Gino Percontino is the craftsman behind Añoranza, inspired by the Havana that exists only in a dream. And indeed, that’s how it exists for Gino—he has never been to the Cuban capital, though he has spent plenty of time in the Caribbean, experience that helped inspire his execution of that ethereal concept. The end result is stunning: floral and fresh, somehow reminiscent of mojitos and the salt of the sea and sensual nights spent dancing on cobblestone streets…
We wanted to hear how he did it. Gino was kind enough to give us a little of his time. Keep reading to see what he told us, including how his research for Añoranza included a little trespassing, and why it was like bottling paradise.
We have a long history with perfumer Nathalie Benareau. She made three of our first six scents, and has now made two of the three scents we’ve introduced since launch. In addition, she translated three of those scents into candles, and four of those scents (and counting!) into body care products. We love her, she loves us, it’s a wonderful partnership.
And yet, our newest scent might be the best fit yet. It’s S.C. 59, a scent inspired by the bold and daring surf clubs of the 1950s, who took a rough-and-tumble approach to riding the waves at a time before surfing went commercial. (Think Dick Dale’s careening guitar work instead of the Beach Boys’ soothing harmonies.) It turns out, Nathalie surfs—or used to, anyway, in her early 20s.
So how did the former surfer make the ultimate surf scent? We asked her—and so much more—below.
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…
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.
It seemed like a good idea at the time: Take some of our fine fragrances, and make candles from their scents. After all, if you love the way something smells on your skin throughout the day, why not perfume the air with it, too. Easy, right? Well, in the immortal words of the Brad Pitt film Moneyball, it’s incredibly hard.
Fortunately, we had the incredibly talented perfumer Nathalie Benareau to help us, and she made it seem effortless. In roughly two months, she took her original scents from Hanami, Olmsted & Vaux and Hepcat, and translated them into Annica, Claremont and Howl, respectively. “This guy I love to work with is very knowledgeable, and he gave me a few ideas on what to use,” she says. “I called him in and he said ‘Augh! These people who try to turn fragrance into a candle. It never works!’ [Laughs.] But it does if you do it the right way.”
We couldn’t agree more. We spoke with Nathalie to learn just what the right way entails.
We’ve long been admirers of Made Safe, the country’s leading organization dedicated to helping you make informed decisions about what products to bring inside your home. In fact, we’re one of their official Supporter Brands, which is part of why we want to pass along this cool piece of news.
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:
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.
You might have observed that we don’t go out of our way to advertise which of our fragrances is considered an eau de cologne, an eau de toilette or an eau de parfum. The reason for that is simple, and perhaps best explained by Victoria Brolova (of Bois de Jasmin fame) in a recent article for the Financial Times:
“Perfume concentrations are a marketing tool and often do not mean anything exact. The proportion of oil doesn’t play as great a role as the ingredients in the composition. As such, different concentrations denote neither how long a perfume will last nor how many ‘rare and precious’ materials it contains.”
In other words, how a fragrance is classified shouldn’t be your first reference point on whether you’ll like it. (Or as we always say: all that matters is what you like.)
That said, if you’re as fascinated by scent as we are, you’ll appreciate a basic understanding of what’s what. Here’s what you need to know: