Open Eye: – Hello! I understand that you have studied perfumery in Grasse. I have heard that it is rather hard to get admission to their education, please do tell us about the education and your views on and experiences from that time.
Viktoria: – Hello! Admission to the Grasse Institute of Perfumery is rather difficult because there is lot of people who would like to get in, whereas the number of places is limited. However, I do encourage everyone who is determined to be a perfumer, to present their candidacy to the school, as the program was an amazing experience with wonderful professors and a lifetime bond with fellow students.
Open Eye: – How many different scents are you able to smell (approximately), as a schooled nose? Do you think a layman is able to train the ability to distinguish between more scents.
Viktoria: – In the perfumer school we had to differentiate hundreds of natural and synthetic raw materials. After I graduated, I worked for few years for different perfume houses, so I probably doubled this number. Concerning your capability of differentiating scents: smelling is like a muscle, the more you train it, the stronger it gets!
Niche and Hedonist
Open Eye: – What are your thoughts on niche perfumeries vs. the big mainstream companies?
Viktoria: – While some of the fellow niche perfumers’ work amazes me, it makes me sad to see that some companies are not selling original creations but twisting already existing classic perfumes with a high price tag. Also, multi-nationals are taking over some old niche houses changing their old charm and authenticity. Unfortunately, the customers are getting as lost with niche perfumes as they got confused with mainstream launches. I do believe in the education of the customers and I do think we should allow them to have a deep look inside our work. This is why I have created various services around this idea. I do think that sharing with the customer the creation process is highly increasing the value of any perfume, hence custom-made perfumes or informative perfume sessions are meant to be more and more popular.
Open Eye: – Could you shortly describe the artistic creative process when making a perfume? How do you envision and test scents etc.
Viktoria: – Creating Hedonist took me 3 years altogether, I really wanted to bring back the „golden ages” of perfumery with my creation and I wanted it to be a real source of joy. I had ideas about using luxurious raw materials like orange flower absolute and jasmine absolute with ingredients that makes me think of pleasures, so I started to play around with tobacco absolute, vanilla absolute and rum. The scent was ready after 2 years, but the longevity was too weak, so I spent hundreds of trials to improve this aspect, making it very long-lasting. I did a small ”focus group” to test the perfume, giving few samples to my friends, and a very surprising feedback came back: all my friends liked the perfume, and their boyfriends/ husbands were actually going crazy for it and begging their wife/girlfriend to wear it. I still cannot really find the explanation to that, but it is a rather amusing and promising mystery!
Open Eye: – Do you have any favorites in raw materials and scents or compositions?
Viktoria: – I am very much impressed by most of the natural raw materials, but I especially like to work with orange flower absolute. This raw material has a certain duality, depending on the culture. It is representing cleanness (in the Mediterranean, it is traditionally used in refreshing colognes for all ages) or deep sensuality (like in North America). I like this contrast, and I think of orange flower as a humble and fresh femme fatale. Of course Hedonist contains a fair amount of orange flower absolute.
Open Eye: – Do you have any perfume favorites?
Viktoria: – Of course, my all time favorite is always the one I am creating! 🙂 Concerning other perfumers’ creations: the one that makes me feel “home” no matter where I am in the world is Boss Bottled.
Open Eye: – What is your dream perfume to create right now?
Viktoria: – I had so amazing feedbacks from customers who bought Hedonist that all I want is to trigger the same deep emotional response with my next creation.
Open Eye: – How would you like Parfums Viktoria Minya to develop in the future?
Viktoria: – Apart from working on many more unique creations, I do believe there is a certain need from the customers to be educated about perfumery and ingredients. When I go to perfume stores, I always feel so awkward when a shop assistant is trying to convince me that the newest launch smells of cactus and mermaid hair… I think that partially due to these sometimes extreme marketing communications, consumers are so eager to receive first hand perfumery-related information from a credible person, as a perfumer e.g.
Concerning a higher level of education in perfumery, I offer a great variety of services on my website and one of the most popular one is indeed perfumery classes. It has been kept in secrecy for so long; it was only accessible for a small amount of people, so I am really happy to share my knowledge to those interested. I hope in 5 years, I will have numerous trained students who are creating wonderful fragrances and making the perfumery world more rich and qualitative.
You can buy Hedonist and samples on Viktorias website.