You could say I’m a little biased towards Diptyque, but I think have every right to be. As soon as I think their latest scent is genius and that surely nothing can exceed it, they invariably nail it again. Not to say there are no other candle and perfume makers out there that can impress me, but Diptyque somehow take fragrance to the next level. Diptyque’s latest fragrance ‘34 Boulevard St Germain’ has been inspired by the original store in Paris.

Volt Café: How long have you been creating scents and what inspires you as an artist?

Olivier Pescheaux: Fragrance has been a part of my life since childhood; I have been in the business professionally for 18 years. Real smells inspire me, which is how I create Diptyque scents. I am inspired by the smell of Paris, the smell of rain on the road after a hot summer’s day – I am even inspired by the fragrance of coffee in a bar.

VC: Are there any particular scents or notes you value, if so, why?

OP: Of course, there are many, the green mandarin for its lean freshness, the ambroxan for its soft sensuality, and definitely the patchouli for its signed texture.

VC: Do you have a vision for fragrance?

OP: A fragrance is above all a creative idea. To preserve its strength and its authenticity, the idea must be translated with as much precision and definition as possible. The challenge is to find the right balance between creativity and accessibility.
VC: What inspired you when you created the latest Diptyque collection?

OP: I was struck by the scent of our store on Boulevard Saint Germain, I always knew it had a very distinctive scent that I couldn’t quite clearly identify at the time. One day when I visited the store, I really started to focus on the smell, and wondered how amazing it would be to capture the scent of the whole boutique in one bottle. After making that decision, my next step was to identify every note I sensed… From the windows to the wood, even all the candles combined. For me it was very much about collecting the essence of the store.

VC: Usually fragrance makers refer to a ‘block’, do you mind clarifying the meaning of this term for us?

OP: Well a block is a selection of notes and scents in one, that’s why they are called ‘block’, some of our fragrances have a few different ‘blocks’ which simply means there is a selection of other scents in one block.  You will usually also hear fragrance makers also referring to a ‘noise’ or even ‘sound’ in a fragrance, by this they mean the combination of other scents that may be in one scent. Fragrances hardly ever have one smell, just like a painting there is usually a mixture involved.

VC: How do you stay unique?

OP: There are a lot of fragrances out in the market that appear to smell alike. For me it’s about ‘thinking outside of the box’, we are a niche brand so we are privileged to have more freedom with our creations. It’s really about the way you think, not about how you market the brand or about watching the competition; our focus is on creating originality.  When creating a scent, we do not think about age or sex, you can’t limit yourself like that. The inspiration comes from real-life scents, the scent of the Mediterranean or the scent of a particular tree, for example wild bush is not an actual scent, but that is how the Mediterranean smells! Our scent Tarracco was inspired by the scent of Morocco. Travelling has an evocative fragrance which takes you back to a certain memory; the idea of travel is deemed important at Diptyque and it helps us to create originality. There are no limitations based on notions of masculinity or femininity, fragrance is fragrance.

VC: How do you know what you are going to create next, is there ever a stopping point?

OP: Just like art, you don’t stop painting when you have painted your perfect picture, creating is always an ongoing process. At the same time we are not too serious, and we don’t think too far ahead, it’s more about going with the flow.

Available from March 2011

Words by Maryam Asadi


34 Boulevard Saint Germain, Diptyque, Olivier Pescheaux, Tarocco,