“Perfumery Is Science Before Art And Storytelling”

In Spanish, the word Luz means ‘light’, which represents her personality perfectly. LuzVaquero, is the Head Perfumer of Iberchem. A snappy chat with her throws some light on her personality

With a diploma in chemistry and a couple of years of lab experience, Luz started her career at Iberchem as a lab supervisor. Four years later, she joined the team of perfumers of which she became the director in 2015. From China to Morocco, her fragrances can be found in a multitude of products, from niche perfumes to luxury shampoos.

ParfumPlus (PP): Not every day we get the opportunity to talk with someone leading a team of perfumers. What would you say is the main challenge of your role at Iberchem?
Luz Vaquero (LV): I guess the greatest challenge is to maintain a global vision of perfumery. Unlike most perfumers who work and specialize their technique for a dedicated area, when I evaluate the work of a member of my team, I need to adapt myself to their mind-set and the local taste of their market.

PP: What is the most common mistake perfumers seem to be making?
LV: Saying they are perfumers? Anyone with a brush, some paint and some inspiration can make a painting. Should they be considered master painters? No. Should their work be displayed in the Guggenheim? Most probably no. In my opinion, the same goes for perfumery. You don’t become a perfumer overnight. Of course, perfumery is art and storytelling, but too often people forget it is also a science. It is a profession that you study. For instance, at Iberchem, only after 15 years of experience do we consider a perfumer a real perfumer. Beyond the ingredients, a perfumer should be able to tell you about the interaction between the molecules in his perfume or about their volatility and fixation behaviours. But that’s my opinion, and I am sure it would make for a lively debate.

PP: What is a perfumer’s worst enemy?
LV: Time. Have you seen the number of launches in the last year? Yes, there are more perfumers on the market, but this also comes from the fact that we are often rushed to create new scents. Obviously, this changes everything. I often smell new launches thinking “It’s good, but it seems like something is missing…” I am sure with a bit more time, that missing part could have been filled. If I don’t have a deadline, I like to leave my projects on standby a few days or even a few weeks and see if my opinion has changed.

PP: At the latest edition of Beautyworld Middle East, you presented a private collection of fine fragrances. What kind of scent can we expect from a perfumer with such international background?
LV: They did not reflect any particular trend or taste. I first selected some key raw materials of the market and gave them a personality. I gave my creativity carte blanche and went with the inspiration of the moment. The result is a series of well-constructed fragrances, beautifully balanced. For the storytelling part, I left each visitor creating their own story after smelling them. We could say that I went the other way around! I understand it is a bit risky, and not very common, but the result was concluding. I got some very positive feedback. Authenticity is always and will always be a convincing argument.

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