I had the opportunity to meet Paul Schütze at Liberty recently during their Alternative Fragrance Festival and with the help of Odette Toilette he explained to a captivated audience the mysteries of Aroma Chemicals, as well as giving us a brief overview of his 2 latest perfume releases, Villa M and Cuadra.
I feel however I should start at the beginning. I tried his first 3 perfumes only recently. I was quite intrigued as they were all created to evoke specific moments of time and space, fleeting olfactory memories, especially about Behind The Rain as it was inspired by a flash storm in Greece.
Tears of Eros
Paul Schütze was working in his Paris studio on a cold January evening - window open. Incense from Sanju Sangendo in Kyoto had recently burnt; discarded broken clementine skin and a hyacinth in early bloom perched on the artist’s desk. A full moon shone light and a breeze collected and merged the smells. Notes: ambergris, benzoin, cardamom, cedar, incense green, clementine, guiac wood, hyacinth, labdnum, orris, pink pepper
The happy accident in the perfumer's studio has resulted in a heady scent that opens with a fleshy hyacinth, intense, green and earthy supported by hay like vetiver. The incense is burning in the background and adds on depth with some help from the resins and a bit of clementine sweetness. It's a very nocturnal scent and it "burns" close to the skin.
Some years ago Paul Schütze was visiting the island of Java. It was a clear evening, the sounds of a gamalan orchestra drifted like jewels across the water. The otherworldly music perfumed the air with phantoms while hallucinations inscribed themselves across the night sky. Notes: bergamot, bigarade, cedar, cyclamen, magnolia, pettigrain, sandalwood, tunisian orange flower, vetiver
A very bright juicy orange, vibrating in harmony with elegant flower notes, bitter pettigrain and orange blossom. The combination of vetiver and sandalwood in the base notes provides a juxtaposition between dry and sweet / creamy that works great and elevates the scent giving it space to ripen into a very juicy realistic orange.
Behind the Rain
Paul Schütze was holidaying in Greece. Whilst walking on a Cycladean beach a flash storm hit - ending just as suddenly as it began. Emerging from shelter, he was overwhelmed by waves of intensely perfumed air rolling down from the rain-bruised fir trees.
Notes: black pepper, conifer, olibanum, grapefruit, lentisque, linden, moss, patchouli, sweet fennel, vetiver
I was really curious about this scent as I'd read the story that inspired it and the scent described is one I'm all too familiar and absolutely love. The land, very dry, following continuous high temperatures smells dry - very much like London lately - and when this pressure in the atmosphere gets released in a form of a flash rain, the earth repays the sky with an array of magnificent smells. The fragrance is bright and dry at the same time and when the rain comes all the vegetation, the trees, their bark and resins become alive and exude a rich sweet scent. Paul Schütze used 2 aromachemicals in the composition to achieve this result; vetiveryl acetate that is bright and dry and makes a great combination with grapefruit and Norlimbanol (plus bay leaves) to create the extra dry feeling you get when you smell the fragrance. This is my favourite of all 3 because of the association; thank you Paul for bottling my memories of endless hot Greek summers!
During the event I had the opportunity to try his 2 newest creations Villa M and Cuadra, the first two fragrances in a series directly inspired by iconic architecture.
Inspired by Curzio Malaparte’s astonishing cliff top home on the island of Capri, with notes of ambergris, cedar, cyclamen, hay, mimosa, pink pepper and seaweed it makes a very positive first impression. It's a breezy and salty scent, very Mediterranean like where you get the scents of the salty sea mixed with delicate flowers that bloom close by and the vegetation that adds a herbal vibe. I really like it and will be wearing it a bit more.
Cuadra Cuadra San Cristobal is a horse ranch built around geometric reflecting pools and the fountains which feed them. It's exotic setting and vibrant colours have been used as a setting for many editorials and photo shoots. With notes of bay, bergamot, coffee, eaglewood, hay, sandalwood, jasmine, oak moss and tobacco it's dry, woody and smoky with a gorgeous coffee / moss / sandalwood drydown. It's a bold scent that captures the boldness of the design, the dry earth and herbs and combines it with a warm animalistic side.
All of Paul Schütze 's creations are highly artistic and multidimensional and truly capture the essence of the moment or space.