Inside story

PUBLISHED : Friday, 13 April, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 13 April, 2012, 12:00am


The art of perfumery has a long and rich history, but its alchemy and assiduous nature often go unappreciated by the people who splash on a dash every morning. And although some perfumers take sole credit for their concoctions, fragrance creation is a collective endeavour - which is why renowned perfumer Fr?d?ric Malle prefers the term 'editeur de parfums'.

Just as a veteran editor works with green writers, so too Malle delves into his family history and depth of experience to guide numerous perfume authors (Malle's grandfather founded Christian Dior Parfums and his mother was art director at the French label's fragrance department).

As the inspired mind behind chic fragrance label Editions de Parfums, Malle is both celebrated for his exceptional creations and renowned for his cautious nature.

For years, the master perfumer was said to have disposed of his carefully made concoctions by emptying them into dumpsters on different streets, just so rivals rifling through the trash couldn't remake his scents.

But in a surprisingly open move, Malle recently offered a glimpse into his private working life through his first book. On Perfume Making, published by Angelika Books, is Malle's little black book of fragrances, filled with closely guarded secrets, his inspirations as well as the much-sought after formulas, broken down into both ingredient and cost.

With dozens of accompanying images from renowned photographer Konstantin Kakanias and an introduction by French actress Catherine Deneuve, the book is a testament to the long hours and tireless trials that a perfumer experiences when searching for an elusive scent.