Every time I have an opportunity to talk to Perfumer I feel like I've got a Perfume Workshop that enriches my knowledge and broadens vision in this wondrous industry.
What I've learned here is that no matter what level of the knowledge you have, it is never right to limit yourself from community of people involved in this profession. Each person you meet is a like a piece of a puzzle you have to assemble to make a final picture. The trick is you have no idea how many pieces are in the puzzle.
In the moment I have a thought that now I know almost everything, gives me a clue tha the moment to learn something new has come.
Few years back, I was working with renown Perfume House Xerjoff as a Brand Manager in GCC region. In January 2017 we have had a launch of Casamorati Docle Amalfi and had a great event in The Dubai Mall. I felt very connected to this perfume and especially to its exciting and intriguing story: ancient walk across Amalfi coast. Later on, in collaboration with my friend, Hash Beauty owner, and beauty expect Leila Jerdea we have recorded Xerjoff Interviews with an intention to give to people knowledge about unique, diverse and unprecedented Perfume Brand Xerjoff.
Little did I know that after few years I'd have a chance to speak to a Perfumer who created Dolce Amalfi, Miroslav Petkov. It was a great surprise to know that Miroslav is based in Dubai now and I can have a chance to meet with him and talk about Perfumery.
We met in November, a "Golden Season" in UAE, as I call it, a time when we can live, not to survive due to extensive heat.
It was a cool and windy weather outside, we took a seat in a Starbucks near to Dubai Autodrome (exciting place for all-kind of driving experience), finished greeting conversation and started discussing Perfumery.
- Could please let me know what inspired you to start career of a Perfumer?
- It was a one-night decision. I was going to study Biology in the university, but I had changed my mind and instead I went to study ‘Essential Oils and Perfumery’. So that’s how everything started, answered Miroslav.
I love asking people what is perfume for them, it gives me a better understanding of how perfume can be perceived: for some it is a professions, for others, it is a business or job, for another person, it is about memories, for someone else it is about lifestyle, mood, wardrobe, occasion, hiding "bad smell", etc.
- What is “perfume” for Perfumer Miroslav Petkov?
- For me the perfume is a way of self-expression, kind of abstraction. To be honest, I am enjoying the most a fragrance ‘under construction’ and its mysterious ways and directions of possible changes and transformations. I love these moments in our profession, a never ending game.
In 2015 I wrote an article about how to Tell the Scent (https://www.ivanperfumerie.com/blog-1/tell-the-scent-use-your-brain-to-describe-a-fragrance) where I mentioned all my experience in describing and understanding the scent. It was interesting for me to ask Miroslav how we train his sense of smell and how maintains it:
- Do you still use any techniques to train your sense of smell, or it is not needed anymore?
- Like every perfumer, I am smelling for some hours almost every day. That’s how I am training. And this also is a never-ending process. Perfumery is like a ‘black hole’ - you can learn everyday something and there will be a lot left to be explored.
Thankfully to Carbonnel Factory in Spain I've got over 250 Raw Materials to play with in order to practice basics of Perfume Creation, and that was overwhelming quantity for me. In professional perfumery over 3,000 Raw Materials can be used! But every Perfumer has its own set of favorites to work with:
- How many perfume Raw Materials do you use for your creations?
- I do not know exactly, but not much. With the time I go reducing the raw materials I am using I guess, but I like experimenting and discovering new ones.
There is no success in any profession without meticulous approach and constant efforts, however we can always talk about it:
- Do you believe in accidental success of Perfume or it is every time the result of well-planned project?
- Well, you know, in most cases the final perfume is a result of a long process and a well-planned project, but we present many times ‘rough ideas’ to our clients that some times make a click. This I guess is the accidental success and what still keeps the art in our profession.
I subconsciousnessly tend to make a ritual out of almost everything I do; either it is connected to personal life or professional field. It trains patience, allows me to have a meticulous approach, creates certain "magic" environment and gives you more power to complete your project or deed, albeit I love spontaneous activities, I see live experience in them.
- Do you have some kind of Ritual of creating a perfume?
- No, I don’t. It is always a question of a momentum idea that you decide to reject or develop.
We all have favorite Music, Movies, Food and, of course, Scent. I was so exciting to know what was the most favorite Raw Materials for Miroslav:
- Which perfume Raw Material are you fascinated the most? What is so special about it?
- Well they are so many, sometimes I do not realize why I am getting fascinated of. I like the spices, they are ingredients that can change the game in a very surprising and particular way. I like the warmth of the balms like opoponax, styrax, tolu, benzoin. I love the green notes - galbanum, narcissus, mimosa, mastic - there is something very special about them I can’t express exactly.
Perfume wouldn't have been so magical, if not an idea of it. I hear quite often feedback from engrained perfume industry professionals that there is no story or dream in a modern Perfumery, they say it is all about business, being commercial and sales numbers. Well, it is their point of view and they have a right to have it. I know it is impossible for Perfumery to be without an idea, albeit it is possible for Flavor & Fragranced products Industry.
- If you had been asked to create Perfect Oriental Perfume for Middle East, what would it be?
- A smile. Very hard to answer question after all these years working for the Middle East. In this region people are so passionate about fragrances. Without thinking a lot I would say a futuristic saffrony rose fragrance - not very cleat about its form.
I can't stop asking people what will be the future of Perfumery. One year ago I asked a professional from CPL Aromas and he said that there won't be any dramatic change in the coming 5 years, except for creating new experiences that connect Olfactive interpretation and the Scent. It would have been a fault if I didn't ask Miroslav what he thinks about it:
- What do you think is the future of Niche Perfume Market? How it might be different in 5 and then 10 years?
- Niche perfumery started with the idea of creating very brave and different fragrances to appeal to a very limited audience. These brands have created a real revolution on the market. After some crisis and cannibalism the niche brands are facing, I believe that they will keep on growing and gain public.
Having an incredible variety of Perfumes nowadays it is pretty challenging to say what is your ideal perfume, as it is almost impossible to say what is your ideal mood or ideal outfit. We will immediately ask what occasion it is for. Same for Perfume, there are more and more less people who wear one scent for a long time. Modern people like changes.
- Could you please imagine your ideal perfume, what qualities, character, raw materials, olfactive category it might have?
- This maybe I could never be able to define as it as an always changing, depending on my moods and experiences in life thing for me. Or maybe there’s no such a thing as the ideal perfume.
Time flies when you are interested and stopes when you have no interest. Hours gone in a moment when I was having a conversation with Miroslav. I felt I've had a workshop and training course a the same time. It was great time, hope you have enjoyed reading our conversation and it has given you some insight and inspirations.