Words: José Berrocoso//
“Perfumery has a bright future ahead, especially in the niche sector, as more people are looking for uniqueness and quality in the fragrances they wear”
High-end perfumery brand ‘Parfums de Marly’, founded in 2009 by Julien Sprecher, conjures up a dreamlike state with its “signature” fragrances, a strong position and concepts that are short, striking, direct and clear, in which Julien Sprecher’s favourite ingredients can be found, like famous quotations.
Its world: the 18th century, the splendour of a golden age of perfumery, where the court of the French King, known by the other European monarchies as “the perfumed court”, and the luxury of the fragrances created in Grasse, the world perfume capital.
Drawing its inspiration from this flamboyant period, Parfums de Marly revives and updates this tradition of exceptional perfumery under the creative control of experts to reflect modernity with a clear concept of aesthetics.
CP Magazine: What is your first ‘scent memory’?
Julien Sprecher: Wow, this was so long ago, I’m not sure I remember.
CP: When did you decide you wanted to be an Artistic Director?
JS: I had the chance to grow up in a family of perfume professionals. Attracted by smells very early on, I knew this is what I was meant to do. As a child, I already knew how to recognize the flavours, scents, and ingredients very quickly.
I started my career 20 years ago when the niche perfume industry was just taking off, as a reaction to the olfactory standardization of traditional perfumery. As time passed, I became addicted to luxurious, fine scents and seeing as niche brands were not as diverse at that time, I decided to set off and launch Parfums de Marly. I wanted to participate in this movement, convinced I had something to contribute. Perfume, above all, is a work of art, passion and, by definition, niche.
CP: What are your five favourite smells in the world?
JS: If I was to pick just five, these would have to be a lavender field in Grasse, a forest of eucalyptus in California, the countryside after a summer rainfall, the smell of the Corsican shrubland in the morning and walls covered in star jasmine in June.
CP: What is your favourite part of being an Artistic Director?
JS: My favourite part remains the “briefing” phase with the great perfumers with whom I had and still have the chance to work with. The research part on the first “olfactory catchphrase”, as well as the back and forth with the perfumers is my favourite and ultimately the most important part of my profession.
CP: What is your best tip for improving a person’s sense of smell?
JS: We have different senses, and the more you make use of them, the better and stronger they become. The best way to improve your sense of smell is to build your scent IQ and this can be done by simply smelling different aromatic things around you such as cheese, coffee beans, tea leaves, fruits in the market, chocolates. Next time, before you take a bite of artisanal cheese or a sip of a drink, first take time to breathe in the smell.
CP: What is the best way to purchase perfume?
JS: Purchasing perfume is a delicate and very individual process so you must pace yourself, to find the perfect one. Make sure that when buying a fragrance, you test out different scents – inhale, exhale and think about the notes, are these fruity, floral, musky.
It is also very important that when setting off on a fragrance experience, your skin is void of lotions and perfumes, as you won’t be able to properly feel the scents you are testing out.
CP: Tell us a little about Sedley. Who does it speak to?
JS: An original fragrance with a radiant sillage designed as a manifesto for all generations of aesthetes, Sedley opens up a new dimension in the men’s fragrance range of Parfums de Marly. This classic yet modern fragrance is a blend of bergamot, spearmint and watery accord, with geranium bourbon, lavender and sunny notes and in the background the ultimate woody signature, which embodies tradition mixed with contemporary aestheticism.
CP: As an art director, you find the greatest energy and inspiration for Sedley in different materials. What are your favourites? Tell us more about your favourite notes in perfumery.
JS: I love working with orange blossom, as not only is it a reassuring scent – bring back memories of my childhood, but it is also one of those rare ingredients that can be combined with others and is often used when creating modern and elegant fragrances, such as Safanad from our women’s collection.
CP: How long did the fragrance take in the making?
JS: It can take years to perfect a perfume. Until I am completely satisfied with the scent, sillage and longevity, the perfume is not complete.
CP: Pegasus Exclusif is finally available now. Our readers and I, of course, want to know more about this fragrance.
JS: Nobler, with greater freedom, Pegasus Exclusif has set off in pursuit of new masculinity. With an image of deconstructed masculinity, as with the olfactory stereotypes, this fragrance’s essence undeniably bears the stamp of the contemporary man. Eight years ago, Pegasus marked a chapter in Parfums de Marly’s history with its woody and exceptionally distinguished signature. Now, with Pegasus Exclusif, two of its most characteristic and addictive ingredients, bitter almond and vanilla, are retained, making the formula not quite the same, but also, not quite different.
CP: If some emotions could describe the composition, what would they be?
JS: Of course, these would be strength and resilience.
CP: How do you see the future of perfumery? How about perfumery in the GCC?
JS: Perfumery has a bright future ahead, especially in the niche sector, as more people are looking for uniqueness and quality in the fragrances they wear.
CP: What is your next project?
JS: The focus for the brand is to expand our foothold consistently to new regions. Our formulas have a strong signature, which helps them stand out in very competitive markets. We have new fragrances in the works, and there are a lot more exciting things in the pipeline for the brand, you only have to wait and see.