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…