Last month, master perfumer Olivier Cresp was in town to share the latest releases for his line of Akro fragrances at Amaris Paragon. Located on the third floor of the luxury shopping mall, Amaris Paragon is the mecca for niche fragrances and body care. Started in 2018, Akro Fragrances, was conceptualised by father-daughter duo Olivier and Anais Cresp, based on exploring human addictions such as passion (Night), tattoos (Ink), tobacco (Smoke), alcohol (Malt), chocolate (Dark), cannabis (Haze), holidays (Rise), caffeine (Awake) and cupcakes (Bake).
Since achieving the title of master perfumer in 2006, Olivier has had hundreds of notable and distinguished perfumes under his belt, which include Midnight Poison, Estée Lauder Modern Muse, Penhaligon’s Peoneve and Juniper Sling, the legendary Thierry Mugler Angel and Paco Rabanne XS. In addition, he is one of the quartet of perfumers behind YSL Black Opium – one of the biggest launches for autumn 2014. In 2012, the French Ministry of Culture honoured him with the title 'Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres'. And in 2018, he was announced as the Fragrance Foundation’s 2018 Lifetime Achievement Perfumer Award recipient.
So what does it take for a master perfumer to develop distinctive and classic scents? Yahoo Life Shopping delves into his thoughts, from ideation to getting his perfumes on the shelves. We also asked him to share how he stays on top of his game, wearing scents in our humid weather and his proudest Akro Fragrance creation to date.
Yahoo Life Singapore: How did Akro Fragrances come about, and could you share the story behind the range of Akro Fragrances?
Olivier Cresp: Akro is a unique brand based on addictions and day-to-day pleasures. When Anais, my daughter, moved to London in 2018, she discovered a new life with beautiful experiences. She shared with me all her exciting moments, and we decided to work on this powerful concept of addiction.
Where does your inspiration for a new scent usually come from?
From everywhere. My style is figurative and not abstract. So when you smell my fragrances, you immediately see what it is, and they will transport you instantly to a fond memory of yours.
How long does it typically take to create a scent, and what's the process from ideation to seeing a product on the shelves?
Firstly, I have to "find" THE idea, which can take up to 2 years to complete. For example, if I want to create a solar fragrance, I will imagine someone walking along the beach. I will use seaweed to reproduce the salty facet of the sea and imagine palm trees surrounding me. Also, I will work on coconut water, and because it's hot weather or a vacation, I will use some juicy pina colada drink and add frangipani flowers. Everybody will say: "It smells like a vacation!''. This was the story for the creation of RISE, the new Akro fragrance that will hopefully be launched in Singapore later this year.
You were awarded Master Perfumer in 2006 and Perfumer of the Year in 2007. What does it take to become a Master perfumer?
At Firmenich, to get the title of a master perfumer, you need to be very loyal inside the company and outside with clients, as a role example for everybody. I had to create blockbusters, such as Angel by Thierry Mugler, Light Blue by D&G, Black Opium by YSL, Mon Paris by YSL and many others. Lastly, you have to be able to train people from the company and inspire them by being a leader for them.
Check out Master perfumer Olivier Cresp's signature scent creations:
Estée Lauder Modern Muse
Penhaligon's Juniper Sling Eau De Toilette
Thierry Mugler Angel Eau De Toilette Spray
YSL Black Opium Eau de Parfum
YSL Mon Paris Eau De Parfum
Is there anything special you do to ensure your senses are always sharpened?
My nose, eyes, and brain are always aware of my surroundings. I like to travel to get inspiration and find new ideas. I want to be close to nature, forest, and sea, and I am a huge foodie, so my perfumes are entirely orientated towards gourmand scents. I am naturally a curious person, and my curiosity is very sharp.
How do you stay on top of the perfume game all these years, especially with the proliferation of fragrances in the beauty industry?
I am a passionate person and have a lot of experience. But I have to be different to stay on top of the game. I am the only one in the world with a symbolic approach to perfume creation. Being different is the key to success. Too many fragrances are too similar. With Akro, I wanted to create a new trend and fragrances with my unique style.
What do you think of perfume layering? Is it really necessary?
It is a trend, and I observed that many influencers on Instagram are pushing to layer fragrances. However, it is unnecessary because for Akro, each fragrance I create has many personalities, and every scent is a pure creation; if you mix them, you will lose my style and my signature. But, if consumers want to wear their own Akro creations or create something different, they could mix the strength of Smoke and the freshness of Haze.
Are there differences when Akro scents are applied in our notoriously humid weather? Any tips on fragrance application for our local climate?
Singaporeans appreciate Akro a lot because my fragrances are powerful and diffusive. I build my fragrances to give them strength, diffusion and projection, especially in hot and humid weather. Smoke, Ink and Awake are the perfect answers to hot, humid climates. The best way to apply is to spray my fragrances on your skin and hair, not your clothes.
Which is your favourite fragrance from Akro Fragrance? Why?
The Akro Bake! Our novelty fragrance. What I love about Bake is that it's a crazy creation. Imagine a cupcake in a bottle! I built the formula so that the scent is not sticky and stays very fluffy with whipped cream, fresh and lemony. Very sugary, thanks to the vanilla and brown sugar. You are going to love it! It is an experience: Be ready to get compliments from those who smell it when you wear it.
Awake and the other Akro fragrances are available at Amaris Paragon #03-10/11, Amaris VivoCity #01-02, Amaris Jewel #01-257 and https://amarisbeauty.com/. Prices are S$240 for 100ml and S$48 for the Discovery kit.