Born and raised in Grasse, Aurelien Guichard – coming from a family of perfumers for 7 generations and trained in the famous Givaudan School, is a perfumer signing close to one hundred creations prior to co-founding his own brand in 2019, amidst the Covid19 crisis.
Focusing on one carefully sourced ingredient in each perfume, giving it his interpretation, and playing with different facets of each matiere premiere (meaning raw material), Matiere Premiere since 2019 has 8 fragrances in its line: Bois d’Ebene, Cologne Cedarat, Encens Suave, Falcon Leather, Neroli Oranger, Oud Seven, Parisian Musc, Santal Austral, and Radical Rose – quite special because Aurelian Guichard knows very well how your hands smell after a whole day of picking roses in a field in Grasse.
He owns, with his family, an organic Rose Centifolia and tuberose farm in the Grasse region since 2016!
Here is my interview with Aurelien Guichard and Caius Von Knorring (CEO) during Pitti Fragranze 2021. It seems like they might finally make my dream come true, the one I have chased for years now: to spend at least one day picking Rose Centifolia in a field, and following the whole process – in Grasse!
It was a pleasure to meet and chat with Aurelien Guichard and Gaius Von Knorring at Pitti Fragranze 2021! I recorded our conversation and it was published immediately after the live on Instagram on The Plum Girl‘s IGTV. Here is the transcript in form of an interview:
EC: Let’s start from the beginning. How and when did you decide to have your own perfume brand?
Aurelien Guichard: Caius and I have worked for many years together in fragrance development. I was a perfumer and he was my client (both smile). We have a third partner, who was also present in our work. We all saw the beauty in the process of creating fragrances and in sharing the act of creation.
We got together and decided to create Matiere Premiere, with an intention to showcase one by one main ingredient and show people the beauty of one single perfume ingredient! In an overdose.
Caius Von Knorring: Yes, and the idea was also to showcase Aurelien’s work. We have been working together for many years, actually, and we became friends. What really united us was working on fragrance creations. There’s beauty in Aurelien’s work, and we wanted to share that because it might be something that people don’t really know so well.
But when you work with him, you become aware of it all-of course, he has the talent but he also has a fantastic laboratory in Grasse, where he is surrounded by flowers, and it is always so interesting to observe how the fragrance creation happens.
EC: Perfume as an art form, or craft?
Aurelien Guichard: As an art form!
Caius Von Knorring: As an art form, of course!
EC: Please tell me more about your rose farm in Grasse?
Aurelien Guichard: I am the 7th generation perfumer in my family, originally from Grasse. (Editor’s note: I noticed that this information is very attention-worthy among perfumers coming from Grasse, the ones that have continued their family business: almost all immediately state which generation of perfumers they belong to. Heritage and terroir matter, and 7 is quite a high number.)
On top of creating perfume, I also own an organic farm where I grow Rose Centifolia and tuberose. The farm is in the Grasse region, and all of our rose production is dedicated to Matiere Premiere.
We are actually the only brand in the world to own and produce some of the raw materials we use in our perfume. Which is really a dream come true!
EC: Rose or tuberose? (Editors note: meaning- the preferred raw material)
Aurelien Guichard: For now – rose! We have launched a perfume named Radical Rose, which is a fragrance with the highest concentration of Rose Centifolia used in a bottle of perfume (concentration not specified, Editor’s note). I am so proud to have an opportunity to share the beauty of this amazing raw material.
Caius Von Knorring: Rose, yes!
EC: I’m familiar with your whole collection, and the concept behind it. I’ve tested and worn all your fragrances, so please tell me what are your future plans? There are countless raw materials you can interpret.
Aurelien Guichard: Our work, for now, is aimed at establishing our own style. We strongly believe that what we started to do, creating fragrances by underlining one raw material and its specific facets – is unique.
One raw material has many facets, so Nature already gives you a material that offers many possibilities for creating. My work is to translate an ingredient into a fragrance.
Our vision for the future is to keep sharing the beauty of raw materials, done our way in Matiere Premiere fragrances.
Caius Von Knorring: I think this is important to what we are trying to send out as our fragrant message, as Aurelian said – we have our own style. We think that beauty lies in simplicity, like in other art forms, for example, in architecture.
You have minimalist architectural styles, or in cuisine is the same (Editor’s note: simplicity IS sophistication, according to both), so we really think that there’s certain modernity in pursuing this specific style.
We have usually a group of lower-key materials around one main and radical player – an ingredient that is sculptured and shaped in a fragrance. And we think this is a nice direction in perfumery.
EC: Thank you both. I have one more question for you: it was always my dream to pick roses in a rose field in Grasse. If I come there, will you let me pick your roses?
Aurelien Guichard: Of course we will! But on top of that, you will experience something amazing! When you work all day in a rose field, picking Rose Centifolia, after an hour or two – first, it is amazing for your mind!
But – you also get some rose residue, like resin on your fingers, a mix of rose sap, and tiny parts of rose flowers that stick to your skin with a strong rose smell, and that is – in fact – the inspiration behind the fragrance Radical Rose!
So, if you come and pick roses with us, you will truly see the meaning behind this creation!
EC: Thank you so much, and see you in Grasse, come rose picking-time!
Aurelien and Caius: See you in Grasse!
You can find the complete line of Premiere Matiere fragrances, and more information on rose fields in Grasse on their website here.
The Plum Girl
Photos: Elena Cvjetkovic, Premiere Matiere
A bottle of Radical Rose was kindly submitted by the brand for my consideration, opinions of my own.
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