Photo: Talos Buccellati

Founded in Paris in 1828, Guerlain is one of the oldest fragrance and beauty houses still existing today. For decades, many of its iconic scents have been loved by women all over the world, and needless to say, their formulas have been closely guarded and kept within the Guerlain family. When Thierry Wasser joined the esteemed house in 2008, he took over the reigns from four generations of perfumers from the Guerlain family lineage. Since then, he’s established himself as a force to be reckoned with, thanks to his creation of new icons like Idylle, La Petite Robe Noire and his latest creation, Mon Guerlain. Here, Thierry Wasser lets us in on his creation process, his role as Guerlain’s perfumer, as well as his favourite ingredients to work with.

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Photo: Pol Baril

On working at Guerlain… Before coming to Guerlain, I was working for a perfume house. It was very different because I was not involved in sourcing for raw materials. But since joining Guerlain, I’ve learnt so much more about the raw materials. Instead of just blending extracts in the lab, I’m spending a lot more time in the fields, learning about the ingredients right at the source.

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On establishing partnerships for raw materials… As I become more involved in the sourcing of raw materials, this has opened up a new passion within myself to build relationships with the farmers. We aim to form long-term partnerships which not only ensures sustainability for our business, but also to be fair to the farmers.

On creating Mon Guerlain… I think I’ve started thinking about it since four years ago, but the actual time spent on working on the composition is probably around 12 months. For this new scent, we used raw materials that we are familiar with, like lavender and sandalwood, but sourced from new locations.

Inspired by Angelina Jolie, this fresh oriental fragrance is an unexpected blend of prized lavender, sambac jasmine, sandalwood, and vanilla sourced from all over the world.

On new technological advances in perfumery… With improvements in technology, there are more techniques for extractions that we use now, which leads to more variations of what we can extract from the same raw material. For example, with CO2 extraction, we are able to rediscover plants like pepper, spices and beans. It is very important for a perfumer to be up to date with the new technology, so as to give new variations to existing ingredients because a new scientific treatment of a particular raw material can give rise to a very big difference.

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On his favourite ingredients to work with… Bulgarian rose and vanilla have always been my favourites for many years. But Sandalwood is my new favourite, this Sandalwood is special because the seeds are from India but they are grown in Australia, which gives it a unique quality.

Mon Guerlain EDP is at $98 for 30ml; $138 for 50ml; $208 for 100ml.

By Joyce Cheo