Category: The Fragrances

Surfing, in one sense, is ancient. After all, there’s nothing more to it than a board and a wave, and someone to ride atop both. Scholars are still debating who did it first, and where, but on this there is no doubt: People have been surfing for millennia, if not longer.

But in another sense, modern surfing began roughly 60 years ago, on the beaches of southern California and Hawaii. That’s why we named our new fragrance family S.C. 59. The changes that began that year vaulted surfing into American culture at large, where it interacted with the changes already underfoot to create something new and enduring: A still-evolving surf culture that remains with us today.

So why did all this happen in that fateful year?

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Art is a fascinating thing. To depict a beautiful natural setting like the beach, you might use synthetic paints created in a faraway lab, on a canvas made with cotton grown halfway around the world.

Same deal with fragrance. To evoke the fresh feeling of a day on the waves, for example, you can’t just drive to the beach and bottle up a bit of ocean, a bit of sand, and a bit of the sea-scented air that’s all around you. Instead, you—or rather, our surfing perfumer, Nathalie Benareau—use all the tools in your toolbox to craft a scent, S.C. 59, that somehow evokes a totally unrelated scene, like a wizard concocting a potion.

To learn how she did it, with the help of one unexpected ingredient, keep reading.

While S.C. 59 itself has notes of mint, lemon zest, orange flower and amber, those notes are powered by an array of ingredients, including ginger. But this isn’t just any ginger—it hails from Madagascar, where Nathalie herself discovered it while on a trip with her employer (and our partner), Symrise. It’s both rare and exclusive, which is just one of many reasons why you won’t find another scent—surf-inspired or otherwise—like S.C. 59.

So what makes this one special? Let Nathalie explain it. “Ginger can be soapy, but the one we have is super clean and fresh,” she says. This in turn helps produce the clean, fresh feeling you get while wearing S.C. 59.

Oh, and you know how we were saying earlier that sometimes art relies on elements that have nothing to do with its source? Well, sometimes there’s a nice bit of coincidence, too. It turns out that the island nation of Madagascar is a popular spot for, you guessed it: surfing.

mod

/mäd/

noun

Short for “modification”; refers to any trial iteration of a fragrance before its scent is finalized.

“This mod is bright and luminous, but is lacking depth. Let’s add more texture.”

Now, that we got that out of the way, allow us to explain what the Mod Squad is, and why it was critical in helping us make Améline as wonderful as it is.Read More

Perhaps you noticed this tidbit in our recent interview with perfumer Nathalie Benareau, regarding our newest fragrance, Améline: “In our palette we have this specific rose that no one else has,” she told us. This unique and exclusive ingredient is a special rose absolute that was created by our partners at Symrise, where Nathalie crafted Améline.

Suffice it to say there’s a story behind it. After the jump, we share that story…

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Our newest fragrance, Améline, is not your grandmother’s rose perfume. Like femininity itself, this rose has been updated for the modern era. In the case of our fragrance, that means adding hints of sandalwood, patchouli and sparkling Italian bergamot, even a little violet, for a resulting scent that’s fresh and floral, earthy and watery. All to make a scent that embodies both Old World style and 21st century womanhood, and channels classic French style filtered through an American lens.

We spoke with the perfumer, Nathalie Benareau—a thoroughly modern French woman who now resides in America—to find out how she did it.

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When we began planning our photoshoot for Sandara—our brand-new scent, inspired by a mindful walk in the Redwoods—we knew it had to be something special. The location was a no-brainer: Portola Redwoods State Park embodied our vision for the fragrance. And the models, well, they couldn’t be just models. (Not that any model is ever just a model, but you know what we mean.) We wanted people who understood what Sandara was all about.

We were lucky, then, to find Kaeli Renae and Navid Golemohammadi, each of whom represent Sandara in their own ways. Keep reading to see what we mean—and hear some of the stories from the shoot.

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“There is no smell like this smell from the timur pepper.”

So says a representative from Mane, our partners for our new fragrance Sandara, describing that scent’s key ingredient, Nepalese timur pepper. It’s prized for its lemony top notes, with traces of ginger, grapefruit and spice. (It is a pepper, after all.) As Sandara’s perfumer, Gino Percontino, puts it: “The heart of the fragrance is the timur pepper. It’s one of the shining stars. To me it means so much.”

But as with many star ingredients, Nepalese timur pepper isn’t easy to come by. It’s rare and therefore precious, a reminder that in ancient days, spices were as valued as gold, and just as subject to counterfeiting and fraud. (That said, the pepper is not as rare as, say, Indian sandalwood, which has been harvested to the point of near-extinction.) Mane sources it responsibly, partnering with impoverished communities in Nepal to ensure that the pepper is a critical source of income not just for the women who live and work there now, but for generations to come.

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And then there were seven.

For the first time, we are adding a new fragrance to our collection of six award-winning scents. The new scent is called Sandara, and we think it’s unlike anything else out there.

To explain just what makes it so special, we asked the man who should know: Gino Percontino, the perfumer who crafted it, and who is working with us for the very first time. Here’s what he told us:

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These days, you hear the term “natural” thrown around a lot. It sounds great—who doesn’t like nature?—but it’s a little misleading. After all, cyanide is found in nature, but you wouldn’t want to eat it, drink it, or spray it on your skin. That’s why we prefer the term botanical. It’s a little more precise (we only use plant products). And at this point, natural is basically a marketing buzzword. And who needs more of those?

Our goal is simple: We strive to use the best possible ingredients in all of our products, and the reality is that scents created in labs are often the better choice. Take Indian sandalwood. A wonderful ingredient, but one that’s been overharvested to the point of near-extinction. We love how it smells, which is why we don’t use it—we want future generations to experience it, too.

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