Aurélien Guichard hails from a long line of French perfumers, but the sought-after fragrance expert is not one to rest on his laurels.
"I don't know much about fragrances, and I try to stay very innocent about it. My mother always told me, do what you feel and the way you think is right. That's something very important, to trust your own personal taste," he says. "Maybe some people will think I have bad taste. But the majority think I have good taste."
Indeed, since graduating from the prestigious Givaudan Perfumery School, headed by Guichard's father Jean, he has created fragrances for major fashion houses from Gucci and Versace to Nina Ricci and Issey Miyake.
Six years ago, Guichard began collaborating with Joe Garces, president of Robert Piguet Parfums. The legendary perfume house is best known for Fracas, a heady and groundbreaking floral created by Germaine Cellier in 1947.
"I liked the fact that there was something historical about [the brand]. Also, there was a real understanding with Joe for expensive ingredients," Guichard says. "He wanted to do things right and well, the way it was done in the past. The price of the creation wasn't an issue. We just try to create fragrances that are beautiful, straightforward, powerful and understandable."
The latest result of Garces and Guichard's collaboration is the new Pacific Collection, a trio of fragrances designed specifically for the Asian market. The challenge was to create scents that retain the characteristics of Piguet - powerful and long-lasting - without being too overwhelming.
Guichard approached the process, as he always does, with a specific customer in mind. "All my work I dedicate to people. When I think of fashion, I think of people. When I think of fragrances, I think of people. When I think of art, I think of people," he explains.
"For Blossom, I was thinking of a woman with a sparkling personality with a radiant and contagious beauty. It's probably the most feminine of the three," he says of the effervescent scent with top notes of neroli and mandarin.
Chai is a reinterpretation of white tea leaves with a top note of bergamot leaf. "For Chai, I was thinking of a woman with more inner beauty and internal happiness. Perhaps someone more intellectual but with a real warm sensuality," Guichard says.
"For Jeunesse, I was thinking of a young woman who was happy, smiling and giggling. There is something seductive about a woman who is just happy and laughing," he adds of the blackcurrant- and raspberry-infused scent.
When it comes to choosing his favourite fragrance, Guichard says: "What I like is to be surprised. And usually I'm surprised when I smell a beautiful fragrance on a beautiful woman. That, to me, is when a fragrance makes sense.
"You can look at a dress and think it's amazing. But it will only be amazing and magical when it's worn by the right person. Fragrance is the same. It only has a meaning when it's worn by a woman. It's about the intersection of people and fragrance."
ROBERT PIGUET PARFUMS PACIFIC COLLECTION: BLOSSOM, CHAI AND JEUNESSE