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NEW ALCHEMISTS: Perfumers Quentin Bisch, Francis Kurkjian, Paolo Terenzi and Ben Gorham about the Fragrances of the Future

NEW ALCHEMISTS: Perfumers Quentin Bisch, Francis Kurkjian, Paolo Terenzi and Ben Gorham about the Fragrances of the Future
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Quentin Bisch / Francis Kurkjian / Paolo Terenzi / Ben Gorham


The art of perfumery cannot be seen with the eyes, but it is much easier to awaken the senses with a fragrance than with the help of pictures or music.

However, there is a connection between dance, fragrance and music. French perfumer Francis Kurkdjian says the following about this: “A dancer needs space, music sounds thanks to the vibration of the air, perfume needs both. Moreover, perfume, like music and dance, is associated with body language. These three types of art are surprisingly intertwined with each other”.

Famous masters speak about the special art of perfumery and the smells of the future – people who create in their laboratories unique aromas that amaze the imagination and reveal new facets of our consciousness.


Quentin Bisch

Portfolio: Ex Nihilo Fleur Narcotique, Penhaligon’s Terrible Teddy, Delina Parfums de Marly


“The 2020s will smell of responsibility, we will use more and more ethical ingredients to protect the environment”, says French perfumer Quentin Bisch”. Companies will develop new approaches to environmental awareness and wise use of resources, which will spur creativity”.

The perfumer does not lack creativity. He conceived of becoming a professional while still in school. One day Quentin asked his French teacher what her perfume was called. The teacher was angered by the question, and the student remained unanswered. Later, he felt a familiar scent on someone else, and followed its wearer for a long time, not daring to ask the name. It was Opium.

When he became a professional perfumer, he once said: “I was lucky, I was born in the fog of Shalimar”. It turns out that the legendary perfume, first released in 1925, was taken by Quentin’s mother to the delivery room.

Today, Quentin Bisch believes that the time for gender freedom has come in the world and in perfumery. Floral and fruity, pink and sweet fragrances no longer belong to women alone. At the same time, chypre, woody, fougere or tobacco aromas are not necessarily masculine.

“The perfumes of the future will allow everyone to form their own olfactory aura. After all, it’s all about the magic of self-expression. Everyone will have the freedom to create fragrances”, Bisch is sure.


Francis Kurkdjian

Portfolio: Narciso Rodriguez For Her, Rose Barbare Guerlain, Iris Nobile Acqua di Parma


He wanted to be a dancer, but the world was lucky that he didn’t. Otherwise, many brands would not have acquired the truly legendary perfume of the French perfumer of Armenian origin Francis Kurkdjian.

“For me, the beginning is an emotion, a feeling or a story. For each perfume, I create notes with drawings, a description of its structure, something like a storyboard, – says the perfumer about his work. – Then I make decisions about what notes will be included in the composition. For example, I was inspired to create Cologne pour le Matin in the first paragraph of Françoise Sagan’s novel Hello, Sadness! It describes the awakening of the heroine, as a ray of the sun slides over her face”.

At the age of 15, he entered l’Ecole Internationale de Parfumerie to learn perfumery. Since then, she has also created personal perfumes for celebrities. To do this, Kurkdjian asks to share memories, learns the character of a person, works as a psychologist, selects notes, makes trial versions of perfume until he reaches the hit point. This can last from a month to two years.

The perfumer also creates his fragrances with the help of artificial intelligence. About the spirits of the future, he says: “The existence of certain molecules endows the perfumer with real creative freedom. By combining synthetic and natural ingredients, I can create, embodying my vision in fragrances”.

Kurkdjian created 80 unique fragrances that are on the shelves of famous fashion houses, and another 50 are personal. Sometimes he fools around and offers the world something exceptional – for example, soap bubbles for children with a scent of perfume. His dream is a windmill in the center of Paris that would spray wonderful scents throughout the city.

Paolo Terenzi

Portfolio: Kirke Tiziana Terenzi, V Canto Ricina, Maori Collection Life Pleasure


Italian perfumer Paolo Terenzi creates his masterpieces in honor of his sister Tiziana. They were born into a family of hereditary candle masters and spent their entire childhood among aromas. “Perfume is a hidden tattoo of your personality”, Paolo Terenzi likes to repeat.

Behind each of his works there is a legend, a family history, Italian passions – all this is placed in a unique hand-blown bottle. The bottles of Tiziana Terenzi are made on a special scale – here and gilding, and wood, and natural leather, and semi-precious stones.

For his perfumes, the perfumer chooses rare natural ingredients, and then nature assists him, and together they paint a picture of the fragrance. The perfumer and his sister keep the recipes of the perfume in the strictest confidence, but from year to year the aroma of the perfumes is different. The reason for this is too hot or humid summer, rains or other weather conditions that affect the smell and juiciness of herbs and flowers. Some collectors even hunt for the same Tiziana Terenzi fragrances over the years.

“Perfumery is like music, you can’t play without notes B and C. An ideal composition needs a basic note, a platform, something strong that can support the whole structure, says Paolo Terenzi”. Perfume is the most powerful emotional guide, and we must follow it as we follow the call of our heart”.

The perfumes of the future, according to the Italian perfumer, will be a personal story, without division by gender, which he considers exclusively a commercial course of companies. Paolo still offers fragrances that are difficult to classify as masculine or feminine.

“Those few who have character and indomitable willpower to wear one of our perfumes, man or woman, have one thing in common: they are extraordinary people”, Terenzi said.


Ben Gorham

Portfolio: Bal d’Afrique by Byredo, La Tulipe by Byredo, Rose of No Man’s Land by Byredo


“I’ve always admired the scent’s ability to take us back to long-forgotten places, to long-forgotten faces and events”, says Ben Gorham, the son of an Indian actress and artist from Canada, formerly a professional basketball player, now a perfumer and creative director of the niche perfume brand Byredo. …

He really creates fragrances-memories, sealing them in laconic bottles with no frills. For example, he recalled how his father smelled in his childhood: childhood grievances, chypre cologne, weathered skin, Paris of the 70s.

This is how the aroma Green was born, which combines citrus seeds, honeysuckle, almonds, sage. Chembur, dedicated to the Indian mother, smells of spices and herbs, incense and musk with bergamot. Ben Gorham simply captures his memories with the help of fragrances in order to return to them again.

For his wife, who does not like to use perfume and is absolutely indifferent to fragrances, Ben Gorham also made a gift – Byredo Blanche. The scent resembles the smell of clean linen, the smell of snow in the mountains, for some, clean skin smells like that.

“I don’t use the fragrance myself, says the perfumer. – More precisely, since I have been “in business”, I simply do not know how to perceive them the way other people do. For me, these are works, paintings. I wear intermediate versions of fragrances, wear them and think what can be improved”.

The spirits of the future will also aim to reproduce the best emotions of the past, Ben Gorham is sure. The popularity of Byredo fragrances only confirms this statement.

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