Last weekend I attended an olfactory master class with perfumer Paolo Terenzi of Tiziana Terenzi fragrances.
Paulo is a third generation perfumer known for his unconventional compositions whose philosophy is to “compose beauty”. He works only with natural raw materials which he sources personally all around the world. Focusing on 200-300 most precious notes he blends highly complex, sophisticated, rich compositions. Paolo has worked with some of the biggest fashion houses out there to create their fragrances (Gucci, Brioni, Ferragamo) but he and his sister Tiziana created their own signature brand Tiziana Terenzi in 2012.
All of the Tiziana Terenzi fragrances are unisex, in Paolo’s words his scents “Represent life, the emotion, the sentiment, the mood of life, and they have no gender”.
Their facilities in Italy produce using solar power in order to have as little effect on the environment as possible because they believe that you cannot create beauty if you are destroying the environment around it.
I sat down with Paolo to learn about notes, accords, scents and how they combine into a melody.
Fragrances are classified into families using a Fragrance Wheel (designed by Michael Edwards) which is released every year in the book “Fragrances of the World” – a guidebook used by the perfume industry.
Since its creation, Michael Edwards’ Fragrance Wheel and the developed fragrance classification scheme has been modified several times through the addition of different groups to encompass different fragrance types.
The four standard families are Floral, Oriental, Woody and Fresh. These are then divided into three sub-groups (e.g. in the Floral Family: Floral, Soft Floral, Floral Oriental) and arranged in a circle, each group being related to the next. Each of the subclasses are divided into Fresh, Crisp, Classical, and Rich compositions.
Fragrances have three levels of notes: Top, Middle and Base. When you breathe in a scent you use the top notes to classify it. What is the first thing you smell? Is it woody, citrus or fruity?
We sampled single notes, how they combine into an accord and then tested our noses in classifying them into the correct families.
What I found really interesting is that sampling scents stripped down in this way you can discover that something you previously thought you didn’t like is actually right up your alley!
We also discussed layering. Paolo recommends that when you start out begin by layering fragrances that are close to each other on the fragrance wheel and then once you have developed a more sophisticated nose you can play with combining fragrances from all over the spectrum.
Tiziana Terenzi divides their fragrances into five collection’s: The Gold Collection, The Black Collection, The Anniversary Collection, The Luna Collection and The Luna Stars Collection. Because they are candlemakers as well as perfumers, their fragrances tell a story of the stages of a journey consumed by fire and are all housed in luxe decorative bottles.
Ursa in the Luna Collection (with notes of nutmeg, dried fruits, tobacco and vanilla) sent me straight to heaven!
Some of Paolo’s compositions are so complex that they are almost impossible to place in a single fragrance family. Sirrah and Mirach, two of his scents from the Luna Stars Collection are pretty revolutionary in the fragrance world because they stay at the same level and never dry down. All of the molecules have the same specific weight which results in an ever changing and rotating cycle of fragrance. At one moment a certain component rises up while another steps back then after some time it’s visa versa, always evolving and rolling with your body temperature. It’s pretty magical.
Click To SHOP my favorite Tiziana Terenzi Fragrances: