1. Over the years you had the opportunity to work with many famous brands and designers, like Yves Saint Laurent, Davidoff, Joop, Jil Sander, Escada, Lacoste, Salvatore Ferragamo, and many more. What makes the difference of these creations to your very own Pierre Bourdon perfume line?
There is not much of a difference; however, the major difference is that during the creative process I was the sole decider. When a perfume gets created for big companies there is always a marketing team involved. This hinders the development as they are always requesting modifications, which in the long run dilute the character and originality of the proposed idea. My Pierre Bourdon perfume line is free of such interference; therefore I can truly express my personal interpretation without any constraints. So this fragrance line is the most authentic of all Pierre Bourdon fragrances.
2. Your father Rene Bourdon was managing director at Christian Dior. Did this trigger an early fascination for the world of perfumery? Or did the career aspiration occur to you later?
In younger years I was always aware of the work of a perfumer, but I never considered becoming one - just out of rebellion against my father. So I studied Politics and Economics. But when I was 25 years old I had the chance to meet Edmond Roudnitska, who was to become my mentor and who taught me that perfumery is an art. As I always wanted to be an artist (especially in younger years, when I wanted to become a writer), the world of perfumery suddenly appealed to me and I joined the Roure Perfumery School in Grasse. Thanks to Roudnitska I discovered that I could express myself through the medium of perfumery, although it would take many years before I could claim to be a true perfumer.
3. What do you love about the profession of a perfumer? How can we imagine the life of a perfumer?
As a perfumer you have the chance to be very creative and that’s what I always liked about my profession. It can be very frustrating as well, but when you feel that you have managed to re-create on skin the same “scent“, which has been “playing “ in your mind for weeks, it is very gratifying to say the least.
4. When you initiate a new creation, what inspires you most? Where do your inspirations come from?
My inspiration mostly comes from nature. I always tried to copy nature, but even more, I tried to perfect it. For instance, if I take a green note and it has some negative aspects, I have the possibility to correct it as a perfumer, just as a figurative painter can embellish a flower on his canvas. This way I could create a new natural scent, which could sometimes make me feel almost godlike!
5. What makes a good perfume in your opinion?
First of all it should be a statement. It should express something - to you and to others. The statement of the perfume should be clear and very easy to understand. It should in many ways reflect one’s personality. Second, of course, it should be recognisable, because a perfume has two main functions: to please the wearer and to be recognised; that’s its purpose. So it’s important, that it has a strong and long lasting impact on the person who wears it and those that surround him.
6. Are you wearing fragrances yourself? Would you reveal your personal perfume or your favourite perfume to us?
When I was active as a perfumer I didn’t wear any perfumes, because the risk of interference with my work was too high. Now as I’m retired and I am only working for my personal interest I have more time to wear and enjoy my perfumes. My actual favourite is Pierre Bourdon Route des Epices, as spices have always been an integral part of my perfumer’s “palette”, but in the summer I enjoy the freshness and elegance of Le Grand Tour, which always conveys to me the wonders and scents of Italy.