High Perfumery Manager

All about Pablo, his background, his history at Senteurs d'Ailleurs, his passion for perfume, the emotions it brings him...

Can you remind us of the circumstances in which Senteurs d’Ailleurs was created? What was, and what is still the main principle today?

Senteurs d’Ailleurs was founded in 1997 by the late Pierre Donie. He wanted a boutique that went against the grain of traditional perfumeries, dedicated to the Provence that was dear to him. I arrived in 2000. Together, we have honed the concept by creating a unique location in Brussels, where you can find (exclusively) designer perfumes, rare fragrances, valuable expertise, and perfume houses that are emblematic of a certain revival of modern perfumery. All while insisting heavily on the notion of advice and expertise.

What criteria draw your attention when you choose a perfume or a brand?

Creativity, divergence and also the feeling of authenticity that the creator seeks to bring to their perfume. All our perfumes have added value. Take FO’AH, for example, created in Abu Dhabi by Emilie Dewell from France and Abdulla Al Masaood from the UAE, with a will to express the best of both cultures. The date palm is the main inspiration behind this brand, which, it must be said, is very exclusive. Specially created for FO’AH, this vegetal, fruity note had never been used in any perfume anywhere in the world before. That is an example of the added value we appreciate at Senteurs d’Ailleurs.

Where does your love for fragrances come from?

From childhood, I suppose. I’ve always liked things that are beautiful, rare, and refined. I like perfumes that tell a story, that have soul. I also like luxury, not the bling-bling kind of luxury, but luxury that implies highly skilled craftsmanship.

What is the relation between perfume and emotions?

Jean-Paul Guerlain said that perfume is the most intense form of souvenir. He’s right! Perfume is a language that speaks volumes about you. More specifically, it is also a fragrance that reacts differently depending on the skin of the person wearing it. My job as a perfume adviser involves, above all, listening and observing. And some teaching. My role is also to translate desires that are commonly expressed in perfumery’s specific vocabulary. For example, some people insist they like ‘musk’ perfumes. To which I reply that they all are, as musk is a binding ingredient present in (almost) all compositions.

What is your response to the never-ending question of which is best: natural or synthetic?

I say that it is a false debate. There is no 100% natural perfume. Because some substances are banned, others too expensive or simply impossible to extract from flowers or plants. That’s why synthetic ingredients are everywhere. And just because it’s synthetic, doesn’t mean it’s bad. In the Frédéric Malle collection of perfumes, for example, ‘En Passant’ (created by the extremely talented Olivia Giacobetti) captures the smell of white lilac blowing in the wind as simply as possible, worked with a few orange leaves, cucumber extract and unripe wheat. An absolutely divine perfume that seems natural… Yet it’s entirely synthetic! You know, without synthetics and ‘chemistry’, many of the best perfumes would never have existed!

Blanche Byredo 50ml

Your winning trio? The three great perfumes that you think stand above all others.

I love ‘Portrait of a Lady’ by Frédéric Malle. A masterpiece! Perfectly constructed, crafted with fine ingredients, it has the very Parisian chic of the rose and all the mysteries of the Orient. It is an opulent, sophisticated yet restrained perfume, which is unbelievably high-class. I also like ‘Philosykos’ by Diptyqe. The souvenir of a summer in Greece, where, to get to the sea, you go through a sun-drenched orchard of wild figs. And in the Profumum Roma collection, a small family Italian house, I like ‘Acqua Di Sale’. A fragrance full of the kind of emotion that overcomes you as you draw near to the Sardinian coast. The smell of sun-warmed skin wafts through the air, caught on a sea breeze with notes of myrtle, laurel and seaweed. The perfume of happiness and carefreeness.

A perfumer (or a brand) whose approach you particularly like?

I like the personality and character of Alberto Morillas, an exceptional perfumer who has composed many best-sellers. He also established the House of Mizensir (in 1999). We continue to travel with him. His scented candles can immerse you in the dry heat of scrubland, at the foot of a fig tree at lunch time, among clean linen in the cupboard, the cold marble of churches, the damp Scottish prairie or wild fennel.

A new perfume for the turn of the season?

‘Synthetic Jungle’ from Les Éditions Frédéric Malle. Perfume maker, Anne Flipo created a green, chypre fragrance, an updated, modern vision of nature. Aromatic basil, hyacinth, lily of the valley, jasmine and ylang-ylang accords over patchouli and oak moss. For men and women.

Is gender diversity a current trend?

DOnce again, I think this is a false debate. I would say that a perfume is, à priori, inclusive. After all, the best way to wear perfume is your own. It’s your skin that decides, not marketing!

And personally, what do you wear?

I change perfume fairly often, of course, and I try lots of things, that’s my job! If I had to name one, I’d say ‘Blanche’ by Byredo, during the day. A fragrance with nuanced floral notes that, above all, gives off that smell of laundry thanks to aldehydes, white musk, and violet. For the evening, ‘Nassak’ by Thameen, a much more suave and sensual fragrance that, for me, conjures up the subtleties of the Middle East that I particularly appreciate.

Posted in: Parfum