Category Archives: Interview

Meet Matthew Waldman

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When I was on my way to meet with Matt, I was nervous. I was about to interview the cat behind nooka. Dude oozes cool, is featured on all the “cool” blogs and here I was about to sit and chat with the cat. Well, an ease came over me when he greeted me in a regular ole white t-shirt and jeans. His office was filled with so many toys. I just wanted to reach out and grab a few. While we chatted, I sat on a swiss ball. I’ll admit now, my lower back started to hurt after awhile but I couldn’t let on.

Matt is passionate about design. He’s smart, funny but he really is a cool. He’s a big communicator as well. But it’s his non-verbal communication that speaks volumes. It reinforces his philosophy seamlessly.

It was refreshing to watch his matrix unfold as we kicked it. I could have spoken with him for at least another hour but the time we shared was well spent. Here is a snippet from our conversation.
While Nooka is known for its watches, what made you venture info fragrance?
Up until the fragrance, nooka was perceived as a watch company, which is understandable, since that’s the easiest way to describe the first product line. But to me and people who understand the brand, nooka has always been about universal language, communication and futurism. I wanted to create something that expressed my ideals, and fragrance really struck a cord – sure you can read the romance copy about a scent, but at the end of the day, it communicates to the user and environment without words – perfectly “nooka“.

Explain your belief that scent is the universal language of the future?
Well, it is a universal language at least on our planet for all living things large and small and will certainly be so in the future. I feel that with convergence, we will need fewer and fewer physical objects [for example, the iPhone eliminated the need for me to carry a laptop and a mp3 player]. This doesn’t mean humans will have a lessening desire to acquire new things. I see a focus on fashion and fragrance returning in a big way because of these trends.

Some brands either categorize their scents for men, women or label them unisex. Who is The Future Distilled catered to?
Well, I hate the word “unisex.” There is no “unisex” with people. We are not worms. We are men, or we are women. It is not my job to tell anyone I haven’t met what they should experience as “masculine” or “feminine.” therefore, it is for men if you are male, and it is for women if you are female.

Give us a little insight into the bottles design.
Glam-future! Man-made satellites, giant gemstones, chrome coated surfaces, shiny shimmering mystery!

What fragrances are you personally wearing these days?
nooka all the time now. I really love it. Sometimes Prada Infusion d’Iris

How often do you go out looking for something new? What specifically do you look for?
To me, something new is not limited to shopping. For example, I noticed recently that I rely too much on my right leg when bicycling, so as of yesterday I decided to make an effort to push off with and leave my left foot in the stirrup. It’s a body memory action, so very hard to change, but challenging myself to change small things somehow makes my mind sharper and has a halo-effect on other things. Does that make any sense?

Have you ever purchased the same fragrance more than once? If so, what was it and what about it made it worthy of a repeat buy?
Oh yes: eau de correges! It reminds me of being at summer beaches AND cut grass in a park all blended together.

How would you finish this statement? “My most memorable fragrant moment would be…?
The first things that come to mind are too dirty to print, but consistently, I love the way the city smells when I’m riding my bicycle in the rain.

What’s next for nooka?
We are adding to our accessory lines, just launched a cool belt called the nooka strip and a wallet called the nooka asset organizer, and more to come next year. I’m building what I like to call a mindstyle™ brand!

We are not worms…I couldn’t have said it any better Matt. Thanks for the time and the great scent.

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Meet Harry Slatkin

Harry Slatkin presented The Living Legend Award by Allure Magazine Editor-in-Chief Linda Wells

Harry Slatkin presented Living Legend Award by Allure Magazine Editor-in-Chief Linda Wells (c) 2009 Photo Baude

Harry Slatkin is a name I’ve come to associate with affordable home fragrance options that make my home smell delightful. I know when I walk into Bath & Body Works, the money I hand over for the products with his name on it won’t let me down. Apparently I’m not alone in recognizing his special gift. The past Thursday, the American Society of Perfumers honored Mr. Slatkin with the coveted Living Legend Award. This prestigious award honors a person “who has distinguished him or herself over the years with their body of creative work, their contribution to the fragrance industry and also their contribution to society.” Past honorees include Oscar de la Renta, Gianni Versace, Oleg Cassini, Karyn Khoury and Estee Lauder.

That last part however, “their contribution to society” is another side of Mr. Slatkin I recently came to know as I was invited to join him, his wife Laura and his son and daughter as they rang the closing bell of the NASDAQ in honor of Autism month. Mr. Slatkin’s son, David, suffers from Autism.  Shortly after David was diagnosed, The Slatkin’s joined forces with Suzanne and Bob Wright as founding board members of Autism Speaks. Additionally, they have focused their efforts locally by founding the first public charter school dedicated to serving children with autism which opened in 2005, the New York Center for Autism (NYCA) Charter School. In the fall of 2008, NYCA opened the doors of the Autism Training Institute at Hunter College, a collaboration that aims to increase the number of qualified educators available to work in the New York City Public Schools.

That is quite a contribution to this growing epidemic that is diagnosed in one in 150 children in the United States, affecting four times as many boys as girls.

I was given another opportunity to get to know a more intimate side of Mr. Slatkin and am honored to share it here:

What’s your earliest recollection of fragrance?
It has to do with what my parents wore when I was a child. My mother used Joy and Norell – Joy for special evenings and Norell for every day. Those fragrances are so unique to that moment in time that every so often when I’m in crowded elevator and I get a whiff of them I want to ask who is wearing Joy or Norell but I fear they might think I am a pervert! My father used Canoe and eau Sauvage. He died when I was 13 and I continued wearing it until my dear perfumer friend Christophe Laudemiel created a scent for me. And like the way I am with my familiar parental scents, my 9-year-old daughter loves to go into my closet when I am traveling and smell my suits. It’s like a big hug!

Since you initially went the finance route, working for Bear Stearns, how did your love for fragrance play itself out up until you decided to make the switch? Did you collect cologne, candles, etc?
When I was very young I was in charge of setting up all the home fragrances for my mother. She used Rigaud candles and floris lamp rings – I remember the rings the most as I would put several drops of oils on the rings and the heat from the lamps would make the scent rise. We varied the scents and my mother let me decide what scents to use throughout the house. It’s funny that I now have a home fragrance oil business today because we are the #1 dominant player in that area. As the years passed I used home fragrance and tried many different scents from shopping and my travels – I tend to change my personal scent less than my home scents – I like decoration and to me scent is about decorating your home.

Do you remember what you were doing when you had the epiphany that you were going to make a career shift to the fragrance industry?
Well, it first started out with a friend on Wall Street asking me to meet his fiancé, Vera Wang. At the end of our dinner she said Wall Street is great for her fiancé, but for me, I had too much creativity. She was right. That led me to do some soul searching, as I was a director at Bear Stearns and I was leaving to start my own business from nothing – but the biggest rewards are the biggest chances you take. Home fragrance was an accident that my wife and I were dabbling in when Rose Marie Bravo came to see us and launched us in Saks not on the home floor but in a large shop in Couture. Then WWD wrote a big article on us and then Ralph Lauren, Martha Stewart and Banana Republic all came to me to do their home fragrances and the rest is now home history!

Are there any scent families that are dearest to your heart?
I am asked this often and I have mood changes but I always seem to go back to the Orientals. I love that mood year round but I will always layer it depending on the season. This time of year I’ll mix it with fruits or something clean or fresh for summer, floral for fall and then holiday scents. I like to change often and I have about 14 different scents in my New York home mixing at all times.

Do you have a personal signature candle scent? If so, what is it?
I have two scents that I think have become iconic to Slatkin & Co – my bamboo and Jasmine and my holiday scents. No matter how many we make of either of these products, they sell out quickly and have for years. If they aren’t in stock, I get tough emails and letters demanding them!

Are there any plans for a Harry Slatkin personal fragrance collection?
Not yet, although, the success we’ve experienced on QVC has made people ask for other products. So it could happen in the future.

With all the success you’ve achieved, what does the Living Legend Award from the American Society of Perfumers mean?
As I was sitting and listening to my dear friend Linda Wells’s and all the kind words she had to say about me, it was her remarks about the difference I have made in the industry and that the name Slatkin will go down in history for home fragrance that made me very proud. I have made a mark and I did change the industry into a behemoth. People will never live without home scent and I am glad that I have made so many people happy who use my products. And thank God it’s a Living Legend award and not something in memoriam!

How would you finish this statement? “My most memorable fragrant moment would be…?
It’s funny but I have two distinct favorite memorable scents. Every time I kiss or hug my son and daughter I smell them. They have a unique scent that I would never share with anyone. That is my most precious olfactive enjoyment and wherever I am in the world I can smell them and it makes me smile. Some scents are not meant to share.

Thanks for sharing Mr. Slatkin. By the way, that Bamboo candle of yours is one of my favorite as well…

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Meet Stan Williams

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The year was 2006 and Stan Williams and I had lunch at the Bryant Park Hotel’s, Koi restaurant. At the time, he was the Fashion Director of Maxim magazine. I was a relatively young publicist clamoring for his time. As we were finishing up our chat, I blurted out, “you smell great, what are you wearing?” Stan replied, “Vetiver by Guerlain.” I remember being struck by how incredibly clean and masculine it smelt. I ran out the next day and bought my first bottle of this potion.

All of this rushed back into my head as the days led up to the party for his soon to be released book, The Find, held at Ports 1961’s Meatpacking boutique. Upon greeting him at the party, I reminded him of that day and told him I just had to interview him. He smiled and said “of course, I’ll be glad to.”

What’s your earliest recollection of fragrance?
My earliest recollections of fragrances were all those drug store brands that my dad used to wear: English Leather, Mennen, and all those Avon car-shaped-bottle aftershaves (in the Deep Woods fragrance) that he kept on his dresser. I also remember watching all the Hai Karate ads on TV and wanting a bottle of Jovan Sex Appeal when I was 11 or 12. I think I got it for Christmas as a joke.

What fragrances are currently in your rotation?
Mandarina Duck for Men, Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche, Aramis (really have a new-found love of it), Eau d’Hermes and L’Artisan Parfumeur’s Eau d’Absinthe.

How often do you go out looking for something new? What specifically do you look for?
I never go looking, but I always stop and try things. I don’t really have a profile. I like old-fashioned smelling fragrances, but I also like bright ones. It just depends on how I feel. However, I can never go wrong with the YSL Rive Gauche……

Have you ever purchased the same fragrance more than once? If so, what was it and what about it made it worthy of a repeat buy?
Yes…L’Artisan Parfeur, Hermes, and YSL Rive Gauche. I just love them, and I feel like they fit my personality.

How would you finish this statement. “My most memorable fragrant moment would be…?
When I was obsessed with Ralph Lauren Polo in high school and my best friend’s step mom somehow nabbed the gigantic display bottle for me. I was in heaven!

What is your book all about and might there be applicable tips for fragrance shopping?
The Find: The Housing Works Book of Decorating With Thrift Shop Treasures, Flea Market Objects, and Vintage Details is a book that takes people on a personal journey in learning how to find beauty in other people’s cast-offs. It’s filled with 500 original photographs of work by many of today’s tastemakers — GQ’s Jim Moore, Barneys New York’s Simon Doonan, decoupage artist John Derian, Real Simple’s Kristin Van Ogtrop, This Old House’s Alex Bandon — just to name a few — and hopefully empowers people to feel comfortable decorating their own environments with vintage and thrift.

When shopping for vintage and thrift, there’s also one thing that rings true for purchasing fragrances: only buy what you love. I say that when thrifting, don’t be over-obsessed with pedigree or brand. If you love it, it is good quality, and suits your purposes, then buy it. Same goes for fragrances. I think people sometimes buy a product because they are attracted to a brand name or a bottle. But bottom line, if the juice doesn’t work on you, then don’t wear it again. And try different options. Just like in thrift shopping, it may take a while to find what you’re looking for, you’ll eventually find the scent that suits you.

Thanks Stan. And for those who have no idea of the comedy associated with Hai Karate, enjoy:

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Meet Seth Plattner

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I recently met Seth through a mutual friend who revealed he is a fragrance enthusiast. We met for a chat and I was immediately drawn to his energy. While he’s extremely busy (it took a minute to pin him down), once we met there was a gentle calmness to him that led me to ask him if he was a New Yorker. I wasn’t surprised when he said he wasn’t. He was even kind enough to introduce me to twittterberry.

I love this part of the fragrant conversation I’m conducting. It’s proof-positive we love our scents.

What’s your earliest recollection of fragrance?

It has to be my mother’s pefume, Clinique Elixir, which she has worn for as long as I can remember. To this day every time I smell her it reminds me of my childhood, but also it has come to be a smell I associate with power, because my mom was a single mother who raised me and my triplet brothers plus my older brother (you read that right) alone while also establishing herself as a successful business woman.

What fragrances are currently in your rotation?

During the colder months I wear Ralph Lauren Black (Polo Black) and in warmer months L’Homme by YSL

How often do you go out looking for something new? What specifically do you look for?

I would say rarely. I am pretty attached to my fragrances not only because I like them but also because I think it is important for a man to have a specific scent that. Scent is a very powerful motivator for emotions, whether it’s lust, love, pain, regret, etc.

Have you ever purchased the same fragrance more than once? If so, what was it and what about it made it worthy of a repeat buy?

I basically become attached to a scent for a number of years until I feel like I need a fragrance change that goes along with a change in my life — my scents are transitional with the transitions in my life. Like I said, I wore Abercrombie & Fitch, then Estee Lauder Pleasures and now Ralph Lauren Black and YSL L’Homme. All of them I have bought repeatedly. All of these scents have a similar sensibility — they aren’t over powering, or too musky or too spicey. They are a perfect balance of sweet and spice. That’s what I like.

How do you apply cologne?

I always do a spray on the front of my neck, back of my neck (for when people hug you) and then a spray below my belt because scent rises up and therefore hits the nose of whoever you are talking to (or so I’m told).

How would you finish this statement. “My most memorable fragrant moment would be…?

I guess it’s memorable only because it’s sad — I’d recently had my heart broken by a guy and I was walking down the street, caught a drift of the same cologne he wore and immediately started crying. It was sort of embarrassing but completely sincere. See what I mean about smell being a motivator of emotion?

Keep an eye on Seth. He writes great pieces for Out Magazines style blog, Stylist.

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Meet Johanna Laracuente

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Your eyes are not deceiving you. This chic young lady loves men’s fragrances and wears them quite regularly. Quick back-story-Johanna is a fashion stylist that I met when she came to the showroom of one of my clients. Our worlds didn’t really collide until one evening I was at an event that The Sound Of Art held at the Hotel on Rivington with Airwalk. I bumped into her and as we conversed, I remember being enveloped by a familiar scent. I proceeded to ask her what she was wearing and she couldn’t quite remember the name. She said, and I loved this, “it’s from that brand where the bottle doesn’t stand upright.” I immediately knew she was talking about Comme de Garcon. That sparked quite an interesting tale of her love for men’s fragrances. I was blown away. It takes a confident man or woman to get past all the “gender specific” marketing we’re fed by the fragrance industry and Johanna is proof-positive that what smells “manly” changes on a woman. I made no connection between what I smelt and her gender…all I processed was she smelt great and it intensified our conversation. Without further ado, Johanna Laracuente:

What’s your earliest recollection of fragrance?

I grew up in a small town in Puerto Rico. Everything around you had an aroma, a unique scent. The smell of the beach, mountains, and rain, mixed with my mothers cooking was memorable.

What fragrances are currently in your rotation?

Prada Amber, Cannabis Rose from Fresh and my fav Comme de Garcon 2

Tell me a bit about your preference for wearing men’s fragrances?

I used to have a roommate that would spray me with Comme de Garcon or Angel Men by Thierry Mugler on his way out. The way my body reacted was amazing. The smell was a lot warmer, so sexy, I loved it! After he realized how empty his bottle became, he opted to get me a bottle for my birthday and is been in my rotation ever since.

How often do you go out looking for something new? What specifically do you look for?

Not often. I choose scents that are unusual and definitely unexpected; hence, the Homme affair. The other night I went to my neighbors place and stole a bit of L’Artisan’s White Pepper (actual name, Poivre Piquant). It is sensual, light and yet masculine. Everyone loved it and lets just say it was a VERY successful evening. I bought it the next day; hopefully it will get a repeat performance!

Have you ever purchased the same fragrance more than once? If so, what was it and what about it made it worthy of a repeat buy?

I’m a creature of habit in certain things. When it works, it becomes a part of my personal scent. I have been wearing Comme de Garcon for 8 years; it’s always a repeat. The chemistry of it on a woman is totally different, and unique on each one.

If you had to give the guys reading this blog advice about fragrances, what would it be?

Wear it, experiment and don’t be afraid to try new things. Wait… or is this advice for something else?

How would you finish this statement? “My most memorable fragrant moment would be…?

Papi all dressed up for work. He had a massive collection of colognes. He loved to switch them up. Whenever I smell Cool Water or Drakkar Noir, I smile and become a little teary eyed too.

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Meet Mark Montano

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What can I say, Mark Montano is Mr Do It All. He’s had several shows which include While You Were Out, My Celebrity Home, She’s Moving In, and 10 Years Younger. He’s also written several books, Big-Ass Book Of Crafts, Dollar Store Decor, and Window Treatments and Slipcovers For Dummies to name a few. The day before his taping for the Martha Stewart show, we grabbed a cup of coffee and chatted about fragrances. Here’s an excerpt:

What’s your earliest recollection of fragrance?
My earliest recollection would probably be my mom’s Patchouli and my dad’s Old Spice. Those scents always make me think of home. I hated when my parents left for the day so those scents make me sad because I knew they were getting ready to leave for work.

What fragrances are currently in your rotation?
Creed Green Irish Tweed, Jasmal and my own concoction – mint oil and lemon oils.

Tell me a bit about your fascination with drug store fragrances? Are there any good ones?
Hmm…….are there any good ones? Good question. I don’t want to diss the entire drugstore fragrance counter because I grew up in a small town and that’s what we had…it was all we had! Well, I guess it depends on what you like. I like to mix them so I head to the counter and start messing around with two at a time. Not sure if I should give away my recipe but let’s just say a good splash of Jovan Musk Oil mixed with some pine fragrance is always a good mix for me. Not too much though!

When you’re in the mood to purchase something new, what do you look for?
I always buy a new fragrance when I have a major achievement in my life like landing a new TV show or publishing a book. It’s the only time I will go to Creed and buy the largest bottle of something amazing.

How would you finish this statement, “My most memorable fragrant moment would be…?
Probably trying on my dad’s Old Spice and feeling very grown up. I was probably 4 at the time and I’m sure I doused myself with it. Scent is such a large part of memory and sometimes when I’m at a drugstore I smell it just to think of my dad.

What’s next for you?
Well, my 5th and 6th books come out this year so I’ll be promoting the bejeezus out of them and I’m working on my own craft show which is very exciting. It’s a great time right now for me and I’m happy to be busy!

Thanks for sharing Mark.

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Meet Ouigi Q. Theodore

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I’ve known Ouigi (pronounced Wee-Gee) for quite sometime. Over the years, he’s grown and matured but the hustle has remained constant. A few years ago, he started The Brooklyn Circus, which started out as clothing store but has impressively evolved into a lifestyle brand. I heard through the grapevine he was producing and selling scented candles and was most intrigued. Surely if he was going in that direction, I wanted to talk to him. I recently caught up with him at the store and dead smack in the middle of our chat; I couldn’t resist and just had to ask what he was burning. It was one of the BKc’s candles, Joya. With ingredients of Blood Orange, Vanilla and Sweet Musk, it is a must have for the winter. All of the candles are soy based and are hand-poured in Brooklyn. Now onto the good stuff:

What’s your earliest recollection of fragrance in your life?
Man, it would have to be my uncle and my mom. My uncle would visit us and when he left, the house smelled like him. It was never offensive, but very manly. My mother wore Opium and I think of her whenever I smell it. May she rest in peace.

Can you remember your first fragrance purchase? If so, what was it?
Ha! This is going to be funny. I’d have to say Drakar Noir. That was quite popular when I was growing up. In this order, these fragrances were important in my life: Drakar Noir, Joop, Gucci Rush, Diesel in the red bottle, Issey Miyake, Lolita Limpeka, and Bond No. 9’s Wall Street. Of those, I would only revisit Wall Street as a scent from my past

What’s your favorite scent right now? What is it about it that has you hooked?
Hands down, it’s Paul Smith London. It’s actually discontinued, but I always look high and low to find it. My lady swears by it too. She says she thinks of me when anyone else is wearing it and hates that. She only wants me to smell like that.

How often to you buy cologne? What was the last one?
I buy cologne every few months. I buy my normal fragrance and test a few others to find another one to add to the rotation. The last one was a re-up of Paul Smith London.

What do you look for in a scent?
For it to last, be distinctive and not offensive. I also like a scent that compliments my character. It has to go with me and suit me.

Why did you feel it was important to add scented candles to the mix of what Brooklyn Circus offers? Is there a fragrance in the future?
Smell is a very important part of anyone’s experience. With that, as we look to round out The Brooklyn Circus experience, I felt it was our logical next step. It says so much about an encounter, a moment in time and we want to expose our customers to something we feel is unique. A BKc fragrance is a must in the future…why don’t you make some calls on our behalf?

How would you finish this statement…my most memorable fragrant moment would be…?
My most memorable fragrant moment has to be a holiday gift from my lady. She bought me PS London this past Christmas, when I thought I would never find it. I searched all over for it hoping to surprise her. But she ended up surprising me with a pretty large bottle at half the cost of my normal bottle.

Quite a gift indeed.

Meet Stephen Greco

Love or hate Facebook, it can be addicting and it does possess the power of connecting individuals….and so begins this story.

I’ve known Stephen for a good few years and have always admired his intellect, his clarity of thought and endearing charm. To my surprise one day while surfing Facebook, his status message mentioned he was reading Chandler Burr’s Emperor of Scent. Could he be a fragrance enthusiast? Surely he must be if he’s reading this book. Well, I just had to inquire and what transpired was an enlightening exchange about scents, masculinity and memories of discovery.

Stephen, tell me a bit about your relationship with fragrances? What’s your earliest recollection?
My mother wore Chanel No.5 pretty religiously when I was a boy, and I can remember her being enveloped in a cloud of it when, on an evening she and my father were going out, she would come to my room rustling in a beautiful dress, her hair and makeup Hollywood-glorious, to tuck me in and kiss me good-night.

My father, at that time, was wearing Old Spice, which I found fully as exciting– though later my mother, sister and I bought him a bottle of Canoe, which we thought so much more sophisticated. This was in a small town in upstate New York, in the ’50s and ’60s. My father wasn’t the Canoe, type, though. Aqua Velva was his daytime alternative to Old Spice, and I used to love that, too– the equivalent of which, among the fragrances I use today, is Puig’s Agua Lavanda.

I was going to say that my first experience with fragrance for myself was a bottle of Guerlain’s Imperiale, which I begged my indulgent Aunt Fannie to buy for me after I’d seen an ad for it in the New York Times magazine. She did and I loved it, and then I went on to buy myself Guerlain’s Habit Rouge, a ridiculously adult fragrance for a small-town boy in Junior High. But come to think of it, I’d fallen in love years before that with the scent of Fitch hair tonic, which the barbers at Ed and Al’s used to apply to my fresh haircut, as a finishing touch. My father and I used to go to Ed and Al’s together on a Saturday morning, and I used to feel like man for the rest of the day, smelling of Fitch.

That said, how do you explain the period of time when you wore no fragrance at all?
I sort of came of age as a young gay man just at the time of what we used to call “liberation,” 1969, and for some reason– it’s complicated– it was felt politically important to move away from all vestiges of old-time faggotry, which include LOTS of fragrance, toward a new kind of gay masculinity that eventually flowered in The Clone. As I recall, Clones were not really allowed fragrance until official Clone scents came along–Halston’s Z (which I hated as too overwrought), then Drakkar Noir and the like. And even then certain bars and sex clubs were notorious for forbidding any fragrance, along with Lacoste shirts and designer jeans.

I have stories from those years about the powerful combination of body scents and fragrance, but those are perhaps for another blog.

What bought you back?
What can I say? Early on, I was taught to question all tyrannies, even those parading as politically or culturally correct. I started rocking fragrance whenever the hell I wanted to. And I was traveling a lot in the ’70s and ’80s, so I would often fall under the spell of various kinds of oils and attars that men of other cultures would anoint themselves with, and I adopted these, too.

Talk a bit about what Paco Robanne does to you?
Interesting! I was given a little silver metal canister of the “unisex” fragrance Paco at a party one night– this was in the ’90s, when I was at Interview magazine– and though intellectually I filed the scent under “CK1 knock-off,” emotionally I was transported. For me, Paco was pure, spray-on optimism! No other fragrance had ever reached me so deeply (except for the scent of fresh hyacinth flowers, which, unlike the scent of other flowers, affects me like a psychedelic drug).

This might be the spot to confess that if I have any “psychic” power at all, it would be to smell the future and past, not to see it. What that means, of course, I have no real idea. It’s not like American life is populated with mentors or guides in this area.

What fragrances are currently in your rotation?
Besides Paco and Agua Lavanda, to which I still turn a lot, I also use Davidoff’s Cool Water and Geoffrey Beene’s Bowling Green. Also in the mix are Arden’s Sandalwood and all the Penhaligon men’s fragrances– especially Blenheim, my first bottle of which I purchased in Wellington Street, Covent Garden, one New Year’s Eve in the ’80s, before boarding the Orient Express for an overnight voyage to Venice. For me, the composition and behavior of Blenheim is like that voyage: beginning in the cold, foggy north and heading south, toward the sun and opulence…

But I am also VERY partial to Penhaligon’s Bluebell, a cheeky little charmer that’s supposed for women but works very well on a man.

Oh, and when I am not buzzing my hair and have enough to style, I eagerly grab my Confixor, by Aveda, which isn’t very complicated but does kinda radiate a rosemary cheeriness, along with (I think) lavender.

How often do you go out looking for something new? What specifically do you look for?
This blog, along with books I’ve recently encountered by Luca Turin and Chandler Burr, are inspiring me to go out and look for something new. Until now, I guess I’ve been a bit slack about that– which is odd, since even as a kid, if I liked a certain quartet or novel or ballet, I had to check out everything else immediately by that composer or author or choreographer.

I found a sample of Lalique for Men in a goody bag last year and liked the fragrance a lot, but for some reason never purchased a bottle. Then a friend of mine, a retired dancer, brought me to Aedes de Venustas one day, and I felt too intimidated to poke around, try things, ask questions.

No more! I’m suddenly really jazzed up about smelling and smelling like…

Have you ever purchased the same fragrance more than once? If so, what was it and what about it made it worthy of a repeat buy?
All my Penhaligons are repeat buys. So is the Paco, which in a fever one night recently, years after I’d used up that first canister, I replenished via Ebay. After reading Turin I was afraid of a reformulation, but either Paco’s the same stuff or my nose is not smart enough to tell the difference.

How would you finish this statement. “My most memorable fragrant moment would be…?
Powdered fallen leaves, on that first, oddly warm, Indian Summer day of
fall…

Meet Darryl Robinson

I met Darryl a few weeks ago after a night of drinking with some of my colleagues lead us to The Hudson Hotel. He was bartending that night and mixing some excellent cocktails I might add. One in particular, the Obamanation, caught my attention for obvious reasons.

We were introduced by a mutual friend who knew of our love of fragrances and we began talking right away. We decided to continue our conversation at a later date and did so this past Tuesday in Union Square Park.

What’s your earliest recollection of fragrances?

Definitely as a 3 -5 year old kid, my mother wore what I thought at the time was a very intense fragrance from Estee Lauder, and my father enjoyed Zizane, Aramis, Polo, and a few others which I can’t recall. My father had way more fragrances than my mother and tended to be more experimental. My mother was more of a loyalist to one brand.

What fragrances are currently in your rotation?

YSL, Kiel’s Musk, Davidoff’s “Silver Shadow”, Gucci, and most recently Aedes De Venustes

How often do you go out looking for something new? What specifically do you
look for?

I’m more spontaneous about shopping for fragrances but on average will say I test 10-12 fragrances a month, and sometimes do a repeat test to confirm an opinion I may have had about a scent.. I like a combination of scents to include bold, sexy, calming, and all of these do not have to be present in one scent.

Have you ever purchased the same fragrance more than once? If so, what was
it and what about it made it worthy of a repeat buy?

Throughout my fragrance purchasing history I have always repurchased a core group of fragrances. Fahrenheit, Issey Miyake, Polo sport, Dolce & Gabana and Joop were more trendy induced purchases as I was younger and more impressionable. I wanted to be with the “In Crowd.” Today, my only steady repeat is Kiehl’s Musk. Kiehl’s has been a staple for the past 4 years. I find
it sexy and receptively friendly.

Because you’re known as the “mixologist” explain how you apply your cologne?

I have very dry skin, so I don’t apply any fragrance until after I’ve thoroughly moisturized my entire body with shea or cocoa butter. Then the party’s on!!! I start with 3-4 mists of Kiehl’s as my base. Then I reach for any one of my current scents in rotation and add another 3-4 mists and I’m ready to go.

How would you finish this statement. “My most memorable fragrant moment would be…?

Wow!!! I’d have to say, when a friend and I walked into the fragrance store that you suggested, Aedes De Venustes. At first I was a little overwhelmed, maybe even intimidated by the volume of fragrances that were all new to me. I recognized almost nothing. What a thrill!!! In the hour that I spent browsing, sniffing, sampling, and questioning the staff, I felt almost as fulfilled as I would from an enjoyable sexual experience. It was almost climactic like!!! A day later I’m still salivating!!!

As Darryl mentioned, I suggested he take a trip over to Aedes to experience the store. Not only did he do so, but he purchased their new signature scent, Aedes De Venustas.

Here are Darryl’s thoughts about it: I’m growing even greater love for this fragrance. It possesses an almost incense like undertone that is soothingly deceptive and calming. It’s far from over powering and has a sexiness that is obtainable at short range, ie: I’m glad it doesn’t over power a room and make me a human room deodorizer. Throughout the day I smell my wrists and arms to ensure that my senses maintained it’s consistent and flattering receptiveness to my new scent. Conclusion, it’s a winner and certain to be a repurchase.

Meet Roger Joseph

A few years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Roger at a birthday get together for a friend. As fashionably late as he was, all in attendance greeted him affectionately and I soon learned why, he’s quite the charmer. I caught up to Roger recently at Diner in the meatpacking district where we traded stories about fragrances. I had a hunch he was into them but not to this degree…read on for yourself.

What’s your earliest recollection of fragrance?
The citrusy linger of my Dad’s Blenheim Bouquet (Penthaligon) on the stairwell, as he slipped on his jacket to go out on Saturday evenings. As a kid, I tried to make perfume by soaking handfuls of lilacs from the garden in cold water and then eventually bringing the whole experiment to a slow boil to concentrate the smell. I recall a heady mess on the kitchen counter.

What are some of your favorite fragrances?
Over the years, I find myself coming back to certain disciplines of thought to which I have handily prescribed a scent – Bel Ami by Hermes, Acqua Coloniale by L’Erbolario and Garrigue by Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier. Thanks to my buddy Antonio, I have a man in Naples who has created something special that I wear sparingly!

There was a time when my go-to scent was Romeo Gigli. In the 80s when severe shoulder-padding adorned even bodysuits from Donna Karan, the designs of Gigli looked artless and yet distinct. Gigli brought the same sense of proportion and colour to the design of his men’s cologne – from the lilac rectangular box with the dark orange label to the citrine green liquid to the bottle itself, which looked like a burgundy domed minaret, with metal coils around its neck. I would stock bottles of it like champagne.

What’s currently in your rotation?
In an effort to simplify my life, I have doubled up on classifications on the domestic front, which means sorting CDs by alphabet and musical genre and arranging the bookshelf by size and jacket cover. In the bathroom, only white packaged products are allowed in the medicine cabinet, and only brown bottled scents are on display, everything else is hidden. Coincidentally, I suppose, I am drawn right now to Flower Power by Comme De Garcons, L’Occitane and Helmut Lang’s Cuiron.

How often do you go out looking for something new? What specifically do you look for?
Not often and little in particular. When a favorite bottle is finished, I’ll replenish it. However, if it’s a new scent to which I’m not keenly attached, I’ll use the opportunity to review a scent I had initially waited to buy or to preview something new.

Have you ever purchased the same fragrance more than once? If so, what was it and what about it made it worthy of a repeat buy?
Several scents, depending on how they reacted to my skin and the responses they elicited. Though I cannot say print or television campaigns inform my choices as much as before, but I remember being repeatedly seduced by the ads for Kouros, Greek god iconography in blue and white, and by the black and white visuals for Jazz by Yves Saint Laurent produced by Jean Baptiste Mondino with a young Naomi Campbell, in silhouette, hair bobbed and playing the part of a scatting chanteuse. Need I say more?

How would you finish this statement, “My most memorable fragrant moment would be…?
I have several: early mornings in general, especially Springtime in the country with the windows open; reading Patrick Susskind’s “Perfume” on the New York subway and noticing a heightened awareness to smells; walking into the Comme Des Garcons perfume shop in Paris for the first time; Fracas by Robert Piguet and the accompanying memories of a prep-school romance to more mature expressions of love and lust, encouraged by Caron’s Yatagan.

Well groomed and versed, that’s Roger Joseph.