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 Amber Jobin of Aether Arts Perfume
Aether Arts Perfume: American Perfumer Interviews
What do you recall of your families fragrances as you grew up?
I remember the scent of my grandmother’s hand lotion: she always used Jergens and smelled of cherry/almond; that was the scent of my nana by day. If she were going out at night, she would wear Joy or in later years Elizabeth Arden’s Red Door. My mother loved musk scents and wore Jovan Musk and Alyssa Ashley Musk. These became my favorite scents as a young girl along with Love’s Lemon. To this day I am still a huge fan of musk perfumes. I created Nude Moderne as an homage to that love and because I couldn’t find just the right musk that I wanted.
Where is your dream vacation spot?
Most of my vacation time is taken up by attending Burning Man which I love! While it’s not exactly what most people would consider a dream vacation, I always come away feeling renewed with hope for humanity. The environment is extreme and it’s a lot of work and effort to attend but the people, art, and music are extraordinary. Each year the Burning Man event has a particular art theme that inspires the participants to create something to contribute to this experimental community. These art themes I then use as a perfumer’s brief and it always stretches my imagination and creativity.
I have a whole collection of Burning Man-inspired perfumes based on each year’s art theme. These perfumes always debut at Burning Man and the first batch is given away at the event (Burning Man is a non-commoditized event, you can’t buy stuff there). I also love to set up The Olfactorium (my traveling scent organ) and create custom perfumes for my fellow “Burners” on-site in the desert. Creating a custom scent for someone is such a rewarding and intimate way to get to know another person, I love being able to share that.
How do you like to start your day?
Hot, black tea with honey and milk – as long as I have my morning tea I’m up for just about anything! I love to mix my own blend of tea with about seven different types of teas for a beautiful scent and complex flavor.
Tell us about your life, family, business or career before perfume?
I’ve always been creative and curious and had a number of interests that I followed. I studied Psychology and Art as an undergrad and then decided I wanted to pursue costume design and earned a dual MFA in that field. Also I worked as a costume designer for about ten years, which I really loved. I find designing and making things with your hands incredibly satisfying and still employ all the skills I learned to create my costumes for Burning Man. Eventually I became disillusioned with the constant stressful environment and decided to do something else for a while, which leads directly to your next question…
How did you find yourself in perfumery?
Having taken a break from costume design, working in a more traditional office environment for a number of years, I found my creativity getting itchy and cast about for another way to combine creativity and gainful employment. In 2009, quite by chance (or was it?), I happened upon an article in a local newspaper about an artisan perfumer named Dawn Spencer Hurwitz. I had never heard of individuals creating perfumes like you would other kinds of art so I was fascinated. When I further realized we lived in the same town, I rode my bike over to her studio to sniff around. (We were only a few miles from each other… coincidence?) I loved what I was smelling and when I found out that she offered work-to-learn internships, I immediately signed up.
Two back-to-back internships were followed by being hired on at her studio, which led to an on-going, self-directed apprenticeship that is still thriving to this day. I was incredibly fortunate to be in just the right place at just the right time to find a new creative outlet. It will be ten years this coming October that I fell down a perfume rabbit hole that just keeps getting curiouser and curiouser.
What is your favorite perfume note and why?
I can’t chose just one note but I do find that I’m attracted to certain types of notes. Any notes that smell like dirt and minerals: geosmin, mitti, vetiver, oakmoss are winners. I love green notes like galbanum, grass and tomato. Citrus notes of all sorts are so beautiful and happy. I love all the animalic notes, musks in particular. Also I love metallic notes, salty notes and anything that smells totally alien and unfamiliar. But most especially, I love true ozone and marine smells—not the fantasy versions that are floral and soapy—but the real air and water notes like calone and seaweed absolute.
How did you decide on your companies name, what is its relevance?
The name Aether Arts Perfume came to me in a dream! As soon as I heard it, I knew it was perfect since it really sums up my fascination with ozone/marine style scents and my belief that all perfumers are artists painting the air with smells.
What was the last novel or biography you read (current if appropriate)?
Right now I’m reading Circe by Madeline Miller which was recommended to me. I’m really enjoying the reimagined telling of this classical myth from Circe’s point of view.
Hypothetically: If you had to pick a Signature Perfume that you didn’t create, what
I’m not really a signature scent sort of person; that feels way too constraining for me. But if I had to, I could see myself being very happy with Coty’s original formula Chypre. It has a lot of my favorite notes in it and is a masterpiece.
Who are your fragrant heroes?
Certainly all the old master perfumers like Jacques Guerlain, and Francois Coty but I am also drawn to the perfumes of Jean-Claude Ellena whose work is very spare, elegant and modern. I also can’t leave out Dawn Spencer Hurwitz, my teacher, colleague, and friend who has helped me grow into the perfumer I am today.
Thanks Amber for letting us see a little into your head and heart.
You can buy Aether Arts Perfume at American Perfumer
Saffron by Aether Arts Perfume
Saffron Notes: Pink peppercorn, turmeric, saffron, peach accord, cananga, jasmine absolute, vanilla, hazelnut, vintage amber accord, tobacco and suede accord, and more saffron
I think I was expecting a very Indian Spice shop scent. Saffron is infinitely more subtle and cosmopolitan than that. A modern suede with foody references, yet it never feels like it crosses the line into a full out gourmand. Amber, tobacco and jasmine keep Saffron from falling into a nougat. Very clever stuff, you should have a sniff.
Incense Indica by Aether Arts Perfume
Incense Indica Notes: Cannabis, opoponax, sambac jasmine, Moroccan myrrh, fossilized amber, choya loban, atlas cedar
Exactly the dense, heavy, dark and resinous magical being that I think of when Indie Perfumery is mentioned. Incense Indica is heavily resin based, hints at the possum piss facets of hash, and has a warm funky sweetness that is both comforting and engulfing. My only complaint is that I don’t have a BIG bottle and then be able to spritz myself lavishly.
Portia also writes for Australian Perfume Junkies