A lunch with Thierry Wasser, perfumer of the House of Guerlain / by Didier Young

Created in 1828, the house of Guerlain has had a huge impact in the history of perfumery, skincare and cosmetics. Favoured by Empress Eugénie, wife of Napoleon III, the brand soon became the official perfumer of the french court which created an influx of demands from other European royalty including Queen Isabella II of Spain, Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom and Empress Elisabeth of Austria, better known as Sissi. Guerlain created a legacy embedded in quality and innovation, two characteristics that explain the brand’s longevity. I recently had the opportunity to attend a lunch hosted by Guerlain to mark the launch of their new fragrance, Mon Guerlain Eau de Parfum florale.

Originally created to commemorate the 190 years of the House, Mon Guerlain was a tribute to women and “the choices, emotions, and dreams that embody modern feminity”. The oriental fragrance makes use of incredible raw materials from all across the globe: Indian Sambac Jasmine, Australian Album Sandalwood, Carla lavender from Provence and Papua New Guinean vanilla. The perfume was championed by Angelina Jolie, a model of feminine grace and female empowerment, who became the face of the scent. The house perfumer was so enthralled by the Hollywood star that he was inspired to create the new edition of the perfume by using the original base of Mon Guerlain and giving it a twist of florals with the inclusion of peony and solar flowers. The result is a scent that is unabashedly feminine and a bold crowd pleaser.

While the lunch was delicious, one of the highlights of the event was the presence of the house perfumer of Guerlain, Mr. Thierry Wasser himself. The famed perfumer joined the house in 2008 and is the nose behind La Petite Robe Noire and L’homme Ideal. The insightful meeting with the Swiss gentleman taught me a multitude of things about perfumery that I was unaware of, as well as the fact that Guerlain is one of the rare companies in the world that doesn’t outsource their raw ingredients. The House owns properties throughout the world where they cultivate and process their own products which allows them a better control on the quality and supply of the material.

The story of the man behind Mon Guerlain was as captivating as the perfume he created and I cannot wait to smell the masterpieces that he has yet to bring to life. For now, I shall indulge in the scent of the Eau de Parfum florale while I day dream of the upcoming spring days.