I have a feeling we're going to hear Dora Arnaud's name more and more in the months to come. Her Opus VI for Amouage appeared on several bloggers' 'Best Of 2012' lists. She was selected to take part in Olfactive Studio's well-regarded 'fragrance-inspired-by-photography' project. And she was asked to compose the latest scent for L'Artisan Parfumeur - Caligna - which will form part of the brand's Grasse Collection. A full interview with her should appear here soon. But for now - just to whet your appetites - here's how the Firmenich perfumer responded to my Twenty Blotters treatment...
In The Beginning
Can you remember who introduced you to perfume?
I would say when I smelt L'Eau D'Issey I realised I would do everything possible to do this job. I smelt it by myself in a perfumery.
What was the first perfume you ever bought for yourself?
Oh, I think it was an Eau Jeune. You know, the kind of perfume you buy in a supermarket. I was twelve or thirteen years old. It was really trendy. It was a very green cologne, which I still love, in fact.
If you could go back in time and meet your younger self, what advice would you give her?
That's a nice question! 'Trust yourself.'
At what age did you realise that you'd enter the perfume industry?
It was when I smelt L'Eau D'Issey, about 20 years ago.
What are some of your most memorable, smell-related childhood experiences?
My grandmother was a cook and I spent a lot of time in her kitchen. I'd mention her riz au lait, like a rice pudding. It was really powdery, vanillic and spicy, it was fantastic. It's very clear in my mind.
Complete the following sentences
Without perfume, my life... would be much easier and really less interesting.
When I walk into the perfume section of a department store, I feel... sad.
One perfume which I particularly admire is... Shalimar. And L'Eau D'Issey, of course.
One of my favourite smells in the world is... orange flower.
The perfume industry needs to... wake up.
Which of these do you prefer?
A movie or a book?
[pulls a face] I really love books. I have to choose one? Okay, I'll say a book. But I'm really a movie fan.
London or Paris?
[groans in mock agony] This is really difficult! Err... Londis! Paron!
Coca Cola or Dom Perignon?
Oh, this one's easy. Dom Perignon.
Main course or dessert?
An early start or a late night?
A late night
Are IFRA and anti-allergen regulations harming perfumery?
They are harming, but they're not killing.
Does perfume have the power to change the world?
No. And that's a very honest answer.
What would you say to someone who does not consider perfumery to be an art?
That they don't know what art means.
Does the term "niche perfumery" have any meaning?
Yes, it has.
What is the worst thing that the Internet has done for the perfume industry?
The Internet has made people think that we have to listen to everybody's opinion.