We saw it a few weeks ago, the creation of a fragrance is a long and delicate process, from the inspiration to the juice flowing in your bottles. To complete successfully this work and create the fragrance that will titillate your nostrils, we collaborate with several partners, each bringing their own touch to the final creation. The job of Nose is one of the first involved to bring the inspiration to life…
For many years, Claire was hidden behind our creations. Perfumer in Grasse, this lover of scents knew how to smell between the lines and understand the directions that we wanted to bring to our fragrances. It is partly thanks to her fine nose and her incomparable sense of smell that every day you let Carrément Belle into your perfumed ritual.
Recently, Claire has decided to make a fresh start. She said goodbye to her job of Nose to turn to plantar reflexology. She thumbs her nose at the history!
Our scented interview
At Carrément Belle, the experience has shown us that creating a perfume was first and foremost a human adventure. A story of men and women, with multiple skills, but with common ideas. So, we wanted to give the floor to Claire today. She tells you about perfume, her job of Nose, her career and our Carrément Belle history!
Carrément Belle: Have you ever wanted to become Nose, a perfumer?
Claire: Since I was a little girl, I was very attracted to flowers. I could feel them, I even ate them sometimes! And I drew them all the time. On night trips, I loved to guess where we were, just by the smell. That is how I then moved on to the job of Nose.
What are your inspirations?
Nature especially. I am passionate about traveling too. I spent a lot of time from my childhood in the mountains and the trip that marked me the most is the one where I had the chance to stay several weeks in the Amazon rainforest, in the sector of Bolivia. My dream was also to climb the canopy to be able to observe these inaccessible “peaks”. It is also after this fabulous journey that I won the prize for the best young perfumer awarded by the French Society of Perfumers, which gathers various professions related to the creation of perfume and nose. I had created a fragrance on the theme of the everlasting flower (Helichrysum arenarium).
I am also inspired by Art. Painting touches me particularly. Generally all my senses remain on alert, and this is also where inspiration is born!
The beginning of a Carrément Belle history
Tell us the beginnings of your collaboration with Carrément Belle and your first meeting!
I remember a meeting with Frank Jammes (the creator of Carrément Belle) with some glasses of champagne. Frank then asked me if it was possible to create a sparkling perfume, the heady scent of champagne!
But our common story really began when we worked together on the creation of the eau de parfum 555.
What is your role in the process of creating a fragrance? When do you step in?
Carrément Belle addresses its olfactory brief to the company I worked for. We then discuss together (the company in charge of creating the perfume and the Carrément Belle team) the different information of the brief, but also with the appraiser. The appraiser is an olfactory expert who helps the nose throughout the entire creative process. He advises and guides the perfumer on the different olfactory choices, according to the customer’s request. He also checks that the perfume we are creating is technically and aesthetically complete. The job of nose and that of appraiser are therefore very similar, and above all complementary. An appraiser has a better knowledge of the market and our scents library. Finally, the sales representative also brings his expertise thanks to a very good knowledge of the customer.
It is therefore a work of six hands… and two noses! Teamwork is essential to design a fragrance, while keeping a space of freedom to create.
Do you have a ritual, a method of work that you set up for every creation?
I don’t really have a ritual. I’m trying to really make the request a reality. It is a chance to work directly with people to capture the visible and invisible as much as possible. I like to add an emotional dimension to it, the famous note that we are all looking for, the one that makes you go elsewhere… with a smile!
How do you manage to transcribe words, an inspiration or a memory into a perfume?
It is very subjective: everyone smells and feels things, materials and scents differently.
During the learning phase of the nose job, we spend hours describing each raw material, from a technical point of view but also with all that it evokes in our memories, our perceptions… It is then up to us to find harmony and create new agreements, with this knowledge and our creative imagination, which is of course added to the technical part.
What is your olfactory signature?
Concretely, how is the selection and assembly of raw materials taking place?
With Carrément Belle, it goes quite far because the team already knows the raw materials, their properties and how to assemble them. They already have quite specific wishes regarding the raw materials they like and want to see included in the perfume. It also guides us in the right direction to be given to the creation.
What is your Carrément Belle favorite fragrance?
I would say 555. Maybe because it was our first common project. And we made it really quickly… As if we understood each other! A shared inspiration.
Do you know how many perfumes you have created during your perfumer career?
Honestly no. What I really remember about this part of my life, and what I love is the creative aspect. After, it “just happens”!
As a perfumer, what makes you become attached to a particular perfume? Have you ever created a fragrance that did not please you?
There are times when magic happens fast, even if it depends on people too. When that moment comes, you feel like “wow”, the scent gives you goose bumps. That is the emotion I am trying to give to each of my creations.
And indeed, sometimes it happens that on other projects, you have more difficulty in discerning the orientations, it is thus more difficult for the perfumer. Sometimes you lack understanding keys. Sometimes you lack of time. It happens but that is part of the game.
When you spend your day creating perfumes, can you wear one every day?
It depends on people again. Personally I can not do it! My sense of smell saturates too quickly.
Among the different senses, what place do you give to sense of smell?
I like the senses in general and the way they guide our emotions, especially the sense of smell because of its “instinctive” side, primal. For example, I love discovering a wine by starting to smell it, and let my nose discover its aromas.
You will understand, I also like the pleasures of the table! The nostrils and taste buds are on the look-out.
Switching from perfumer to plantar reflexologist, it is quite original!
Indeed it is! The universe changes completely but in this new profession it is another sense that is highlighted. Here, touch is very important, although the other senses also play a role.
Before taking this new path in my career, I first thought about working with wine stocks. But finally, I ended up going to another discipline. What I like is the contact with the other, the human takes all its dimension.
At first glance, reflexology and perfumery appear to be two very different worlds: in terms of odor, is it as awful as it seems? By the way, what does a foot smell like?
We do not think this way in reflexology. We do not say categorically that a foot smells good or bad. In fact, the smell of the foot provides us information, which we then use to start working. For example, if the feet smell cheese or cocoa, we can look for a sensitivity in the area of the kidneys and help the person to find a balance in the body.
Claire’s Chinese portrait
I you were…
- A childhood scented memory: a haystack
- A flower / a plant: an Atacam rose
- An ingredient or raw material: iris, ambrette, pink berry, incense, benzoin… Impossible to choose just one!
- A part of the body: the tip of the nose
- A smell: fleeting and surprising, perhaps not yet smelt…
- An olfactory family: soft and textured (it may seem paradoxical compared to the previous question). But this family is not yet homologated!
- Natural, synthesis or both? I particularly like to select and work with natural ingredients