Hendley 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 Hans Hendley of Hendley Perfumes.

Hendley Perfumes: American Perfumer Interviews

Hendley Perfumes: American Perfumer Interviews

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

It was the 80’s so my dad was wearing Brut deodorant and I think a little splash bottle of Brut cologne may have been my first. I remember Drakkar Noir too, it was probably at the height of it’s popularity and I think my mom gifted it to dad at some point. I associate a certain perfumed smell with my grandmother which I now know to be basically nitromusks and cigarettes – I wish I could remember the fragrance(s) she wore!

Where is your dream vacation spot?

Just somewhere warm and relaxed, coastal is good. I love Jamaica and the Caribbean in general.

How do you like to start your day?

I’d love to say I have some elegant routine but really it’s just plenty of coffee and right to work. I feel the best and most sharp in the morning so I like to get into the most important tasks first thing.

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

I didn’t really get into perfumery until my 30’s so there’s some zig-zagging that lead me to this point. Early on I studied photography in college and spent a few years working in that business. I also spent some years in working boutique retail management and product training for interesting brands. Mixed in with that stuff, I also spent plenty of time doing music production and DJing. I even ran a little DIY record label for a while.

How did you find yourself in perfumery?

I wasn’t really following perfume but I was working in skincare and already had some interest and experience in mixing essential oils for more functional purposes. Then, a friend showed me some indie perfume brands and my mind was blown! I had no idea that a DIY scene for proper perfumes had begun to emerge and I was hooked. I became obsessed with figuring out how this whole thing works and spent all my nights and weekends experimenting until some friends assured me that the work was getting pretty good. That gave me the confidence to start sharing my scents and think about making a brand.

What is your favorite perfume note and why?

It’s pretty hard for me to pick a single favorite but I think there’s a category of materials I love and they’re basically coming from tree and shrub resins – labdanum, fir balsam, styrax, opoponax, frankincense and other sticky things tend to show up in a lot of my work.

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

When I first decided I was going to start a brand I really didn’t want it to be so focused on me as a person. But when I was brainstorming with people about possible ideas most said I should probably just use my name because it already seemed to work.

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

“How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia” by Moshin Hamid. It’s like a globalized version of The Great Gatsby.

Hypothetically: If you had to pick a Signature Perfume that you didn’t create, what
and why?

Probably Chanel Sycamore (the old EDT). I can’t think of a situation where it wouldn’t work well on me if applied appropriately.

Who are your fragrant heroes?

I’m not sure I really hold anyone as a hero but I enjoy and feel inspired by the work and ideas of perfumers like Andy Tauer, Josh Lobb & Christopher Sheldrake. I’ll always have to give credit to Mandy Aftel for kind of being the og fairy godmother of indie – her Essence and Alchemy book has been an important starting point for many of us.

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

You can buy Hendley Perfumes at American Perfumer

Hendley Perfumes: American Perfumer Interviews

Hendley Perfumes: American Perfumer Interviews

Mown by Hendley Perfumes

Mown Notes: Chamomile, hay absolute, champaca, dried fruits, tobacco, orris butter, moss, ambrette.

WOW! I was expecting straight up fresh mown grass but no. Mown is about the earth, trees, sweat of the mower, humus and the very specific scent of a pile of healthily decomposing grass in summer. It also manages to capture the feeling of the suns warmth on your back as you mow and that tinge of two stroke smell. Exquisite and fun.

Bourbon by Hendley Perfumes

Bourbon Notes: Bergamot, orange zest, toasted oak, cognac oil, bourbon vanilla, benzoin, tonka bean, labdanum, guaiacwood, castoreum, oakmoss, musks.

Bourbon is a sexy and boozy vanilla. It manages to capture a lot of the nuance that vanilla has and also the smooth sweet taste of your first bourbon of the evening.



Portia also writes for Australian Perfume Junkies

  • Kathleen says:

    Bourbon sounds delicious! I love those notes! Thank you for the introduction to another interesting perfumer.

  • Stupid comment ended up in the wrong place 🙁

  • Piece of cake! Not!!

  • Musette says:

    Omgosh! Bourbon sounds AMAZING though I’ll probably end up falling for Mown, those notes are so up my alley! I think I mentioned my bfffe just moved to KY and the only real way to get to her is to drive, so I’m definitely going to stop here when I’m off to see her.

    And I loved your interview with Hans, Portia. He sounds like a very interesting guy and any fan of Moshin Hamid’s work is cool in my book!


  • I’ve been hoping you would cover Hendley perfumes. Mown, and especially Rosenthal have been high up on my to try list for quite some time. When this ridiculous self-imposed sampling ban has been lifted I aim to try a discovery set.

    • Portia says:

      Hey Marcella,
      Sometimes need to sit with what we have to remember how much that is already. I’m super impressed with your strength.
      Portia xx

  • Hans Hendley says:

    Thank you for this series, Portia. Your support for us indies over the years is much appreciated!

  • Matty says:

    I love these intereviews. Bourbon sounds interesting.

  • Brigitte says:

    Thanks for this interview, P!
    This indie brand has been on my radar for a while now. So interesting to read about the man behind the brand.