Talking Perfume with Saskia Havekes of Grandiflora Fragrance

Posted on March 16th, by What Men Should Smell Like in A Scented Blog, Creation. 4 comments

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 »


Grandiflora Fragrances – Magnolia Grandiflora Sandrine

Posted on March 14th, by What Men Should Smell Like in Floral, M - R. 8 comments

* 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 »


Grandiflora Fragrances – Magnolia Grandiflora Michel

Posted on March 12th, by What Men Should Smell Like in Floral, M - R. 9 comments

* 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 »


Madurai Malligai by Dr Uma Kannan – a Story of India’s Jasmine Sambac

Posted on March 6th, by What Men Should Smell Like in Perfume Non-Fiction. 4 comments

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 »


Scent Adventure: India – Mumbai to Madurai

Posted on February 24th, by What Men Should Smell Like in Scent Adventures. 12 comments

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 »


New Fragrances by L’Artisan Parfumeur: Haute Voltige, Onde Sensuelle and Rappelle – Toi

Posted on February 17th, by What Men Should Smell Like in A Scented Blog. 2 comments

L’Artisan Parfumeur continues its exploration of fragrance as emotion with three new additions to the Explosions d’Emotions Collection that launched in 2013 with inaugural eau de parfums, Skin on Skin, Deliria and Amour Nocturne. Like the first series the perfume boxes are covered in textured paper embossed with motifs specific to each perfume. This time a radiant fuchsia colour has been chosen to differentiate these new additions from the founding three perfumes. The French house’s ‘perfumer-in-residence’, Bertrand Duchaufour takes the collection total to six and the new additions are set for release in May-June 2014. The first fragrance communicates the explosive feeling of joy and the second fragrance is about introspection. The last of the new trio explores the emotion of passion. When I spoke with the perfumer in late November he talked about the collection being a creative vehicle to challenge him “to do something out of the normal, out of what we smell already.” For Les Explosions d’Emotions, Bertrand said, “I wanted to explore new atmospheres, new spheres of scent, new accords and new fragrances. It is supposed to be something completely different, not outrageous but something provocative.” True to his vision, these new fragrances are not outrageous in … Read More »


L’Artisan Parfumeur – Skin on Skin

Posted on January 24th, by What Men Should Smell Like in Floral, G - L, My Collection. 3 comments

In my previous post I wrote of Bertrand Duchaufour’s saffron and rose pairing for Penhaligon’s Vaara. For L’Artisan Parfumeur, the master perfumer works with rose and saffron in an entirely different way. As the title suggests, this is the scent of two bodies in contact. Skin on Skin belongs to L’Artisan Parfumeur’s recently launched collection, Les Explosions d’Emotions. It is a collection that challenged Bertrand to “evoke specific emotions through fragrances.” When I spoke with the perfumer in November he remarked the collection was one that posed “a challenge to do something out of the normal, out of what we smell already. I wanted to explore new atmospheres, new spheres of scent, new accords and new fragrances.”

Over the past decade there has been a mini exodus away from the mainstream as consumers discover niche perfumery. At the start of the revolution, a considerable number of perfume buffs gravitated toward challenging smells, the stinkier the better. Perhaps it was the consumer expressing joy over their newfound freedom from all the mainstream fruity florals perfumes and endless marine-inspired colognes. Their new scented playground became fragrances such as Serge Lutens’ Muscs Koblai Khan, a voracious animalic perfume, which to this day reminds me … Read More »


Penhaligon’s – Vaara

Posted on January 24th, by What Men Should Smell Like in M - R, Woods. 2 comments

India once again lends itself to inspire a modern day perfume story. In this case the story is told by Penhaligon’s, one of England’s oldest and most respected perfume houses. What began as a private commission for India’s Maharaja Gaj Singh of Jodhpur has been reinterpreted and last year it became a permanent addition to the house’s commercial line. The brand’s CEO, Sarah Rotheram and French perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour made several visits to India’s regal state of Rajasthan, to understand the likes and tastes of the Maharaja and to experience the seasonal smells of Jodhpur and the surrounding desert land of Marwar. No stranger to the creation of this style of location perfume, in 2012 Bertrand recreated the scent of dawn in Seville for L’Artisan Parfumeur and blogger/writer Denyse Beaulieu. In the same year he authored three fragrances for Neela Vermeire, inspired by India during three different eras. For Penhaligon’s, Bertrand takes us on another Indian journey in the form of Vaara, an eau de parfum named after the Maharaja’s granddaughter. Unlike Neela Vermeire’s lavishly coloured Mohur, Vaara is a sheer, watercolour portrait of garden flowers. With India offering so many intense colours, smells and tastes to inspire perfumers, it … Read More »


Exploring the Collection: Neela Vermeire Creations

Posted on January 5th, by What Men Should Smell Like in A Scented Blog. 9 comments

For my first blog post of 2014 I wanted to write about Neela Vermeire Creations, a collection of perfumes that pay homage to Creator, Neela Vermeire’s birthplace, India. After spending the past three weeks travelling in India, I feel more connected to these perfumes having experienced India’s diverse smellscape firsthand, even though I have been a fan and follower of Neela since we first met in 2012. I was introduced to Neela, a Paris-based perfume lover turned perfume entrepreneur in Florence, Italy where she was presenting her collection at the annual perfume exposition, Pitti Fragranze. To realize her vision Neela worked with two creatives, both leaders in their respective fields. The first was Bertrand Duchaufour, a French perfumer who needs no introduction to devotees of niche perfumes. As the ‘nose’ behind Neela’s fragrances, Bertrand combined a rich palette of exquisite notes, a true reflection of the perfumer’s modus operandi; innovative perfumes built with the most exceptional raw materials. The other creative Neela worked with was perfume bottle designer Pierre Dinand. Pierre has designed perfume bottles for fashion houses such as Givenchy, Yves Saint Laurent, Giorgio Armani and Calvin Klein. Chances are, if you have worn perfume in the past fifty … Read More »


Talking Perfume with Bertrand Duchaufour

Posted on December 20th, by What Men Should Smell Like in A Scented Blog. 8 comments

Last year I had the fortune of a brief introduction to French perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour. We were introduced in Florence at Pitti Fragranze, one of two annual perfume events in Italy. I was there with The Perfume Magazine and Bertrand was there, no doubt to support the numerous niche perfume brands that have one or more of his creations in their collections. Bertrand is known for his prolific work. Not only is he the “perfumer-in-residence” at the French house L’Artisan Parfumeur and British label Penhaligon’s; his name is credited to perfume titles by Aedes de Venustas, The Different Company, Neela Vermeire Creations, Acqua di Parma, Parfums MDCI…the list goes on. These brands are diverse in aesthetic and geography yet the one thing they have in common is the desire to produce the world’s most innovative and qualitative perfumes. Speaking with Bertrand, I understood why he is the preferred perfumer of these houses. Not only are his perfumes celebrated for their originality and beauty; there is integrity in his work and the perfume houses he works with are aware that Bertrand’s nose for detail comes at a cost. After launching his career inside some of the world’s biggest perfume manufacturing houses, … Read More »




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