In Conversation with Dr. Vincent of ReminiScent Parfums

Aug 8

The founder, Dr. Vincent is in conversation with Melanie Jane in this exclusive interview
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Tell us a bit about your brand.
ReminiScent Parfums was founded in November 2020 near Annecy in France. My vision is to create fragrances that are reminiscent of memories with a sustainable approach. Indeed, with memories, the sense of smell is the most powerful one and with my fragrances, I want to bottle up those precious moments so they can be revived forever.
ReminiScent Parfums’ values are sustainability and eco-responsibility. Hence, I use organic alcohol made from a renewable source and only biodegradable ingredients. As an artisan, my perfumes are hand filled and handcrafted to ensure the highest quality.
What made you want to launch your own brand and not work in house?
I have a PhD in organic chemistry, so initially I wanted to work as a fragrance chemist for big companies. Unfortunately, I was never given the chance, so I trained as a perfumer and create my own company. I like the fact that I can take the time to create my perfumes, and that I work for something I am truly passionate about.
How old were you when you decided you wanted to be a perfumer?
I’ve been interested in perfume making for over 10 years, but it was a hobby aside from my career in the chemical industry. However, I soon realised nothing other than perfumery could fulfil my need for creativity and emotion, simultaneously combined with sciences. At 33, I followed the path for becoming a professional perfumer and in 2021 I founded my company and brand ReminiScent Parfums.

What does perfume mean to you?
Perfumery is about pleasure and emotion. A fragrance has to move you, to tell you a story that connects with you on a deep level. Perfumery is a vibrating way of expression that transcends words and engages all the senses. Smell gives flavour to life. Ultimately, it’s often what remains in our memories once everything else has faded away. What fascinates me about perfumes is it can trigger those memories in a powerful and vivid way.

“Perfumery is a vibrating way of expression that transcends words and engages all the senses. Smell gives flavour to life.”

Tell us about your first perfume creation and the inspiration behind it?
It will be a tribute to the Madeleine de Proust which is the central theme of my brand. The idea is to combine the gourmand notes of an actual madeleine (a French sponge biscuit) with my own “Madeleine de Proust” aka the smells that triggers my memories. There will be some notes that are reminiscent of primary school such as modelling clay or leather.

If you were a perfume, what would you smell like?
I would smell of almondy tonka bean, amber, gingerbread and blond tobacco. I love comforting and warm notes.

Which perfume old, new or discontinued do you wish you would have created?
I wish I would have created Aventus for Creed. In my opinion, it’s one of the best Chypre fragrances for men. I receive many compliments when I wear it! It’s a bold fragrance with an unmistakable fruity leathery signature. No wonder it’s a bestseller in the niche market !

What do you think the future holds for fragrance?
More and more customers are expecting more than a nice scent. They are seeking wellbeing through perfumes and value eco-responsible and sustainable fragrances. In terms of creation, this is translated by more natural, healthy, and clean ingredients. For instance, new extraction techniques allow to use vegetable notes such as beetroot, pumpkin and carrot and even garlic! The creative possibilities will be much wider in the future. Also, artificial intelligence will eventually help to design on-demand scent as customers are seeking a scent that reflects themselves. I think technology will enable perfumes and smells to be added to virtual reality and advertisements to increase the sensory dimension of digital media.

“Artificial intelligence will eventually
help to design on-demand scent as
customers are seeking a scent that
reflects themselves.
I think technology will enable perfumes
and smells to be added to virtual reality
and advertisements to increase the
sensory dimension of digital media.”

If you could have cocktails with one perfumer from the past or present, who would you choose?
That would be Jean-Claude Ellena who I truly admire for his approach to perfumery. I like his “less is more” creative style with a pure, timeless yet elegant aesthetic. He can blend gorgeous scents with a limited ingredients palette. I find that skill especially impressive.

Do you think the industry takes self-taught perfumers seriously and is there a place for them in this seriously competitive market?
I think self-taught perfumers are considered seriously from the moment they make commercially successful fragrances. There are numbers of talented self-taught perfumers such as Andy Tauer (Tauer Perfume) or Marc-Antoine Corticchiatto (Parfums d’Empire) whose primary education is not perfumery. I believe there is a place for these unusual profiles because they bring diversity and out-of-the-box ideas thanks to their various backgrounds.

“Self-taught perfumers are considered seriously from the moment they make commercially successful fragrances.”

Do you think you need to have a chemistry or maths degree to be a successful perfumer? 
It certainly helps to have a background in Chemistry for the technical aspect, but that is not required to be successful. For instance, to be a good painter you do not need to know the composition of your colours. The talent is more about HOW you use these colours to achieve a painting. The same is true in Perfumery.

What's the vital ingredient to being a successful perfumer?
Obviously, you need to have a very good olfactive memory of the raw materials. Indeed, before making accords and composition, you need to learn the perfumer’s alphabet, which contains over 2,000 raw materials! You also need to be curious and experiment A LOT. Do not be afraid of failure because it’s how you learn and improve your skills. Perseverance is extremely important as it takes lots of time and many trials to create a perfume.
What is your favourite perfume ingredient and why?
I love Indian sandalwood. It has a comforting sweet milky coconut vanilla scent that is very long lasting and blend perfectly with the skin.

What do you smell like right now?
Right now, I smell of my Axe Gold Caramel Billionaire shower gel, which smells delicious !

If you were a perfume, what would you be called?
I would be called “A Summer in Provence” because I love that region and I always feel happy when I am there. It has a scent that is unique, a blend of lavender, pine, thyme, olive and fig trees and an ozonic breeze coming from the sea.

Any reading recommendations for budding perfumers ?
For a beginner I highly recommend “Le Grand Livre du Parfum” (NEZ Culture) which I think is now available in English. It is very detailed, easy to understand and covers all the aspect of the fragrance making. “The Perfume Bible” (J. Fairley, L. McKay) is also good reading for beginners.

On a desert island you can take one perfume. What would it be?
“Idole” from Lubin, which is an adventurer fragrance! It has an intoxicating rum, saffron, bitter orange and red sandalwood combo which becomes even more addictive on warm, sun-kissed skin.

What is the first perfume you ever bought for yourself?
“Sexy Boy” from Jeanne Arthes at the supermarket Carrefour. It smelled just like JPG’s Le Mâle and for €6 it was a bargain!
Who would you like to see wearing one of your creations?
Nothing makes me prouder when my family and friends proudly wear my creations! I am lucky enough to have lots of support from them.

What is your most powerful scent memory?
I still remember as it was yesterday the dry cedarwood smell of shaved pencil and the penetrating, phenolic leathery and plastic smell of my new schoolbag. I was 8 at the time!

What does happiness smell like?
To me happiness smells like grapefruit for its uplifting sparkle. I also love coconut and the salicylates - the sunscreen smell - because I associate it with holidays with my family when I was a kid. Those were good old happy times!

How many raw materials do you currently have?
I own about 450 perfumery raw materials in my Annecy creation lab which was refurbished last year. I use both naturals and synthetics which I consider being respectively the flesh and the backbone of modern fragrance. I support the use of synthetics as we need them for preserving natural resources (eg Indian sandalwood or agarwood), protecting wildlife (we use synthetic substitutes for animal ingredients) and replacing allergenic naturals with safer ingredients (i.e. oakmoss replaced with Evernyl).
What advice would you give to budding perfumers wanting to start their own indie brand?
To have a strong concept that stands out because even the niche market is getting crowded. There is no point launching more perfumes if it brings nothing new to what is already out there.

“Do not be afraid of failure because it’s how you learn and improve your skills. Perseverance is extremely important as it takes lots of time and many trials to create a perfume.”

How did you come up with your brand name?
ReminiScent Parfums comes from “Reminiscence” and “Scent” because I wanted to create a brand that uses the reminiscent power of smells.
Follow Vincent and ReminiScent Parfums to see his launch and the journey that goes into starting a fragrance brand... @reminiscent_parfums 
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