Magic In The Air
Female Singapore|April 2021
With its iconic accord of rose, jasmine, ylang-ylang and lily of the valley, Dior’s J’Adore is a veritable icon of modern perfumery. This month, the house launches J’Adore Infinissime, a sensuous update bolstered by a voluptuous heart of tuberose. Francois Demachy – perfumer-creator for Dior since 2006 – is the man behind it. He’s also the star of Nose, a recently released documentary that zeroes in on the secretive workings of the fragrance industry. Gordon Ng speaks with the master perfumer to find out about his process and how the most important ingredient in scent-making is the human touch.

IN THE DOCUMENTARY NOSE (OUT NOW ON APPLE TV AND GOOGLE PLAY), WE SEE YOU CLOSELY AT WORK WITH FLOWER GROWERS AROUND THE WORLD. WHAT’S THAT COLLABORATIVE RELATIONSHIP LIKE?

“It’s both an obligation and a pleasure. It’s a virtuous cycle: we support them year after year by buying all of their production, and that affects me in the best way because I enjoy the best raw materials there are! Sometimes, going to the fields and seeing the harvests gives me ideas and inspires new things that make me want to create a perfume around.”

THAT SURE CHALLENGES THE WAY WE THINK OF PERFUME CREATION: IT TAKES PLACE NOT ONLY IN LABS, BUT ALSO OUT IN THE FIELDS.

“You often think that perfume is created in a lab by one man, but we show now that perfume is the result of a human chain – the people who prepare the land and plant the flowers; the ones who harvest them; the ones who transform them into absolutes; the one who reflects on and mixes them (me) and finally the customer who wears it. It’s my belief that a perfume doesn’t really exist in the world before it is worn by somebody.”

THE KEY NOTES IN J’ADORE INFINISSIME – FROM TUBEROSE TO CENTIFOLIA ROSE AND JASMINE SAMBAC – COME FROM THE GRASSE REGION OF FRANCE. WHY IS GRASSE SO IMPORTANT TO YOU?

“Grasse is with me in everything I do. I know it sounds cliche, but it’s the truth. I grew up here and remember distinctly the fresh smell of jasmine in the fields at night when I used to ride on my bike and the smell of rose in the morning when the flowers open up with the first rays of sun. It’s imprinted in my olfactory memory.”

THE STAR OF J’ADORE INFINISSIME IS TUBEROSE. WHY THIS FLOWER?

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