Fragrance Notes Issue 3, 2018 - Page 12

NOTABLE NOSES Creating fragrances with heart Improving lives through everyday fragrances and global partnerships THE NOSE GARY MARR Master Perfumer, Body Care and Home Care, Firmenich, Inc. –– WHERE HE TRAVELS FOR INSPIRATION: “Southeast Asia, especially Indonesia, for the smells, the flowers, trees, and spices.” CUISINE HE FANCIES: “I love Southeast Asian cuisine, especially Thai, for its fresh citrus and fiery sour blends. Of course, being British, I enjoy an Indian curry every now and then.” WHAT HE’S LISTENING (OR JAMMING OUT) TO: “Everything—from rock to rap to reggae—except country. I play guitar, bass, and a little piano… Playing and recording is totally absorbing and is a great escape from my professional life.” LIA DANGELICO, DIRECTOR, COMMUNICATIONS, FRAGRANCE CREATORS ASSOCIATION: How did you end up in perfumery and how what was your journey from fine fragrance to fabric and home care?   GARY MARR: I ended up in perfumery by chance. I happened to be living near a fragrance house (BBA, now a part of IFF) in the U.K. when I began looking for a job to support my passion for playing music. I began as a perfumer’s assistant and saw it as a job rather than a career at that point. The company had a reputation and was a leader in training perfumers in those days. They quickly recognized a degree of talent in me and asked if I’d like to train as a perfumer. At that point, I think I recognized that I had more potential as a perfumer than a musician.  As a trainee, you train in all categories as a perfumer, though BBA was a company that focused more in the home and body care categories. After seven years, I decided to move to France to learn French and fine fragrance, which I practiced for several years before returning to “functional perfumery,” as we call it. I realized I didn’t want to miss all of the big opportunities provided by working with clients, such as Unilever, P&G, SC Johnson, and others. DANGELICO: Perfumery is a mystery for many outside the industry, what does the day- to-day life of a Master Perfumer look like?   MARR: Obviously, the majority of the day is taken up with the creation of new fragrances. It’s not unusual to have 40 or 50 briefs open at any one time… but no two briefs are the same, ever. So, the challenge is to do something different each time, and that’s motivating: to be creative, to do something different, to make a difference, and to create something that’s going to be there in the marketplace for years to come. In a typical day, we might create or modify a 12 | FRAGRANCENOTES.ORG | Issue 3, 2018 dozen fragrances for as many briefs. The process involves the robot weighing the formula and the lab staff applying the oil into the end product the fragrance was designed for. After maturation, the product is assessed under similar conditions that consumers would use. After evaluation, we see how the fragrance might need to be adjusted, and the process starts over. Sometimes the adjustment is a result of analyzing consumer insight data. This process repeats, sometimes many times until we feel we have the right fragrance for the project. In addition, a Master Perfumer has responsibilities in the training and mentoring of the trainee and younger perfumers. For me, I’m coming towards the end of my career and I recognize that I have a lot of experience and insight to share—I don’t want that to just disappear the day I leave the industry, so I want to pass that on. We are also ambassadors and champions of new technologies and ingredients within the company, and play an advisory role to our management and research partners, when required. DANGELICO: How is the approach/process different for creating fragrance for fine fragrance versus home care/fabric?   MARR: You soon learn that it’s hopeless to try and recreate the harmonious subtleties and sophistication that one can achieve in a fine fragrance in a home care or fabric fragrance. If you try, you will fail. This category is all about performance and delivering the right notes at the right time during the products stages of use. Many ingredients you might use in a fine fragrance just do not deliver the desired performance in a home care or fabric product. Using them would be like throwing money down the drain. In this category, we also have a lot less money to play with than you do when working on a fine fragrance. You also have to understand the different global markets you’re creating for. I may be working on a project for southeast Asia one hour of the day, then Brazil the next hour,