November 2, 2015

Interview with Cécile Zarokian, perfumer, which goes its own way.


She started with medicine. She ended with perfumes. Interesting journey where despite her young age, already has created several remarkable pieces. She graduated from the ISIPCA at Versailles, then was trained for four years in Robertet, at first in Grasse, then in Paris. In 2011, she made her own way and founded CECILE ZAROKIAN SARL in Paris. Talented and darling of the world of niche perfumes. Representative of the new generation of perfumers. Cécile Zarokian. 12 questions and 12 answers.

1. Do you use your own palette of ingredients with which you work? If yes, how many ingredients are there?

I have around 400 ingredients I usually work with.

2. If you would have to create a new perfume called “Morning after a sleepless night” how would it smell, what would it contain?

It depends on the reason why the night was sleepless…but let’s guess it’s not because of insomnia, we could imagine the perfume expressing a passionate love, something very sensuous, warm, opulent, heavy, even carnal…

3. It is known that you create also ambient fragrances (diffusers). Which are you using at home? How your home smells?

At home I’m using the reed diffuser « Amber Wood » by Simone Cosac and « Chapelle Royale » of the Château de Versailles scented candles collection that I have created for these brands. And sometimes I’m lighting up outdoors the big size candle « Ambre 1er » composed for Jovoy. But not that often because I like also « my nose to take a break » !

4. What “niche” means for you?

« Niche » means a limited distribution for me, a small number of point of sales compared to « mainstream » and also much more freedom to create innovative fragrances, like having carte blanche to use beautiful raw materials.

5. In your opinion, classical chypre  fragrances will come back? As a trend.

It’s been a while that we saw a lot of « modern Chypre » fragrances, fruity and gourmand for example. I don’t think we will see Chypre the way they used to be (Femme de Rochas, Aromatic Elixir, etc…), first of all because of IFRA regulations, and also because they need to evolve in order to be more contemporary I guess.

6. What is the difference when you work with a synthetic molecule, or with a natural ingredient?

The main difference between a synthetic molecule and a natural ingredient is that I am working with a simple ingredient versus a complex and rich essential oil or absolute, composed of many ingredients inside. Also a specific chemical is always the same, but quality, color, smell change with a natural ingredient. There is a charming variability I have to work with.

7. Did you make a perfume just for yourself, your personal perfume?

I did not make a perfume for myself. Usually I wear my current works to test them, or some fragrances I have created close to my personal taste. And of course I wear also fragrances other perfumers have created.

8. Your best loved color, how it smels?

I don’t have a best loved color. As in perfumery it depends of what I want to have or to create, the wanted effect.

9. As you are an attractive woman, it’s easier for you to create a fragrance for women, or for men?
I don’t think creating a fragrance is related to gender, it’s not easier for me to create a fragrance for woman than for men.
10. What is more the work of a perfumer, is perfumer more chemist or artist?

As a perfumer you need some basics about chemistry, in order to know your « tools » let’s say. But for me a perfumer is more an artist than a chemist, it’s much more about your creativity than your knowledge in chemistry.

11. What makes a quality perfume superior?

Tough question…what is a « quality perfume superior » ? There is no universal truth, like other artistic fields there is no right and wrong, it is something very subjective and personal. In my case I’m always trying to create a longlasting, rich and subtle fragrance.

12. The period of diners and social events are nearing. What type of fragrance you would recommend to the ladies for these events?

There is no specific type of fragrance to wear for social events or diners. You have to choose the one that suits you regarding your mood. Personally, I usually wear fragrances that will come up soon in order to have kind of a preview, to be tested blindly, without saying anything about it.

Some of perfumes created by Cécile: 

Laboratorio Olfattivo - Kashnoir, Patchouliful

Majda Bekkali - Mon nom est rouge ( My name is red )
MDCI - Nuit Andalouse, Cio Cio San
Jul et Mad - Aqua Sextius

Cécile Zarokian. A few years ago just a novice in the game, today a respected player. She did not lack the courage to embark by her own into the unknown. From her hands undoubtedly a lot of great perfumes will come out.

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