a big, smoochy HELLO! to our guest poster, Ann!


I live a pretty quiet life these days; there’s not much
of a glamour quotient for this unemployed suburban mom.
Nothing too exciting happens to me
and my celeb sightings are practically
nonexistent. (Except for that
one time back in the early ’90s when I saw U2’s Bono
in the Saks Fifth Avenue parking lot.)

But you never know when the universe will
grace you with an unexpected thrill.

I received one not too long ago, when I was in a very upscale
department store (and to be honest, I wasn’t shopping,
but was hurrying through and out to my car).

As I passed one of the fragrance
bays I saw a vaguely familiar man standing behind it.
I almost did the classic cartoon double-take but stopped short
before I embarrassed myself.

Standing there behind the Maison Francis Kurkdjian
counter was none other than the perfumer himself. Holy Toledo!
I attempted a discreet U-turn and did my best to saunter
nonchalantly over to him.

Let me tell you, ladies (and guys), he was even cuter
(excuse me — more handsome)
than in his photos, with his dark, closely cropped hair,
gorgeous brown eyes and to-die-for olive skin.

But best of all was his shy smile, which made him very approachable.
I think I would have turned tail and run had he been
a loud, brash, self-promoting sort, but thank heavens, he had a sweet,
almost boyish demeanor which endeared him to me immediately.
His charm won me over so much during the course
of our little chat that I had an overwhelming
urge to leap over the counter and give him a hug.
Thankfully, I refrained, and security did not have to be called.

Now, had I known our paths would cross, I would have prepared
some deep, insightful questions (well, maybe …), but as I was flying by the
seat of my pants this day, our interaction was much more casual.
I gushed about his fragrances and he graciously thanked
me and seemed genuinely pleased that I was a fan of the line.
As we chatted, I asked him about the possibility of body products
and also the creation of smaller, more travel-friendly sizes.
Although he didn’t go into any specifics, he did confirm
that these are indeed in the works.

Now you may be thinking: Well, DUH, Ann!
I know, not the most original of questions, as we all
realize that those products are the natural progression
of a fragrance line as it matures, but I had to make some
kind of conversation.
And hey, I was a little starstruck, OK?

Anyway, after a bit, I thanked him, wished him
a good journey back to Paris, and floated off
toward home on a cloud of Absolue Pour le Matin and APOM Pour Femme
(my faves) — one on each arm.
My tiny brush with perfume
fame will have me smiling for a quite a while, I think.

So, now, my question to you, dear Posse-ites (Posse-ettes?):
If you could chat with any perfumer for 5 minutes,who would it be and whatwould you ask him/her?


  • Carla says:

    I love Francis Kurkdjian! I think he is the perfumer I would be most ga-ga to meet. I feel like Lumiere Noire pour Femme was made just for me. My good friend met him when he spoke at the Lycee Francais of Chicago’s gala last year. I spoke with Linda Pilkington when I called to order at Ormonde Jayne and was so glad for the chance to tell her how beautiful Ormonde Woman is. I lived in Boston for a long time and used to wonder if one day I might meet Luca Turin or Tania Sanchez, since I spent so much time at perfume counters. I didn’t, though.

    • Ann says:

      Hi Carla, so happy to “meet” another fan of M. Kurkdjian. And glad you love the Lumiere Noire Pour Femme; it’s a lovely fragrance. Not so great on me because of my iffy relationship with rose, but still beautifully done.
      How cool that you got to talk to Linda Pilkington! I’ve always heard she is very nice.

  • Suzanne says:

    Hey Pretty Lady!

    How on earth did I miss your post? And such a fabulous post, too; having fallen under the swoon of Absolue Pour le Soir, I’m thrilled to hear that you met the man and he was so charming and nice!

    I would love to meet Dominique Ropion and find out what his personality is like, because the fragrances of his that I love have such a directness and immediacy to them. A certain amount of intensity too. I guess from a writer’s point of view, I’d like to see how his personality and creative process intersect…that kind of thing fascinates me. :)

    • nozknoz says:

      That does sound fascinating, Suzanne – I’d love to read that inteview!

    • Ann says:

      Thanks, sweetie, glad you enjoyed it. I wish you had been with me, you would have liked him instantly too. And I’m right there with you on Dominique Ropion. Like nozknoz says, I’d love to read your interview with him — it would be amazing!

      • Suzanne says:

        Someday I’m going shopping with you, Ann. Even more than meeting a perfumer, I’d love to meet some of my favorite perfumistas! :x

        • Ann says:

          That would be off-the-charts wonderful!! Maybe one of these days when I make it up that way for the rhubarb festival :)
          Or we could meet in a great fragrance city and have a mini Sniffapalooza.

  • nozknoz says:

    Last fall, I attended a seminar led by Luca Turin, Tania Sanchez and Patricia de Nicolai. Christophe Laudamiel was there, too, although I didn’t realize who he was until the seminar was nearly over. I totally FAILED to think of a single intelligent question either before or during! I did interact with them briefly in the book signing lines and thanked PdN for her wonderful perfumes and LT and TS for having made it possible for me to explore perfume intelligently because of their books.

    I have two questions for perfumers: 1. So many perfume blog commenters note that they don’t enjoy incense perfumes because incense it reminds them of Catholic mass. I’d like to ask the noses of notable incense perfumes whether or not they have these associations and if they do, what does it mean for them to compose incense perfumes? (Since Andy Tauer has a blog, I guess I ought to try contacting him, actually!) 2. I’d like to ask Duchaufour why his perfumes are so different from classical perfumes or anyone else’s, for that matter – how/why was he able to transform perfume in this way?

    Thanks for your post, Ann. On some level it can’t matter, but on another I like knowing that some of my perfume dollars are going to a perfumer who is a nice person like FK. FYI, PdN seemed very grounded and it was very heartening to hear how she persevered even though it was unthinkable when she started out for Guerlain to have a female nose, so she really had to find her own way.

    • Ann says:

      Thanks, nozknoz. That seminar sounds amazing. And at least you got to thank them for enriching your life.
      Your questions are excellent, BTW, and very thoughtful. I would love to know what is “the Duchafour difference.” And you’re so right about PdN; you have to admire her for soldiering on and making it on her own terms.

  • Ann says:

    Hi, Kate. Oh yes, Roucel is wonderful. I love his Musc Ravageur, Hermes’ 24 Faubourg and Bond 9’s New Haarlem.
    And another great I must mention is Alberto Morillas, who did Cartier Panthere and my beloved Cartier Must II.

  • Kate says:

    I’ve been lucky to meet several perfumers and usually think of intelligent questions and gush appropriately. I’d love to meet Maurice Roucel as I probably would babble and *not* be able to sound like I have a brain. “Tell me about your favorite raw ingredients” or some such.

    • nozknoz says:

      Kate, if you check back, please tell us more about your questions and their answers!

  • Dante's Bra says:

    Just to sniff some perfumes with Dominique Ropion or Roudnitska and listen to them talk, and learn about how a perfumer thinks and smells, I would die of happiness.

    Although I’d love to go clubbin’ with Germaine Cellier, too. Bet she was a hot rod!

    • Ann says:

      You know she must have been cooler than cool! Great choices of perfumers; I’m especially partial to Dominique Ropion myself, as he’s done several of my all-time faves (Ysatis, Carnal Flower, Safari), so I’d love to sit in on that chat with you.

  • Ann says:

    Hi Karin, I knew you were a MFK fan but couldn’t remember which was your favorite.
    As for Mathilde Laurent — wow!! Now there’s a fantasy job for you. And no doubt, the Atrape Coeur would be the BEST fringe benefit ever!! I just got a mental picture of you, standing outside her office with a big sign: “Will work for Attrape Coeur”

    • karin says:

      Ha ha! “Will work for Attrape Coeur” – love it!!! I need to try the other MFKs again (I have a bunch of the samples), but my fav is Cologne Pour le Soir. The Absolue Pour le Soir was a bit too, too for me; but the Cologne is awesome. I also admire his work on the MDCI fragrances.

  • karin says:

    Hi Ann! What a fun surprise encounter! I admire M. Kurkdjian and love his fragrances.

    As to my dream meeting – Mathilde Laurent. I would ask her if she would hire me as her apprentice…and if she would supply me with a lifetime supply of Attrape Coeur. :-)

  • tammy says:

    Well, if we’re allowed to raise the dead, my choice would be Ernest Daltroff, though rather than ask him questions, I’d probably just kiss his feet. (I’d raise him completely intact, of course)

    Thanks, Ann, for such a fun post!

    • Ann says:

      Thanks, Tammy. After his encounter with such an adoring fan, it’s doubtful Mr. Daltroff would return to his grave willingly. And while we’re fantasizing, let’s go one step further and insist that when he pops up to chat that he brings you a gift of your favorite Carons.

    • mals86 says:

      “Completely intact”! Funny.

  • mals86 says:

    Just ONE? Because I can’t choose.

    I’d love to meet Francis himself and find out why I’m so happy with Lumiere Noire pf, even though I am the Anti-patchouli.

    I’d love to meet Jacques Guerlain and ask if he really did play around with the formulas for early Cotys to come up with several (genius) classic Guerlain fragrances. I do not expect that I’d get an answer (but I’m ONTO YOU, buddy…).

    I’d love to meet Patricia de Nicolai and ask her what the creative impetus was for Le Temps d’une Fete. What was she thinking of? Did the smell interpret the thought, or did she just find something that smelled good and say, “Oh, hey, THIS smells good! I could sell this one!” I’d also ask whether she’s looked into having the 100ml bottles shaped like the 30ml ones, which I love.

    I’d love to have coffee with Andy Tauer and ask him anything at all: what he’s working on now, what does he think of when he smells URC, what he had for dinner last night… it’d all be interesting. Actually, you know, Dawn Spencer Hurwitz and Laurie Erickson I’d like to meet too, and ask the same questions. I think they’d be great fun.

    I’d love to meet Sophia Grojsman and ask her how it is that so many of her creations have bosoms.

    I’ll stop now… thanks for the scentceleb sighting report, Ann! Exciting.

    • Ann says:

      Hey Mals, the more the merrier I say! I’d love to be a fly on the wall for each and every one of the interviews you listed.

  • FragrantWitch says:

    What a fab experience, Ann! I would raise M. Guerlain and ask what really truly inspired things like Shalimar and L’ Heure Bleue – the Guerlain stories are lovely and romantic but I would like the real scoop. Also, I would ask him what new releases he thinks will stand the test of time!

    • Ann says:

      Hi lady, so nice to hear from you. How neat it would be to get the real stories, straight from the source, and also to get his take on current perfumes. I think I’d pay good money to hear all that.
      And from several other people’s posts on here, it looks like M. Guerlain would be very popular (and busy) indeed!

  • Nava says:

    I’ve actually met a couple of perfumers: Mandy Aftel at her home in Berkeley, CA and Ron Robinson of Apothia Fred Segal at Art with Flowers in Tysons Corner VA. Both were very charming and knowledgeable.

    Who do I want to meet? Serge, of course. What would I ask? Take pity on me and replace all my bell jars!!

    • Ann says:

      Hi, Nava. It’s so cool that you got to meet them, both very talented people. And I’d like think that if you talked to Uncle Serge and he heard your story, he would give you a bell jar or two on the spot!

      • Ann says:

        Oops, that should be “I’d like to think” — where’s an editor when you need one? :)

  • lemonprint says:

    Fortunately, I just finished the spring Sniffapalooza, where I got to talk to many perfumers, including DSH and (for the first time) Neil Morris. I am a hopeless dork, because I almost always ask the same question, “What’s in that?” and they pretty much never answer me. (At least Neil Morris was a bit coy about what is it in Izmir that gives it that amazing smell that really speaks to me of Turkey and nowhere else. Coy in the sense that he didn’t answer the question. :-))

    I think I’m too much of a dissectionist and they don’t usually want to pick apart their fragrances like that. But I’m still learning to identify notes, and I really want to know what it is I’m smelling – especially when it’s a note I know I recognize but can’t yet put a word to. I just learned that a note I’ve loved for years is frankincense, and I am ridiculously excited to know that!

    The new Department of Olfactory Arts at the Museum of Arts and Design is hoping to have events where the public can come and watch an actual creative meeting between noses and creative directors, complete with access to the brief and to the sketches being considered. If it comes off, that will be extraordinarily educational.

    And maybe I would come up with better questions to ask. :-)

    • Ann says:

      Oooh, lucky you! I’m with you on the notes; it’s nice to have them singled out sometime. BTW, I’m a fan of frankincense as well.
      And let’s keep our fingers crossed that the museum can organize those kinds of events — wouldn’t they be fabulous?

      • lemonprint says:

        I DIDN’T KNOW WHAT THAT AWESOME SMELL WAS! And now I know, and it’s frankincense! I feel smarter. (Enfleurage, btw, made us FRANKINCENSE ice cream as part of the day (my most recent blog entry). Awesome.)

        I really would make a huge effort to go see some of those events if they hold them – and feel lucky that I live close enough to see them!

  • Ann says:

    Wouldn’t that be cool? Count me in as hopelessly nerdy, too, as I’ve also wondered how their minds work when they’re sniffing a fragrance. A fascinating subject for us perfumistas …

  • HemlockSillage says:

    Ooh, what a neat brush with celebrity! I’m so glad he was kind. I’m afraid I would just gush awkwardly.

    If I could ask a perfumer one thing, I’d ask him or her to lead me through their experience of a scent strip. It would be easy to do, right there at the counter. I’d love to hear a narration of the notes, and to get a mini peek into their experience of perfumes. It might be fun to grab one the perfumer did not create, just to hear his analysis. I wonder if they think in notes, or in chemical compounds. Mr. Malle would point this out as hopelessly nerdy :)

  • March says:

    Lulz. I noted the formatting here and thought, I need to fix that. :)>- It reads/looks sorta like an epic poem. Then I thought: wait, it IS an epic poem, so I left it!

    Can it be a DEAD perfumer? Actually, Mr. Guerlain wouldn’t have anything to say to me anyway. Okay, Patricia de Nicolai, I’d ask her for some stuff she’s discontinued. 🙂

    • Ann says:

      Hey, dead or alive, I say. Thanks!

    • Musette says:

      yeah! wth? I did NOT format that like it’s showing.

      But I like it! 😕

      And why not dead? I pulled Coty out of his grave and gave him a brief, why not M. Guerlain?

      xo >-)

      • Ann says:

        So if we’re re-animating folks right and left, let’s bring back Jean Patou’s Henri Alméras (and maybe his ’80s counterpart for the re-release, just for good measure) and get some more of that divine Vacances flowing again. (As long as it’s pretty true to form. And why not? It’s our fantasy). Whatcha think?

  • Olfacta says:

    Francois Coty — I would ask him what really happened in the department store that had just turned down Le Rose Jacqueminot. Version A: He smashed the bottle on the floor and all the women who smelled it came rushing up to buy it. Version B: These same women were “shills” hired by Coty to do just that, a brilliant stunt if it really happened. My guess is Version B. He seemed to have a natural bent for marketing. But no one who knows the truth is still alive.

    • Musette says:


      I’m going with Version B, too, which makes him all the more interesting and complex, both as a businessman and a parfumer. I think he would be my choice to chat up as well. My question: “why don’t you come back from the dead, 8-x the awful people who have ruined your vaunted perfumes, rework those scents in timeless fashion…but leave your politics back in the grave, okay?”

      wait: that’s not a question, it’s an edict. Oops! 😉

      xo >-)

    • Ann says:

      Excellent choice, ladies! I regret that I came to perfume too late (or was too young) to explore and appreciate the greatness that was Francois Coty.

  • hongkongmom says:

    ps lucky u to have such excitement

    • Ann says:

      Thanks, dear. It’ll have to last me awhile. I’m just glad he was so nice.

  • hongkongmom says:

    Serge Lutens..I would ask him if I could spend time in his garden in Marrekesh!!!!!!!!and get some ISM!!!!