Mr. Schwieger collaborated with owners, Sylvie Ganter & Christophe Cervasel of Atelier Cologne and the results are fruitful, fresh and elegant.
Born in Germany, Mr. Schwieger studied chemistry but found his passion for fragrance. He studied at a school in Grasse (France) which is the world capital of perfumery. His expertise and exquisite skills obviously got noticed by Ganter & Cervasel due to other successful fragrances created by Mr. Schwieger.
I was honored with a Question & Answer session with Mr. Schwieger on how he approaches the creation of a new fragrance and what it took to make Orange Sanguine Cologne Absolue.
1. I noticed that especially this year, there have been an abundant of new fragrance releases that are showcasing orange notes such as orange blossom, sweet blood orange, neroli, etc., why do you think this is? Or maybe a significant reason in the world of perfumery?
I did not notice that, but working with my own fragrances each day I am sometimes not aware of what is going on outside... Orange blossom (or ‘Neroli’) has many times been used in perfumery as well as a call out but I guess you are talking of the citrus peel notes. I guess Orange oil as an ingredient has been kept in the shadow because it is looked as a little to common. Everybody knows oranges and marketers are often trying to lure with the exotic… like ‘shimmering silver starfruit’ or something silly like that…
But there are citrus fruits which are less common like ‘yuzu’ or ‘blood orange’ - those offer a variety of twists on the well known lemon/orange/grapefruit and lime theme.
Anyway, the Orange tree delivers so many raw materials for us, I could imagine so many different variations! ….you can eat the fruit or drink the juice but in perfumery we use the peel to (manually) extract the essential oil, we have essential oils of the leaves (‘petitgrain oil’) and both essential oil (‘neroli’) and absolutes (solvent extractions) of orange blossoms!
2. Ralf, as a Master Perfumer are you told what kind of scent to create or do you collaborate with Atelier Cologne founders Sylvie Ganter & Christophe Cervasel on what fragrance should be created for a creative reason?
Sylvie and Christophe are the artistic directors of the brand; they choose the theme but are very open to the suggestions by the perfumer. They gave very helpful comments during the development of the scents and I enjoyed real creative freedom.
3. Ralf, what are your favorite scents to create in terms of citrus, floral, spicy, etc., and why?
I myself love citrus notes - I used to wear colognes like ‘Eau d’Hadrien by Annick Goutal. They provide freshness and can help you to achieve that explosive first impression when you sniff at a fragrance… I love lemon, lime, blood oranges, grapefruit… I like them rather tart and am eager to express that sensation in a fragrance.
I like ‘textural’ florals such as mimosa: the touch is almost as important as the scent, the little yellow flower balls tinkling your nose when you approach to smell them, that’s a sensation I would like to conjure. Or a rose with these almost plasticized petals. And then there are those power flowers like lilies, that’s a challenge!
Spices have very singular aspects which are not easy to tame but can give great identity to a fragrance. Think of Eau d’Hermès by Roudnitska, a master piece.
4. Orange Sanguine is an incredible zesty fragrance with earthy notes. How would you explain to someone who is new to fragrance if Orange Sanguine is considered an indie perfume, blended or something else?
For ‘Orange Sanguine’ I tried to capture both the peel notes and the juicy notes of the fruit, I believe it is this combination of both aspects which lets you experience the whole sensation of crushing a blood orange: peel bursting and that juicy red flesh dripping out… have you seen the intro of DEXTER on television? A little bit like that… slightly wicked.
Atelier Cologne is a new brand with a real identity (look at those mood boards), they started kind of small but have a solid distribution in the US and are going to launch in Europe next year. You might call them niche or indie but most important: the quality of the fragrance is prime!