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07.01.13

THE PROFESSIONAL: PERFUMER ANNIE BUZANTIAN

THE PROFESSIONAL: PERFUMER ANNIE BUZANTIAN

Georgette Moger catches up with the aptly named perfumer behind Marc Jacobs Honey.

Marc Jacobs’s new scent Honey is summer’s most buzzed-about fragrance. Master Perfumer Annie Buzantian closely collaborated with Jacobs and legendary nose Ann Gottlieb to create a perfume that not only evokes sunshine while sitting on your counter, but also actually feels like its signature grin-inducing color. The Sephora Glossy met Buzantian to hear all about Marc Jacobs’s addictive new fragrance.

Why did you become a perfumer?
I loved the idea that I could translate an emotion into a scent. By chance, I had the good fortune to work with someone who believed in me, who took me under his wing when he thought I had the potential to become a perfumer.

As fragrance is so often linked to memory, what is the scent you most cherish?
The smell of a rose—it reminds me of the rose fields in Bulgaria where I used to visit my grandparents.

During your career as a perfumer, you’ve worked with many great noses—have you ever independently created a fragrance? How essential is the collaboration process?
Yes, the fragrances I’ve created on my own are part of my own personal collection. They are made for me, by me. For fragrances such as Marc Jacobs Honey and Dot, the collaboration processes were crucial. Dot was the first time I created a fragrance with Marc Jacobs and Ann Gottlieb. Collaborating with our clients is vital because we translate their vision into a fragrance.

What was the process behind creating Honey?
We were asked to create a fragrance that was yellow in feel, expressing happiness and brightness olfactively in the world of Marc Jacobs. We had many, many different trials of the fragrance—some warmer and brighter and some with different floralcy. But in the end, we were where we wanted to be: a more energetic, yet warm direction with a sparkling brightness that is floral, fresh, and clean.

What exactly does yellow feel like?
To me, yellow is happy, bright, and playful. It makes you want to get out into the world and enjoy life and take in all that is happening around you. That is the feeling I was going for when I created Honey.

The design itself is a playful spin on Dot’s bottle. Which came first, the fragrance or the idea behind complementing the bottles?
We knew about the color from the beginning—it had to be yellow. Later on, we saw a picture of the bottle during the development process of the fragrance.

How were raw extracts of honey and apricot translated into fragrance?
I used several ingredients that are proprietary to Firmenich. There are Nature Prints® of apricot and honey in this fragrance. As apricots and honey don’t give up their scent, these are “nature’s fingerprints” that Firmenich created in the lab to mimic the fragrances of nature.

Could you walk us through the olfactory experience of Honey?
The fragrance starts with a top of Bartlett pear, a fruity punch accord of juicy mandarin, peach nectar, and apricot NaturePrint. The floral heart is composed of orange blossom and honeysuckle. The back notes are honey NaturePrint, golden vanilla, and smooth woods.

How does Honey fit into the Marc Jacobs perfume sisterhood?
While Dot is chic and charming, Honey is a sweet and spontaneous new addition to the Dot family. She’s based on Marc’s belief in the gentle balance between sophistication and whimsy.

What would you be if you weren’t a perfumer?
An entertainer—an actor perhaps. A perfumer brings their personality and intuition to all that they do. I have to understand and become the character for whom the fragrance is meant to be. Very much like an actor, you have to understand the part to be able to be that character.

What kind of person do you envision would wear Honey?
A happy and confident woman who embraces life every day.

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