Fragrance Notes ISSUE 1, 2018 - Page 35

NOTABLE NOSES The Nose: Carlos Benaïm been very influential. Some have made their way into perfume and some haven’t... You start thinking about people that you Title: Vice President of International Flavors and loved, grandparents and parents, and the kind of fragrance is Fragrances (IFF) very warm and memorable. A simple example, my grandfather Accolades: used snuff tobacco. He carried it in a little golden case, and would put the tobacco with a violet scent on the back of his • Lifetime Achievement Award, American Society of hand every day and snuff. I tried to recreate the experience, Perfumers, 2004 but I could never recreate the exact scent because the type of • Perfumer of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award, tobacco he used grows in Morocco and it’s not easy to find. Fragrance Foundation, 2014 Those are impressions that are extremely powerful and stay • Named Master Perfumer by International Flavors and with you throughout life. Sometimes you even try to put them Fragrances, 2013 in the perfume—sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. The shortest and longest amount of time it’s taken It’s very influential, the travel, the personal connections, the him to produce a perfume: A matter of months... to personal life. You accumulate many experiences like that in life; 7 years I think everybody does. Hobbies: Painting and drawing Farah Ahmed, President & CEO, IFRANA: We believe that fragrance enhances lives, not only for consumers but also for those who work in the industry, in the natural sourcing and farming communities, and all around the world. At IFRANA, we see it as our job to protect and promote those groups. What does that statement mean to you? Carlos Benaïm: From my perspective, fragrance has many ways of enhancing our lives. One way is through connection to memories. If I go very personal, in my case, I was brought up in Morocco with all the wonderful smells and tastes of the country. I lived in that culture and grew up in it until I was 22. That time was very influential in my career, especially as I’ve tried to convey that culture through my fragrances, through my work, through my art, and my creations. Many of the things I always talk about I can note from my childhood—the orange flower, the foods from Morocco—they’ve made their way into my fragrances, especially those for women. Fragrance also helps to enrich your experiences, making you very attuned to things around you. Whereas most people just walk to a monument, point, and look at it, in my case, I’m looking constantly, I’m smelling and touching the fragrances along the way. For me, that colors the whole experience and makes it multidimensional. We feel much more when we use all of our senses. When we are not just using our sight, but also our sense of smell, our brains, our memories, and all the connections that we have through the world at large. Ahmed: Touching back on your childhood in Morocco and the different scents and spices that have influenced your work, can you speak to how fragrance can h elp to grow understanding and appreciation for other cultures around the globe? Benaïm: I use materials from all around the world. For instance, tuberose and jasmine from India and rose from Turkey. We bring those cultures to the public, not only through our communication and our imagination, but also through their special ingredients. Ahmed: For many musical artists, oftentimes their music will reflect how they’re feeling at a given time or how they’ve evolved—some albums are a little bit darker, while others are happier and more upbeat. Have your fragrances evolved with you, either professionally or personally, over time? Benaïm: There has definitely been a major evolution. When you start working at the very beginning, they just put all these ideas in your head and you don’t know how to do them, and you just start setting up ingredients and doing things in various containers. It’s very complicated because you don’t understand yet the simplicity of things. Then, as you go along, you become much more structured. The sophistication is part of the process. You begin to approach the work trying to understand what is important and what is not, focusing on important ingredients and always trying to research and find ideas. My solution is keeping things simple and trying to understand our research while enhancing my work. Ahmed: Is there a time in your life or a specific memory that you keep going back to, a certain source of information, that is more consistent than other memories when you approach your art? Ahmed: Writers sometimes experience writer’s block, where they have to take a break because the words just stop coming to them, though the words eventually come back, and they recalibrate and move forward. Does that happen with perfumers as well? Benaïm: There are many memories like that in my life that have Benaïm: Yes. Sometimes you get in a rut and you have worked FRAGRANCENOTES.ORG 35