En Voyage Perfumes: American Perfumer Interviews

Hi there Posse. Recently I introduced you all to a new business called American Perfumer. The name says it all. Independent Artisan American Perfumers being put on display so you can find a large selection of them in one spot. Genius! From that initial post I was inspired to meet some of the people behind the perfume brands that are for sale at American Perfumer. They all get the same 10 questions so we can see how they differ and how they are similar. After I will give you a quick review of one or two of their perfumes. Today let’s meet Shelley Waddington of En Voyage Perfumes.

En Voyage Perfumes: American Perfumer Interviews

En Voyage Perfumes: American Perfumer Interviews

What do you recall of your families fragrances as you grew up?

My Aunt Bobby was tiny, rich, glamourous, and wore the highest heels I’d ever seen. One day she gave me her bottle of Schiaparelli’s Shocking, right from her fancy dressing table. The bottle was shaped like a little glass dressmaker’s dummy, and was under a glass dome. My parents were horrified at the idea of their 5-year-old wearing such a fragrance. To me, it was simply wonderful.

Where is your dream vacation spot?

Places that evoke secret old stories such as Venice and Paris are my dream spots. They’re saturated with extraordinary art, culture, literature, history, and cuisine. They spark my romantic and creative imagination.

How do you like to start your day?

Café au lait. Morning hugs. Check news. Check schedule and orders.

Tell us about your life, family, business or career before perfume?

My early life in an artist colony was involved with music, textiles, clay, charcoals, paint, jewelry making and sculpture. Eventually I needed more income, so I entered the corporate world. During those corporate years I missed having something to hold up at the end of the day and say, “I made this”. It was like living in a sensory deprivation chamber.

How did you find yourself in perfumery?

As a diversion to my corporate life, I bought a few essential oils. I blended a few little things and put them in pretty bottles. I had some talent and wanted to learn more. So I took a vacation to Paris and Grasse to study, learn, and to find better oils. I gradually collected an extensive reference library, a fully stocked perfumer’s organ, and developed rewarding relationships with other perfumers and helpful suppliers.
My first business, Beau Soleil Perfumes (in 2000), was an all-natural perfume, bath and body outlet. It was at the time only a hobby, but became the early forerunner of En Voyage Perfumes and remains our parent company.

What is your favourite perfume note and why?

I gravitate most strongly towards the Base. Those big, luscious, deep and lasting base materials such as benzoin, styrax, ambergris, vanilla, musk, labdanum, sandalwood and dark woods; Cedar. Cyperus. Oakmoss. Geosmin. Peru Balsam, Tolu Balsam. Ambrette Seed. Why? They are all grounding and healing. Working with them nourishes my soul at a very deep level.

How did you decide on your companies name, what is its relevance?

En Voyage perfumes = To travel and to explore creative spaces of the mind, and of our beautiful planet, enriches our lives by conjoining the humanities with the natural world. It exemplifies the true literal and metaphoric meanings of being “en voyage”. It lifts us.
I continually challenge myself by designing and expanding my horizons creating perfumed stories; these are my own signature scents, each inspired by my knowledge of perfume chemistry and composition, indigenous raw materials, by art, artists, literature and the gorgeous world around us.

What was the last novel or biography you read (current if appropriate)?

“All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr. It’s a wonderful story, I strongly recommend it,

Who are your fragrant heroes?

My hero perfumer is Ernest Daltroff who founded the House of Coty in 1904. He was a young Russian Jew in Paris who trained himself to make perfume for a living. His assistant, muse and beloved life partner Felicie Vanpoille, helped him to escape to America when the Nazis occupied Paris during WWII. His masterpieces include Tabac Blond, Nuit de Noel, and Bellodgia, trendsetters of their day. Today they’re treasured classics that radiate the poignant authenticity of his life. I like his story because he was the real deal who succeeded on his own merit despite not having a wealthy family or a famous mentor.


Thanks Shelley for letting us see a little into your head and heart.

You can buy En Voyage Perfumes from American Perfumer

Zelda by En Voyage from Val the Cookie QueenThe notes unfold in layers like magic. First the spicy top layer, and then the thick magnolia and flowery layer, and then hidden under that you hit a smoky, musky, vanilla, sandalwoody and who knows what else accord. It stays layered on the skin. Absolute genius, and it doesn´t stop. It is deep and complex, and I wonder how Shelley Waddington came up with this. Be careful though it´s a twelve hour trip! Still there in the morning.


Portia also writes for Australian Perfume Junkies

  • I’m most grateful for David and Portia and humbled by all the beautiful comments and the lovely people who posted them. Thank you all for your generosity.

    • Portia says:

      Hey Shelley,
      They all adore you. Hard not to really.
      Thanks for dropping in, it feels like we’ve had a visit from frag royalty.
      Portia xx

  • Neva says:

    I really enjoy these small interviews Portia. One gets to know the perfumers as everyday people with their wishes, dreams and of course fears.
    I was happy to win Zelda in a giveaway. It meant a lot to me because American perfumers are hard to find in Europe. It’s such an extraordinary perfume and Val’s description is very accurate. But I have to say that I enjoy Civet even more.

  • hczerwiec says:

    I really really really wanted to love Zelda — it sounded like an old-school chypre right up my alley! — but I thought it was disappointing. Maybe it was the vanilla? But I do like her Hummingbird for Zoologist.

    • Portia says:

      I bet your wallet was happy when you didn’t love Zelda, mine groans with pleasure at even the thought of me not purchasing.
      Glad you like the Hummingbird, it’s a very popular one, so good.
      Portia xx

  • matty says:

    Thank you so much for this interview.X

  • Dave Kern says:

    Thanks for this lovely interview Portia, and thanks to everyone for their comments. Shelley is a terrific perfumer and Zelda, in particular, brings a smile to every face that smells it. One of the rare ones that pleases both the perfumista and the passer-by. Val the Cookie Queen nailed it. – Dave, AMERICAN PERFUMER

    • Portia says:

      YAY Dave,
      So glad you’re enjoying these interviews. I love learning just a little about the perfumers, so interesting for me.
      Portia xx

  • Kathleen says:

    Thank you for these interviews Portia! Getting to know these talented perfumers means a lot to me. I really enjoyed learning more about Shelley. I have been a fan for awhile, beginning with Civet for Zoologist. I was blown away, and then researched En Voyage. Zelda is one of my most favorite perfumes of all time. I agree with everything Val the Cookie Queen stated in her review above regarding Zelda. It’s a masterpiece. I’m not surprised Shelley Ernest Daltroff so highly. I also love Figa (an olfactive talisman). Shelley’s perfume creations are of extreme quality and complexity. They truly do take you on a voyage as they evolve. I just received samples of the chocolate trio; sampled Captured in Amber and Indigo Vanilla yesterday and was in heaven! All her fragrances are wonderful and on my full bottle wish list. Some more mentionables tI recommend you try: Tagetes Femme, Nectars del Iles, Makada, Lorelei, Go Ask Alice. Peche Noir, Fiore de Bellagio, and Frida.

  • rosarita says:

    Thanks for the great interview, Portia, I am a big fan of Shelley Waddington’s work. En Voyage perfumes are wonderful and Zelda is one my favorites, different facets are revealed at different times when I wear it. Recently I was visiting my elderly mother who’s also a perfumeista, and she said several times that she smelled peppermint from the Zelda I was wearing. Shelley’s perfumes are fascinating.

    • Portia says:

      Hey Rosarita,
      So much Indie work has depths no department store fragrance can ever match. I love to smell the interesting and unusual in their works.
      Shelly seems to be a particular case in point, people love her and her fragrances.
      Portia xx

  • Love Shelly and her work! So many great fragrances; Loralei, Frida, Go Ask Alice, A Study In Water and on and on……

  • cookie queen says:

    I loved and had and wore all the chocolate trio too. Spent a day in San Francisco with Shelley, such a great day. Good interview. xxx

  • RoseMacaroon says:

    I love Shelley Waddington’s perfumes — her chocolate trio is addictive to me, and Frida and Zelda have been at the top of my must-try list for far too long. Thank you for featuring her, she’s delightful!

    • Portia says:

      Hey there Rosemacaroon,
      I remember the chocolate trio. I can’t remember when or where I smelled them. Must have been in the USA sometime.
      Portia x

  • Gina T says:

    family’s fragrances and company’s name