

JF:  You told me a fascinating story about how to make sure you had used the right quantity of oakmoss you had fractionated oakmoss, and you told me something really fascinating. That you put a hole in the oakmoss to make it smell like oakmoss again.

 

TW: Of course it’s not micro surgery you make a fraction distillation, and you pull out what the European Commission doesn’t want anymore. You create a hole, an olfactive hole. Since there is the new natural moss, which are IFRA 45 certified, and you smell them and think now how can I trick the nose? So you smell them against the old one, and you see that the evaporation of the new one it goes away very fast. Oakmoss was a fixitive. That’s a physical problem, the long lastingness. After the olfactive aspect, you can cheat with other things. I put a little… which is a green note and you redo your oakmoss olfactively. The trick is to get the same density to have the long lastingness and there are several solvents which are so heavy that they stay forever. As their name is solvent they don’t smell of anything, but when you blend your whole oakmoss alla oakmoss composition the role of this solvent is to hold your composition and you have your own oakmoss. That’s what happened with Mitsouko and because of that I think Mitsouko has been back for the past two or three decades. You just need to be creative even when you do technical things.

 

12th June 2014 001

 

AM:  You’re talking about reformulation, and I would like to know what your views are at all of reformulating Vol de Niut, which is my favorite. I hope you are not going to do too much to it.

 

TW: No because I don’t need to. It’s safe. It’s not allergenic, and it’s not threatening your health so it’s passed the test. There have just been a couple of adjustments that had been made to the narcissus because Jacques Guerlain created it in 1933. It was narcissus absolute from Auvergne, Central France. There were horrible winter and it froze. All of the narcissus bulbs failed and there was no more narcissus. It was the end of the 1950’s, and Jacques Guerlain was very annoyed. Jean Paul needed a substitute for narcissus and since the 50’s it was manufactured with that substitute. Two or three years ago there was a molecule in that substitute which came under scrutiny. So I decided to go back to the original with the narcissus absolute from Auvergne, but otherwise it should be maybe different but only because it was the narcissus used by Jacques.

 


“…we need to be logical, use common sense, and indeed be sustainable.  Even if you are the most selfish bastard on Earth you have to understand that for your own future you have to be sustainable.”


 

JF:  I want to thank you on behalf of perfume lovers everywhere for the unbelievable hard work you put into maintaining these treasures for us to enjoy. Thank you so much for coming to Selfridges. I think it has been the best selling event in the whole of the Beauty Festival, and I am not really surprised.

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