FOR HIRE: Perfume Nose

A third-generation fragrance expert tells us how to smell a winner

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Does your nose ever get fatigued?

When I was younger it did. Now I know how to clean my nose. [Laughs.] There is something you can do, something very easy. I just smell my own skin. It's something very familiar. And then I feel well, and my nose is clean.

Do you talk shop with your father?

We don't talk so much about what we are creating, but we do talk about perfumery in general—the philosophy of perfumery. It's funny, though. I've noticed that at the same moment we imagine a fragrance from the same flower and the same idea, but we do it in different ways. The fragrances smell different.

My father has always wanted me to be very independent, to do on my own, with my own perceptions and feelings. He told me always to be honest to my self and the formula. He said, if you want to put some rose oil in the perfume, do it because it's necessary to the fragrance, not because you love rose.

What's the most difficult aspect of your job?

There is a lot of competition in this business, and there is so much money involved. I have such pressure on my shoulders. When I am trying to create a fragrance, sometimes I have no answer, but I have to find one in perhaps one hour. At these moments, I feel as if I am near a black hole, and I feel really alone. It's funny because I just have to go outside and have a walk. Coming back, I'm OK. I have the answer.

What's the biggest misconception about your work?

People think I am disturbed by the fragrances of other people. They think I need to be like a monk and live far away from everything. They think I don't smoke, don't drink, don't make love—but yes, I do everything.

What do you most love about your work?

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