Have you ever wondered what it’s like to work as a perfumer? We’ve got the answers for you!
We recently sat down with Clement Gavarry, Senior Perfumer at our fragrance partner company Firmenich, to give you a glimpse into the process of becoming a perfumer, the day-to-day of this fascinating job, and even what it was like to create our fresh and floral CLEAN RESERVE Lush Fleur!
CBC: When did you realize you wanted to become a perfumer?
CG: I was actually always surrounded by the world of perfumery, as my father was a perfumer so I had a very special childhood growing up with a ‘nose’. I was born in Paris but have fond memories of visiting Grasse and the South of France, engaging with nature, beautiful flowers, and other raw fragrance ingredients. I also fondly remember summers spent in Bordeaux sailing on our boat ‘Neroli’ and smelling the sea, plant life, and warm, wet earth. At age 15, I began annual fragrance-related summer internships, enjoying the field of chromatography. An early work experience in New York brought an epiphany that I should become a perfumer, and I’ve never looked back since!
CBC: What training is involved?
CG: I studied at renowned university ISIPCA, a top perfumery school in Versailles, and graduated with a Master’s Degree and diploma in Organic Chemistry. From there, I moved to New York City and trained under many influential perfumers, learning to develop my craft and signature.
CBC: What does a typical day look like as a perfumer?
CG: What I love about my career is that every day changes! I typically work on a handful of fragrance creations, evaluating formulas and smelling with our olfactive experts and team members. I smell all day long! I also have a lot of in-person client meetings, and sometimes film video clips for new perfume launches. No two days are the same, and I love that--it keeps me excited and engaged.
CBC: What is the process for creating a new perfume?
CG: My creation process can begin in many different ways, but usually I receive a client brief that outlines a new perfume that a customer would like to launch. It gives details about the inspiration and other specifications like sustainability, gender, and even sometimes specific ingredients that a client would like incorporated in the fragrance. From there, I interpret the brief and pair it with my own personal inspirations and artistry knowledge, and work on crafting a module of juice for the client to evaluate.
CBC: How do you find ideas for a new perfume?
CG: I can find inspiration from anything and everything! For example, living in New York City has been one big experiment--there’s constant newness, energy, people…a vibe I love and am fascinated with! I felt a sense of freedom and discovery from my first day here. Additionally, my travels to Vietnam, Senegal, Kenya, and many other countries have also brought inspiration to my creations; I realized that no matter where you travel, nature is at the heart of everything. New cuisines can also become inspiration as I am very driven by flavors and the idea of transforming something you can taste into something you can smell.
CBC: What memories stand out from your time creating CLEAN RESERVE Lush Fleur?
CG: This fragrance was finalized during the pandemic, thus it was quite challenging not being in the lab for over three months and being able to smell the fragrance on a regular basis!