This week I have been writing about recently launched perfumes, created by Australian perfume house, Grandiflora Fragrance. If you don’t already know something about these perfumes, I recommend reading the posts I published about Magnolia Grandiflora Sandrine and Magnolia Grandiflora Michel, before reading this interview with Saskia Havekes, the author and florist behind Sydney’s Grandiflora brand. Last month I visited Saskia at her address in Sydney’s Potts Point, and below is an excerpt of our conversation about her latest adventure into the world of perfumery.
WMSSL: Flowers to perfumes – it seems like a natural transition but really, it’s not that common right? Tell me how this new adventure started?
Saskia Havekes: I have probably only ever bought myself one fragrance, which was Antonia’s Flowers, many years ago. It was before I worked with flowers and I was living in New York. I found a beautiful little store down in the Village and I’ll never forget finding it, smelling it and thinking that it smelled like a flower shop. Antonia Bellanca was a florist and she lived in the Hampton’s. All of that to me at that age just seemed so glamorous and amazing. And it was such a simple bottle. I … Read More »
* over three days, I am publishing posts about the recently launched perfumes by renowned Australian florist and author, Saskia Havekes. Her brand, Grandiflora, is based in Sydney and a couple of weeks ago, I spent time with her, listening to the story of how she created two perfumes, named after the perfumers who created them. Sandrine and Michel were created with great joy and also great sadness; Sandrine’s creator, perfumer Sandrine Videault, passed away in 2013. Yesterday I began publishing my own thoughts on these two new fragrances. My third blog post, which will be published tomorrow, is an interview with a very candid Saskia, who talked with me about her Scent Adventure into the world of perfumery.
Saskia Havekes now adds fragrance creator to her list of accomplishments. The florist and author had an idea to create a fragrance, which paid homage to her favourite flower and namesake of her business, (magnolia) Grandiflora. New to the world of perfumery, she talked about her idea with one of her clients, perfume expert Michael Edwards, who introduced Saskia to Sandrine Videault, a perfumer that studied under master perfumer, Edmond Roudnitska. Sandrine recalled her teacher saying, “a beautiful perfume is one which gives us … Read More »
* for the next three days, I’ll be publishing posts about the recently launched perfumes by renowned Australian florist and author, Saskia Havekes. Her brand, Grandiflora, is based in Sydney and a couple of weeks ago, I spent time with her, listening to the story of how she created two perfumes, named after the perfumers who created them. Sandrine and Michel were created with great joy and also great sadness; Sandrine’s creator, perfumer Sandrine Videault, passed away in 2013. Today and tomorrow I’m publishing my own thoughts on these two new fragrances. My third blog post is an interview with a very candid Saskia, who talked with me about her Scent Adventure into the world of perfumery.
It is not every year the world is given the privilege of being able to own a new perfume by Michel Roudnitska. Michel is the son of legendary French perfumer, Edmond Roudnitska, a man responsible for inspiring many of world’s leading contemporary ‘noses’ and the tutor of a chosen few. Although his resume of published perfumes is relatively short, most historians agree that almost all of Edmond Roudnitska’s perfumes are classics and often changed the course of perfume history. As his father did, Michel resides … Read More »
When I visited India, I expected the smell of sandalwood to be one of the trip’s olfactory highlights. What I didn’t expect was the affection I would develop for India’s native jasmine sambac. Jasmine has always been a favourite flower of mine but I generally prefer the sweet, candied petal odour of jasmine’s grandiflorum variety. I have fond memories of my visit to the jasmine fields surrounding the southern French village of Grasse, where the grandiflorum flowers have been harvested for more than a century.
In comparison to Grasse’s famous jasmine, which graces the likes of Chanel No 5 and Jean Patou’s Joy, India’s jasmine sambac has a greener edge. The absolute extract in my collection of raw materials has a fruitier personality and under GC analysis, I am sure it would reveal higher amounts of cis-3-Hexanol esters that give it its crushed grass notes. Smelling the freshly picked flowers in India, I developed a new appreciation for jasmine sambac and during my time in Madurai, India’s jasmine capital, I became transfixed on the flower that locals affectionately refer to as Madurai malligai. Buying jasmine garlands became a daily ritual in the small South Indian city and I would track the … Read More »
The first time I came to India was in 1999. It was my second major trip abroad and after spending a year in South America I naively thought I was a sufficiently experienced traveller to navigate my way through the country alone. Outside Arrivals at Delhi’s international airport, India did to me what India often does to young travellers. It turned me upside down, swallowed me whole and spat me out. Despite the Lonely Planet warnings, a rogue taxi driver scammed me and in the small hours of the morning I spent my first night barricaded in a hotel room of the taxi driver’s choosing. These were the days before smart phones and Google Earth so once the sun came up, my first task was to find out where the taxi driver had offloaded me and I steered myself back on course. My travels took me north of Delhi; I visited Amritsar’s Golden Temple, spent nights in a houseboat on Kashmir’s picturesque Dal Lake and by pure chance I had an audience with the Dalai Lama in McLeod Ganj, where the Tibetan leader and his countrymen and women were living in exile. It was a trip that gave me unforgettable … Read More »