Guerlain’s tribute to today’s femininity, the iconic house’s new fragrance, Mon Guerlin, is strong, free and sensual with notes of Carla Lavender, Sambac Jasmine, Album Sandalwood and Tahitensis Vanilla. We sat down with master perfumer Thierry Wasser to learn more about the scent, the process behind the fragrance, and the woman that now embodies Mon Guerlain.

 

By Mayillah Ezekiel

 

“MY INVISIBLE TATTOO, MY FRAGRANCE, MON GUERLAIN”

 

 

What are the essentials to creating such an iconic fragrance like Mon Guerlain? I hope it is going to be iconic, but when I create, I just put my energy, my feelings and my soul in it. I always wish success will be encountered, but sometimes you hit, sometimes you miss. There are no rules. The only thing that makes something become iconic is the acclaim by customers, so I am just waiting to see. Only time will tell us.

 

Where do you get your main source of inspiration? Certainly not in a laboratory, but outside it. To do manufacturing, you have to go all over the world to source your materials. The sourcing is a great source of inspiration because you are on different continents and you meet so many different people with different points of views, that it enlarges your scope of vision, feeds you and a lot of ideas come from the fields.

 

Does it change from one perfume to another? Absolutely! I think that the experiences that lead me to create, for example Santal Royal, Neroli Outrenoir, Petite Robe Noire or Mon Guerlain, are all inspiring in different ways, but they all have a common point. They are linked by that one personality who inspired you by something they said or something they did, and that’s how you transmit your message. Every single fragrance you may invent has a different source of inspiration.

 

 

As a perfumer, is there something you would like to discover, like a new way to extract or a new ingredient? Of course, all the time! You have to be in touch with all the technological advancements. Jacques Guerlain was already at the verge of the 20th century. He was born in 1874. So when he was young, on the cusp of the 20th century, he was very much interested in new technologies. When the CO2 extraction debut 20 years ago, we were very interested in the technology because it gave us an oil very different from the one by steam distillation. Especially for dry ingredients like for peppers, nutmeg or etc. The CO2 technology was like a revolution. So yes indeed, I am always keeping an eye on what’s new.

 

So keeping a good balance between using new technologies and traditional ways of perfume making must be very important? Absolutely! Since I do the manufacturing for my predecessor’s fragrances… if I introduce a flower but I extract it through another technology, it will change the fragrance. That, I cannot do! We have to figure out the integrity of our portfolio of fragrances. But indeed, when I create a new fragrance, that’s when we can use that competitive edge the technology gives us. That is why we love to launch a new fragrances, because every time you discover something cool that you love, you want to use it to express a story. You have always have to stay excited like a twelve-year-old kid. It’s like having a new toy, you have to have it and play with it! Otherwise, it’s not fun.

 

How did Angelina Jolie enter the Guerlain family, and get involved with Mon Guerlain? The idea behind Mon Guerlain is to celebrate women, and their different facets with which Guerlain, as a beauty brand, envisions women – it was very clear it was a match with Angelina Jolie. When we’ve met, we had seen her commitment and actions around the world, specially with Africa and Asia, which is great match with what we believe in and what we actually do in those different places. She was involved in the bottle choice, the name, the visual, and the film of course since she’s an actrice but also she is a film director. So the inspiration of the whole atmosphere around the fragrance is a collaboration within Guerlain and Angelina Jolie. I think she is such a strong, passionate human being, that’s why she inspires people to be courageous, bold, and truthful. She’s a woman with a vision, and that’s what Mon Guerlain represents.

 

 

How long does it take to create a new scent? There are no rules. Sometimes, it can go pretty fast, and sometimes the delivery take longer. That’s because it’s very difficult to translate a dream in your head, and to make it happen in a bottle. In the case of Mon Guerlain, I have been thinking about it for a good solid three years, and usually, the creative process is twelve months.

 

How did you choose the notes and the ingredients for the scent? It will sound a little weird, but sometimes you smell a raw material like lavender and it just gives you a feeling. I used to say that flowers spoke to me. It is bizarre to say, but it does trigger an emotion, and for Mon Guerlain, lavender was the image of truth. If I want to express truth, I pick lavender. Mon Guerlain, being the portrait of a woman, started with truth,  followed by the generosity of Sambac Jasmin, which to me is a very sumptuous flower. In the South of India, it is worn on women’s head. I realized how social that flower was when I saw it was used in temples and weddings. The women use it for beauty and its scent – they even make necklaces out of the flower. So it is personal, and eventually, people can relate to this truth and make it their own. So at the end of the day, there is nothing right and nothing wrong. This is how I go ahead at drawing a fragrance.

 

 

You’ve been in this industry for quite some time now and have gained a lot of experience. Does Guerlain have a savoir-faire or a process different from your own? And did it affect your way of working? ’s That’s a very good question! It did, yes! When I joined Guerlain in 2008, of course I had my own habits. That was the cool part of joining Guerlain at that stage in my life, it made me open up to other ways of creating by learning about manufacturing secret and other people’s formulas.

 

You have accomplished so much! Do you have more goals or dreams that you would like to achieve? I think my personal career is very tightly intertwined with Guerlain. I am known for being very truthful and very straightforward! My work involves so many different aspects… that I could never get sick of creating, environmental projects, sourcing and defending my factory. Thinking of doing something else in two years? I can’t! It is not what I envision. I’ll try to last as long as I can, because I love what I do.

 

GUERLAIN Mon Guerlain ($119 – 50ml).

 

 

 

 

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