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Beauty
August 28, 2017

Bulgari’s Master Perfumer Sophie Labbe On How A Fragrance Makes A Woman Feel Gorgeous

Text by Aparrna Gupta

A fragrance, like a piece of jewellery, can make her feel stunning from within

Everything begins with a story in her universe. “I always tell myself a perfume’s story before starting to create it. I note down all the thoughts that come to my mind as well as the emotions and technical terms.” Meet Sophie Labbé, senior perfumer at International Flavors and Fragrances, who is responsible for reinventing Bulgari’s classic fragrances.

The Italian brand’s new Splendida collection — comprising Iris d’Or, Rose Rose and Jasmin Noir — features three of the most iconic flowers in perfumery. Labbé’s role was to take Bulgari’s classic fragrances of the ’90s, namely Pour Femme, Rose Essentielle and Jasmin Noir, and make these more modern and luxurious by using the finest and most precious olfactory ingredients. Iris absolute is known as blue gold as it’s one of the most expensive raw ingredients. Just a kilogram costs more than one lakh euros. Similarly a drop of damask rose essence is just as precious. The most prized roses in olfactory, they are hand-picked at dawn before the dew evaporates. Nearly four tonnes of petals are needed to make a litre of essential rose oil, and 700 kilograms for a litre of rose absolute. Sambac jasmine, sourced from India, is known for its intense sensual scent. “It’s such a fragile flower, It takes 1,800 hours to harvest the 7.5 million flowers — needed to produce one kilogram of jasmine absolute,” says Labbé.

“When you wear a fragrance, first, it is for you. The scent can make you feel special. You glow because you feel good from within. Similarly, an exquisite piece of jewellery can make you feel like a diva,” she elaborates.

For Labbé, a perfume is more than just a scented concoction, it holds the key to one’s memories. Getting nostalgic, she adds, “My mother’s scarf is my most impactful olfactory trigger, with the powdery note of her skin and the drydown of her perfume…. Also, I grew up in the west of France, close to the Atlantic Ocean, where the summer was full of immortelles, so the whiff of the blooms reminds me of home. My father would grow Cognac, so the smell of harvesting grapes during fall takes me back in time too.”

Sometimes, more than words, it is the trail left by your perfume that leaves an impression. Make it unforgettable!

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