Roja Dove – An Extraordinary Englishman Part II

Here is Part II of my interview with Roja Dove at the Haute Parfumerie in Harrod’s in London. Read Part I here.

How did you come up with the names of your perfumes, what do they signify for you?

Danger, for examples is a perfume that is meant to be dangerous for those close to you, since you become irresistible. Unspoken, your favorite, was named after I made it for a friend, who I only see every few years. Many things between us go unspoken, are not explicitly said, but are understood anyway.

Tell me about the semi-bespoke perfumes, please!

At the moment there are sixteen semi-bespoke perfumes. They are not openly displayed at the perfumery, but are offered to customers who are interested. The scents are offered in aluminium bottles, 250ml go for 1000 GBP, once 50 people have purchased one perfume, the book is closed. Customers can re-purchase their scent anytime, but it is not available for new customers any longer.

What do you think about niche perfumery today and which lines are “getting it right”?

The term niche has been abused to death. What is niche today, is in 90% of cases, not niche anymore. But of course there are a few lines I enjoy, at the moment there are Profvmo Roma, Arquiste and Puredistance. And I admire Clive Christian for his sheer arrogance in saying: I don’t care whether my perfumes are affordable, I just want the best of everything, without compromise.

What is your favorite way to create with scents?

I love scenting spaces. I am often asked to perfume events, like fashion shows, or exhibitions. One of my favorite projects was creating a scented environment at the Coburg Bar.

The Coburg Bar at The Connaught Hotel in London is an oasis of calm and luxury as the team effortlessly creates the perfect environment to help us forget the realities of daily life. My philosophy has always been, ‘it will do, will never do’, one which I see reflected at every level in The Coburg Bar. So when I was asked if I would like to create the perfect befitting scent for the environment through my candles, it was easy as I know the bar so well.

I knew I wanted to create an atmosphere which reflected the bar itself – elegant, effortless, and expensive. So I decided just one of my perfumed candles would not do. I wanted something which was classical, sensual and elegant to greet you as you enter the bar, and at the other end something masculine, smoky, leathery, and refined, so that as you walk from one end of the bar to the other, the scent and the atmosphere changes to reflect the excitement of entering the bar the start of the evening, before you settle down and feel you don’t want to leave.

I only use the finest and rarest raw materials in the world, and the two candles from my collection that I have chosen are no exception. As you enter you are greeted by the fresh, sweet, sensual scent of the Neroli Candle, the peerless white blossom from the orange tree, which slowly evolves into the rarest of all Vetiver Bourbon’s in my Vetiver Candle which exudes its’ unsurpassed dry, virile, elegance. The resulting atmosphere is as gentle and enveloping as the bar itself.

Do you always recommend extrait de parfum over lesser concentrations and if so, why?

Always. I have the title of Parfumeur, not Eau de Toiletteur for a reason. Parfum in its pure form has wonderful tenacity and is at its richest and fullest, just as I intended it to smell. Parfum is not necessarily louder or stonger, but it lasts longest. It is absolutely worth the investment.

Thank you for taking the time to talk to me.

After shooting a few photos in the Haute Parfumerie, Roja was off to other meetings and I was left happily sniffing my way though some of the treasures this boutique holds. More of that soon…


About Olfactoria

I'm on a journey through the world of fragrance - come with me!
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32 Responses to Roja Dove – An Extraordinary Englishman Part II

  1. Dubaiscents says:

    He sounds like such a funny guy, I laughed out loud at the “I have the title of Parfumeur, not Eau de Toiletteur…” response. Thanks for such a great read!

  2. Vanessa says:

    More interesting insights, and the great “his and hers” scarf shot I was hoping to see!

    I wonder how he would define niche?

    And “Eau de Toiletteur” – priceless. : – )

    • Olfactoria says:

      I gathered that niche means really exclusive to him, not something with a huge distribution and a huge pricetag to match (like Kilian for example).

      By now I really wish I had worn one of my better (i.e. bigger) scarves for this meeting, who knew that it would become such a point of interest! 😉

  3. Undina says:

    Birgit, thank you for the enjoyable interview! He sounds like a man whose perfumes I want (at least) to try – and I really hope to be able to do it soon.

    Not related to the post itself: you look radiant! (and yes, nice scarf and a “toiletteur” joke – and it doesn’t even matter that, obviously, it’s a well-rehearsed one).

    • Olfactoria says:

      I hope you can try them (in London) soon!
      Thank you for the compliment, I’ve decided to graciously accept it and shut up about my white as a ghost appearance (ah, darn it, so close, it almost worked…) 😉

  4. Alexandra says:

    A lovely interview thank you Birgit and I did enjoy his explanation behind the names of his perfumes. I have managed to avoid his line, but a Saturday afternoon sniffing trip to Harrods might be just the thing to plan for the January blues…

  5. andreawilko says:

    I just wish the parfum was sold in a smaller and more affordable quantity but I have been impressed with the perfumes I have in my collection albeit if 2 of them are only the EDP version, I do own a precious bottle of parfum.
    He does seem like a fascinating man to have met. 🙂

  6. Lady Jane Grey says:

    O.K., so the semi-bespoke scents are not just an urban myth… Have you tried any ?

  7. Tara says:

    Gorgeous pic and great interview. Agree that parfum is usually the way to go if money allows.

    I would love Santa to bring me one of those Neroli candles this Christmas!

  8. arline says:

    I have the wants!!!!!!

  9. susan says:

    I have really enjoyed this interview. Hopefully someday I’ll get to try Roja Dove’s perfumes…

  10. Gretchen says:

    I think you look lovely…not white as a ghost, but ivory skinned and stunning! I have been itching to try Roja Dove fragrances, but the whole fear of ordering from overseas (I’m a wimp) has held me back. Reading these funny interview pieces makes me WANT to she’ll out money to support his artistry. Think, how very different he is from a certain other perfume master we were recently discussing. I’m going to have to save up to splurge!

    • Olfactoria says:

      Thank you, Gretchen! 🙂
      I like how Roja says that not all his perfumes are made to appeal to one person, but that they are so different that you should be able to find the one in the range that suits you perfectly. That said, it would be really great to get the opportunity to find that one in the form of samples. How else can we get to know them? Sigh.
      Aside from that gripe, I adore his philosophy and his way of doing things.

  11. Suzanne says:

    What a fun interview to read, Birgit! It’s evident by your conversation with him that Roja Dove has flair and wit! (And he created Puredistance M … good man!!) 🙂

  12. Ines says:

    I envy you the experience of sniffing your heart out in Haute Parfumerie. 🙂 That must have been great.
    Btw, I don’t know how tall you are (but you don’t seem small) but Roja Dove seems quite the tall gentleman next to you. 🙂

  13. Emma says:

    so interesting ! Thank you Olfactoria, Roja Dove, does he create all his perfumes solo or does he work with other perfumers ? Many thanks

    • Olfactoria says:

      Hi Emma,
      as far as I know (and that is what Roja says) he does them all himself. I’ve heard rumours to the contrary, but I choose to believe what he says and pay no heed to unsubstantiated talk that may be borne out of jealousy and envy.

  14. Thanks for sharing this interview. He is a fascinating man and relatively speaking I do not see too many interviews available online with him… I’m so happy the interview came from you. It’s a great read! I love, love, love Pure Distance M

  15. laniersmith says:

    I so enjoyed that! Thank you so much for sharing this fascinating interview with us.

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