In Conversation with Perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour

Bertrand Duchaufour is a French perfumer who has created fragrances for several perfume houses such as Givenchy and Christian Dior to name a few. He is currently with The Different Company and shares his experience as a perfumer with us in this interview…  

Bertrand-Duchaufour-portrait-image1. You have been involved in the world of fragrances since 21 years now. How has the journey been for you?

The journey has been an enjoyable one since I’ve done exactly what I wanted to. It was sometimes difficult and maybe I’m not liked by all my clients but at least I’m apart from the crowd of perfumers and recognised as a creative olfactory composer.

2. What has been your biggest inspiration as a perfumer?

For me,  my travels are very inspirational. They tell a story on a specific location and I’ve been able to discover amazing scents which I have memorised and used once I’m back home. I’ve traveled a lot and I continue to do so.

3. After having created so many perfumes, are there any particular ones that you love that stand out for you?

I find a sense of closure, of achievement when I have finished a series of fragrances in a specific Collection, a feeling of balance and completion.

4. How was it working for so many perfume houses including Penhaligon’s, Amouage, Comme des Garcons, Givenchy and Christian Dior?

The way I work with a fragrance house each time is very different so there are no conflicts or problems for me there. But obviously my works for the “big brands » has not been the most interesting…by far…

5. What are some of the challenges that you still face as a perfumer? How do you manage to keep your work original and come out with a unique fragrance every time?

What I’m mostly interested in is not the subject of the fragrance but the way I choose to develop it; the way I choose to create the fragrance based upon the components and its own construction to find the right “accord”. It is always challenging for me to make sure some components stand out in what I consider to be an original “accord”.

Collection-Excessive---Aurore-Nomade-56. You have a broad olfactory palette… but are there any ingredients or components that you are particularly partial to and frequently use?

Yes, there is always some components that are more or less my favourites for me. And at the same time I would say ‘No’, since the best way to motivate and find new ideas is of course not to use the components that one is used to.

7. You are a photographer and painter as well as a perfumer. Do these other interests inspire and influence you to create your fragrances?

Actually, all these are very separate, very distinct for me. I’m not a big fan of mixing all these arts together… they are all still very much uncharted territories.

8. Do you have other favourites apart from your own creations? Are there perfumes you wish you had created?

I have to admit that there are very few new fragrances that can be a sort of role model for me. I’m working on my own and I get inspired by the world and its various scents, not by the other perfumes that are launched. Although there is one type of perfumery I’m interested in these days and it is the world of the mukhalats.

9. What olfactory trends do you see emerging in a few years from now? What do you think of bespoke perfume?

I really cannot say, since I’m not too much into the trends.

10. What will be your next perfume?

My next perfume will be floral, chypré, fruity, animal, or maybe a musk.  A Cologne, a fresh water perhaps … I don’t know. Whatever the fragrance, I’m focusing on creating something original compared to everything I have done so far. For The Different Company, we have fine tuned a dense, strong and sensual fragrance for the Collection Excessive to be launched after Aurore Nomade but hush… it’s not out yet ….

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