What does it take to be a good “nose”? Work, work, work … Becoming a perfumer is a very long learning process. It requires a high sensitivity, a curiosity about the world, an open-mindedness. Also, you need to be an assiduous and tireless worker.

In my perfumes there’s often something tactile, textured, a sensitivity to the raw material and the sensuality of touching it. People often describe my work as physical perfumery. I accentuate features and bring out raw materials. My perfumes are never linear.

The incredible thing about Hermes is the constant challenge set down to the creator and the creation itself. If they have chosen me, it’s for this distinctive signature and the recognition is a pleasure for me every day, because I’m realising a dream.

Perfumes communicate all the values of this house: they incarnate it. I consider it a tremendous responsibility because perfume is still the leading entry point into the world of Hermes – and one that’s accessible to everyone.

The most enjoyable aspect is having complete freedom and plenty of time. Decisions are made between the chairman of Hermes Parfums, Agnes de Villers, and myself. There’s no market research or consumer panels. Marketing is there to support the creation – it doesn’t influence it.


For Perfume Galop d’Hermes, I immersed myself in the world of Hermes. From the start, every door was opened to me, everyone was very generous and frank. I see it as a manifesto and a tribute to the house. It’s a perfume and not an eau de parfum. That means a lot.

The notes of rose and leather – both traditional to perfumery – bring an audacity, express a degree of nerve and attention to detail. I wanted this leather to be as supple as skin, and to make the rose as strong as leather. I think I found a balance but one that is always in motion.

Neither note dominates the other. They take turns to emerge: the leather, then the rose, then the leather again. The motion is like waves on a shore, a waltz in which neither the leather nor the rose dominates. Technically, that’s quite rare because as a general rule perfumes are more linear, with the notes appearing in sequence.

What is my favourite scent? That’s like asking me which one of my children I love most – I love them all. I’m proud of my perfumes whatever their commercial success. Each one has meant something to me. But the most exciting one is always the next.

My loves fluctuate and I have no preconceptions about any ingredients or any perfumes. When I discover an ingredient I want to know everything: to knead it, crush it, work it, coax it and experiment with it. I work sparingly with few raw materials because I’m convinced that what matters is by definition simple.

Perfume Galop d’Hermes is available now from House of Fraser