Vero Kern At Bloom Perfumery, London on Wednesday 9th April 2014

By Tara

Vero Kern is one the real gems of the perfume world. She is an amazingly talented and inspiring woman who proves that you can make your dreams a reality at any age. Her perfume line, Vero Profumo, is a master-class in excellence and demonstrates the way perfumes used to be made, but rarely are now.

bloom_vero_profumo

Invitiation to the event, courtesy of Bloom Perfumery London

Onda, Kiki, Rubj, Mito and now Rozy, showcase top quality ingredients in moving interpretations. Her creations go right to the core of your being. Vero is also a fascinating individual as you will have already discovered if you have read her People in Perfumeland profile here on OT. Considering Vero is based in Zürich, I couldn’t miss the opportunity of meeting the lady herself on her recent visit to London.

Tara and Freddie of Smelly Thoughts

Tara and Freddie of Smelly Thoughts

Vero was at Bloom in east London to hold a workshop and introduce her latest perfume, Rozy. I went along with the wonderful Freddie from SmellyThoughts and his lovely mum, who are both big Onda fans. I also recognised a few other familiar faces among the 20 or so people there; such is the small world of perfume.

Vero was accompanied by Lisa Taylor from Campomarzio70 niche perfumery in Rome and said she was happy for me to roughly reconstruct her words below:

Vero Kern and Lisa Taylor of Campomarzio70

Vero Kern and Lisa Taylor of Campomarzio70

The Beginning

Vero Kern: I got into perfumery through aromatherapy, at the age of 54. I became very interested in the raw materials that had been used in classical perfumery for a very long time. Perfume could not be made the same way after the 1990s because of globalisation. After that, they had to conform to a certain standard from Honolulu to Hong-Kong.

I had a great love of the old Guerlains, Chanels and Carons. The Guerlains are not the same as they were. I bought a lot of bottles from the 90s, but they have been updated since. In a good way I think, to keep up with modern tastes.

I began with three perfumes; Kiki, Rubj and Onda. My perfumes contain a large amount of natural raw materials. I started with extraits which are an erotic way to perfume yourself – by applying to the pulse points – but also it meant I could produce the perfumes myself. This is because one kilo of extrait makes a lot of these little bottles.

However, people like to spray, it’s a cultural thing. So for the EDP I changed the formula a little. The differences are not big but they are there. The Voile d’Extraits have the same composition as the Extraits but at a different concentration.

A Fun Test

Vero: Now we are going to do a little test. We are passing around paper strips with a raw material and I want you to write down on a piece of paper two words which describe it.

Tara: I immediately recognised cumin, mainly because I make curry with it. So I wrote cumin – spicy, warm.

Vero: Lisa, please read the answers.

Tara: Lisa then read out all the answers which were mostly cumin with a few people identifying it as turmeric or curry spice.

Vero: This has never happened! Amazing! People usually say “sweaty” but cumin is cumin. I guess it’s because you cook with it and have so many Indian restaurants here and smell it in the streets.

Kiki

vero kern kiki edp

Vero: Now we have a raw material from Kiki to pass around. Can you tell what it is? (General agreement on lavender).

That’s right. There are two types of lavender in Kiki. A steam distilled lavender and a lavender absolute. The absolute is just as the word suggests, it is the whole thing. You see the green colour of the raw material? That’s completely natural.

This is another natural material from Kiki being passed around now. What does it smell like to you? (Most thought it smelt like caramel). It’s a synthetic material called Maltol. It’s like crème caramel.

Kiki was a muse of the photographer Man Ray in the 1920s/30s. She was a very free woman, an artist, a very special woman. This was also the beginning of the feminist movement.

I learnt to make perfume in Paris and I was influenced by Guerlain, which I had loved and had worn for a long-time. So Kiki was also influenced by Jicky which came out in 1889 and is still in production, which is really amazing. Aimé Guerlain named it after a nephew of his who had the nickname Jicky.

It was originally intended for men but was popular with woman and became a very famous feminine perfume. It’s very androgynous. I don’t like the expression “unisex”. It’s horrible. It’s like “uniform”. There are no sexes in my perfumes.

Lisa: There is a lot of sex in your perfumes, to be honest. (Lots of laughter)

Vero: That goes too far!

Rubj

vero rubj voile

Vero: Now we are trying a raw material used in Rubj. What do you think it is? (A couple of people say neroli). It’s actually orange blossom absolute but neroli is made from orange blossom also. There is something oily about it, almost like gasoline. I made a kind of reproduction of orange blossom for Rubj with other materials to make it fresher. Orange blossom is not easy to work with alone. It’s too heavy.

The next raw material we are trying is tuberose which is also in Rubj. This is a synthetic which is more flowery than natural tuberose.

Now on the blotters you have the complete Rubj Voile d’Extrait which is a 14% dilution.

Onda

vero kern onda edp

Vero: Onda means “The Wave” in Italian. It is dry, spicy, woody, there’s a little tobacco, a little honey.

We are now going to smell Onda Voile d’Extrait. It has a prominent note of vetiver. The natural material is Vetiver Bourbon.

I call Onda an oriental. It is a flying carpet to the spice market. It is also a chypre because it has oakmoss and patchouli. It is seen as difficult, just because we’re not used to this kind of scent.

Mito

mito voile

Vero: Mito came out 2 years ago. It’s a green perfume inspired by a visit to Villa d’Este near Rome. There is a beautiful renaissance garden there. I wanted to recreate the feelings I had in that garden. It was very mystical to me. There was a very specific scent in the air. The green, the water, the moss on stones, statues…

We now have a raw material from Mito to pass around. This is Indian magnolia known as champaca white. I have reproduced a base of this for Mito. It also has other green notes, galbanum, hyacinth and tuberose.

Now here is the Mito Voile d’Extrait for you to try. Mito means “myth”: The myth of eternal beauty and eternal time.

Rozy

rozy_vero_profumo_edp

 

Vero: I wanted to create a rosy perfume, not a rose perfume. Being passed around is the main material. It is both a natural and synthetic rose made by myself. I also made the labdanum base which is very special. It is warm and balsamic with benzoin.

Now being passed around you have the Rozy Voile d’Extrait. It is very spectacular. Very dramatic.

There is melon, cassis, tuberose, rose and a base of labdanum, vanilla and sandalwood.

The EDP has a passion fruit base with peach. It has a heart of rose and honey, as well as geranium which gives it some freshness. It has a powdery base.

Rozy was inspired by Anna Magnani who was a great actress and a great woman. She starred in the 1950s black and white film “The Rose Tattoo” for which she won an Oscar.

The image for Rozy is a rose tattoo and there are similarities between tattoos and perfume. They are both about identification and recognition. Both go onto and under the skin. So I was influenced by Anna Magnani in this film. I think I made a good choice!

Bloom kindly gave us all samples of Rozy to take home. I am a big fan of Vero’s Voile d’Extraits and thought nothing could replace Mito Voile d’Extrait in my heart, but Rozy Voile d’Extrait has done just that. It’s that amazing smoked honey over rose that lingers through the night and into the next day. I am truly smitten.

After the workshop, Vero spent lots of time talking to people and answering questions. We had a lovely chat in which we bonded over getting into perfume through aromatherapy and the importance of tension in art, fashion, food etc as well as perfumery. Vero gave the example of adding a touch of cumin to orange blossom. This piques your interest and stops the perfume from being merely pretty but bland. We laughed about how surprising it was for Vero that so many of us recognised cumin. That’s multi-cultural London for you!

Tara and Sabine of Iridiscents

Tara and Sabine of Iridiscents

She told me she has been running workshops for private clients including banks and marketing executives. This focuses on the importance of olfaction when interacting with people. We also talked about the people in the blogosphere we both know including our mutual friend Val the Cookie Queen and of course, Olfactoria, about whom Vero exclaimed “I love Birgit!”

Many thanks to Vero, Lisa and everyone at Bloom for a wonderful evening.

Do you have a favourite perfume from Vero Profumo? Are you eager to try Rozy?

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45 Responses to Vero Kern At Bloom Perfumery, London on Wednesday 9th April 2014

  1. cookie queen says:

    Brilliant Tara, brilliant. Have I ever mentioned my love for Vero Kern’s perfumes? xxx

    • Tara says:

      Thanks, Val. It means a lot that you like the write-up.

      I think you might have mentioned your love for Vero’s work once or twice … :)

  2. fruwinther says:

    Oooooh, that sounds like a wonderful evening indeed! I JUST CAN’T WAIT to try Rozy, the reviews I’ve read so far are making me jump with impatience. Think this is the biggest release this year for me (but there is the new Malle as well…). I own and love Onda extrait, Rubj edp and Mito voile d’extrait, and to be honest it’s impossible to say which one is my favourite. Each one has a very special place in my heart.

    • Tara says:

      It was a wonderful evening! I don’t blame you for not being able to pick a favourite. They are all so different and special in their own way. It’s rather unfair to compare them, really.

      I have no doubt that you won’t be disappointed when you get to try Rozy. Hope it’s soon.

  3. Ines says:

    Oh, I definitely want to try Rozy. I love Vero Kern’s perfumes because not only are they so beautifully done, they are completely different in the best of ways.
    My favorite, hmmm, that’s a difficult one – can’t choose between Mito and Kiki….

    • Tara says:

      Ines, your reasons for loving Vero’s perfumes perfectly sum up their appeal.

      I look forward to your take on Rozy when you get to try it. I wish I had more to share.

      I won’t make you choose between Mito and Kiki, you can have both in equal first position :)

  4. I have not yet tried the whole palette of Veros work but one day I will clear my nostrils and get to them. Currently I own Rubj EdP.
    You do great reportage Tara, I feel like a fly on the wall.
    Portia xx

    • Tara says:

      Rubj EDP is so very you, Portia, I’m not surprised you own it. I think you will love Rozy too.

      I’m so happy to hear that you felt like a fly on the wall. That’s exactly what I hope for.

  5. Lady Jane Grey says:

    I haven’t found my Vero Kern parfum yet, but I very much like the Lady herself. And I got to parfum via aromatherapy too. While I’m eager to try Rozy I’m a bit afraid as well, as I hear it contains the dreaded Tuberose… It must have been an exciting event Tara, thank you for reporting !

  6. Sandra says:

    Lucky you Tara! That must have been wonderful.

  7. Vanessa says:

    Thanks as ever for your meticulous reconstruction of this amazing session with Vero Kern! It must have made the perfumes all the more special to have heard them described by their creator. My personal favourites are Mito and Kiki, but I do also like Rubj and am agog to try Rozy now. The honey in it sounds lovely, though I have a tricky relationship with the note generally. So is there cumin in one of the Vero scents? Rubj even? You mention it being used to cut orange blossom.

    Oh, and for all of us who are 54 (and there’s a few!), Vero should inspire us to explore new avenues…;)

    • Tara says:

      Hi V, yes I’m pretty sure there’s cumin in Rubj EDP. I’m willing to bet you’ll be fine with the honey in Rozy (which is much more noticeable in the EdP) but i’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts when you try it.

      It really did make me want to experience the scents again, so much so I left wearing Rubj, Mito and Rozy Voiles all at once!

  8. Olfactoria says:

    What a fantastic report of a great event. I have stopped being sad that I cannot attend all the London events, if you are there it is just as good. Thank you!
    And I love Vero too!!! :)

  9. annemariec says:

    This is a wonderful post, many thanks. I can’t afford Vero’s perfumes but I am inspired by her career change at 54. I have a job interview tomorrow which would mean a career shift ( and quite possibly a dip in salary; and when you are a single parent money REALLY matters) so I’ll be thinking of Vero and her achievements.

    That was so funny about the cumin! I think a lot of Australians would pick it. Asian cuisine is part of life here, although south Asian maybe more than north Asian.

    • Tara says:

      Very, very best of luck for the job interview tomorrow annemarie. I will keep my fingers crossed for you and the possible career shift. It’s so hard to take risks as you get older, let alone as a single parent, but Vero shows how rewarding it can be if you follow your heart.

  10. Sabine says:

    Super write up, Tara.
    I feel it was a real privilege to meet Vero. Rozy has aIso left a remarkable impression on me and I hope to finish my review of it by the end of the week, nose permitting.

    • Tara says:

      Thanks Sabine, it was good to see you there.

      Looking forward to your review of Rozy. I hope you link to it on FB.

  11. empliau says:

    What a wonderful account! I haven’t tried Vero perfumes yet, but I think I’d start with Mito – two of my fragrance obsessions, Eau de Camille and Antonia, are described as green. And I do love tuberose. Rubj sounds divine too, and can I say I just love the way she has spelled it – magic!

    • Tara says:

      If you love green perfumes you most definitely should start with Mito. I’m sure you’d love it. I have a feeling the Voile and Extrait have more tuberose than the EdP so try all the formulations.

      Rubj has much more tuberose again along with orange blossom. Have fun exploring!

  12. Suzanne says:

    Tara, this is a wonderful report of what sounds like a fun and inspirational evening. You know what is really striking as I read over your report and the exercises Vero led you through? She strikes me as extremely conscientious and genuinely interested in having an engrossing dialogue with her audience. Awesome woman … thanks for sharing your evening with her with us! (And I love that you included photos, btw.)

    • Tara says:

      You are so right, Suzanne. Unlike another perfumer (who will remain nameless), Vero really does want to engage with people on a group and an individual basis. She particularly loves the raw materials and you feel she enjoys experiencing people’s reactions to them. Fun and inspirational is quite right!

      You’re not on Facebook are you Suzanne? I had a few more pics on there plus Bloom have some professional ones on their page.

  13. Anka says:

    Thank you for the lively resumé, Tara! I haven’t tried a single perfume from Vero Profumo yet, but now I am desperate to catch up. As soon as First in Fragrance offers samples of Rozy, I’ll order one together with some of the others. All of them sound devine and very special. And I really would like to attend a workshop of Vero Kern !!!

    • Tara says:

      Anka, for someone who hasn’t tried any of the Vero Profumo fragrances yet you’ve already got the idea. They are indeed divine and very special. I really hope FIF get Rozy soon and you can enjoy sampling it along with some of the others.

  14. Ingeborg says:

    Thank you for a good report. I have not tried any of Veros creations yet, for fear that I might just love several. Mito and Rubj are perhaps the two which sound most interesting to me and I wonder about the different variations, how they behave on skin.

    • Tara says:

      Hi Ingeborg. I know what you mean. Developing a love for Vero’s creations can be bad news for your bank account!

      The Voiles are the same composition as the Extraits but at a greater dilution, so you can spray them. The EDP have a slightly different composition. All are best tested on skin I’d say.

      Glad you enjoyed the report.

  15. Natalie says:

    Wonderful report, and you look as great as ever. I love Vero’s turban, too!

  16. Thank you again for such a wonderful write up Tara, great for people who weren’t able to come!

  17. What an awesome evening, I am very jealous!

  18. Undina says:

    Thank you for the report, Tara! (sorry, I’m just getting to all the posts I didn’t have time to read).
    Mito is probably my favorite from the line (though Kiki is a strong contender) and I look forward to trying Rozy.

    • Tara says:

      Hi Undina,

      Thanks for making the time to catch-up on the post and comment.

      Mito was my favourite before Rozy. I really can’t wait to hear your thoughts on the new release when you get to try it. Both concentrations are very different but I think you will like one or the other.

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