The universe of auteur fragrances grows every day, and seduce an audience that appreciates the uniqueness of these perfumes and specially, quality. In Horse Magazine we spoke with the founder of the world’s largest perfumery of this style and with one of the creators of these unique scents.
The Polish Piotr Rybaczek is the owner and founder of La Basílica Galería, the world’s largest auteur perfumery, located in Barcelona. To emphasize the attributes of the aromas that he sells, where the use of natural materials is a priority “and not the packaging or the advertising”, Rybaczek asks himself:
“How many commercial perfume bottles
are produced per year? Millions!” He says,
“And there are no flowers for all of them”
La Basílica Galería gathers today more than 110 fragrances firms, named the best auteur perfumery in 2016 by Beauty Proof. There, extravagant scents that evoke smells like old books or blood are offered; Innovative perfumes from author firms such as: Abel, Agonist, Amor Vero, Amouage, Arquiste, Blood Concept, Brecourt, Caron, CB I Hate Perfume, Diane Pernet, Goti, Hiran Green, Jovoy, La Parfumerie Moderne, Meo Fusciuni…
We interviewed perfumer James Heeley
The English perfumer James Heeley is one of them: the maker of sixteen fragrances, including “Mint”, “Sel Marin” (sea salt) or “Cardinal” (which reproduces the smell of incense). Heeley now presents his latest work in Barcelona, “Eau Sacrée” (Holy Water) and Horse Magazine talks with him:
Horse Magazine: Mint, sea salt, incense… Where arise the ideas to create a new perfume?
James Heeley: When I recreate an essence I seek generally to reproduce magical moments. Making a perfume does not involve just mixing ingredients, you have to get a fragrance that is elegant through those ingredients. In the case of Mint, the perfume does not only have mint, because it would be too strong, there is also bergamot, which brings freshness, and cedar for texture.
M.H: What is the ingredient used in the industry of commercial perfume?
J.H: I would say floral fragrances are the most numerous, but I must say that many of them include much musk, that originally was an animal extract and is now synthetic. Some of these perfumes get good results, others not so much. I try to use natural ingredients, although they are more complex and more difficult to control.
“What matters is to know how to separate
the ingredients of a composition in
your head. So then you can combine
them as you want”
M.H: What inspires you when preparing your fragrances?
J.H: Ingredients, music, travel, coincidences… tea is spilled on a wooden table and the smell it gives off is great!
M.H: You especially take care of your nose?
J.H: No, it does not matter. It is about understanding how to mix the ingredients to get certain fragrances, to separate the compositions in your head. What brings the rose, the bergamot… You have to train the sense of smell to know how to combine. You cannot say, “I smell better than you”.
M.H: For your perfumes, you control the entire production process: from the conception to the design of the package.
J.H: Making perfumes for me is as an intersection of different forms of creativity. From art, fashion, images. A fragrance is evocative of images and memories.
M.H: Before being a perfumer, you were into the design. Do you think that today we value the packaging, the appearance of the products too much?
J.H: I think perfumes are like everything in life. If you find a boy or a girl, it is more important the personality, not just the appearance. Personality is what you smell and beauty is the packaging in a certain way. Both are important.
“Creating perfume for me is like an
intersection of different forms of creativity.
From art, fashion, images”
M.H: How would you describe the situation of the perfume industry nowadays?
J.H: I think there are many more options to choose from, and then there is more access to good products and others that are not very good. I guess we are now better educated and we know how better distinguish what is quality, but there is still much confusion about it.
M.H: How do we know if a perfume is good or bad?
J.H: I think it is easy to find out if we use our instinct. For me it is more to experience that to understand and it is a good thing to have an open mind. It also happens that our taste changes according to our mood and as time goes by. You do not like the same things as when you were a kid.
Concept store: the perfume, one jewel more
La Basílica Galería emerged a decade ago, as an establishment of contemporary jewelry in the Gothic Quarter of the Condal city. And now, ten years later, it opens a new location at the Paseo de Gracia in Bacelona, turned into a curious concept store: a warm and welcoming space that brings together hundreds of jewelry and auteur fragrances.
“Perfumes are invisible jewels,”
says Rybaczekwho since 2007
seeks to reflect a bucolic universe
through the pieces he finds in his
adventures in different countries.
In the result it is special: in addition to classic pieces both in perfume and jewelry, in the most eccentric versions there are necklaces made of grapes, semen or burning leaves fragrances, human hair rings… “They are original products, unique pieces that get to move and that have always a story behind it”, says the founder of La Basílica.
There are 300 square meters in an innovative and refreshing proposal, which knows how to combine the modernity of its pieces with the old and nostalgic environment of the place. From Horse Magazine, we wish them happy anniversary: for many more years.
They say that, when you look for something authentic and original, if it isn’t in La Basílica Galería, you can’t find it anywhere.
Translated by: Raquel Sanchez