When I met Dora Arnaud at the London launch of L'Artisan Parfumeur's Caligna, I took the opportunity to ask about two other creations which brought her to the attention of the scented blogosphere last year. The first of these was Still Life, her contribution to the Olfactive Studio project, in which photography and social media came together in the creative process. Did she enjoy the experience?
"It was a very interesting idea to work with photographs and Facebook. We were quite free, but we had to be inspired by the photography. Mine was expressing parties, the fiesta. So I had this idea of a cocktail of three different peppers, with yuzu. Celine [Verleure] really loved the idea of working on a cocktail that is not only refreshing but had something behind it, with the woody, black tea notes."
Together with Pierre Negrin, Arnaud was also behind Opus VI, Amouage's much-loved 2012 addition to the Library Collection. How did she approach its construction?
"The brief was based around a movie, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, and around memories. I watched it. I'd never seen it before. It was very strange, but quite inspiring. And so the idea was for Opus VI to work on a new amber, through the periploca, the Chinese flower which has the smell of amber. For a flower, that's quite amazing. And the idea was: "Amber is the eternal, universal smell. If you switch off your memory, as a perfumer, of what amber means, how do you reinvent it?" So I reinvented it using this flower. And after that, we built it with a lot of smoky agar wood, and it was a balance between smoky, woody notes and ambery notes."
What was it like to work with Creative Director Christopher Chong?
"It was great fun! He's a character, and I love that. It was an amazing meeting. And it was human, a direct exchange. We were quite free, but he has a very clear idea of what he doesn't like. You know when he likes something or not!"