Le Nez : Benoît Lapouza


The jealously guarded formula has resurfaced from the family coffers for reinterpretation by the Perfumer, Benoist Lapouza. His task is to revive the fragrance while retaining its original structure.

Training cellist Benoist Lapouza dream from a young age to become a perfumer. After graduating, Pierre Bourdon takes him under his wing. First at Takasago in 1986 and at Quest in 1991, before joining Fragrance Resources two years later. In 2014, he joined the Parisian fine fragrance Drom team. He is the author of Live Jazz YSL (1998) Dolly Girl by Anna Sui (2003) or British Bouquet of Atkinsons (2013). He worked as a team on Si Lolita from Lolita Lempicka in 2009, with Christine Nagel (then at Fragrance Resources) and, more recently, Fan di Fendi for men in 2012 and Acquarossa Fendi in 2013, Delphine Lebeau (Fragrance Resources) and François Demachy, LVMH perfume.

« Interview with Benoist Lapouza »

Q : Benoist, you are a Perfumer at DROM International. Can you tell us your story?

A : I grew up in Normandy where I divided my time between the Music conservatory and the sea. My meeting with Pierre Bourdon was a revelation. I was his apprentice at Takasago for 4 years, then I followed him to Quest before creating Fragrance Resources with him in 1993. Finally, I joined the team at DROM International for a new adventure.


Q : You have been chosen to revive the original Rose Desgranges fragrance. You must feel very privileged, a bit like being asked to wake the Sleeping Beauty?
A : It’s a wonderful story. And a great opportunity to be able to work with the beautiful, natural, fine raw ingredients and top-quality essences that go into the making of such a rich fragrance.

Q :  Rose Desgranges est un parfum glamour des années 50, fleuri, sensuel, symbole d’une histoire de femmes. Certaines matières premières sont bannies, certaines concentrations ne sont plus en conformité avec la législation actuelle ; comment le ré-interprétez-vous pour ne pas dénaturer l’élixir original tout en le projetant dans le monde moderne ?
A : First of all, I recompose the fragrance using fine, top-quality raw ingredients including sublime florals such as Rose, Egyptian Jasmine Absolute, Ylang Ylang and Iris concentrate. Rose Desgranges is not a typical oriental; it’s a sensual floral, far more textured and silky, enriched with notes of musk boosted by a harmonious woody/mossy accord with a hint of patchouli and wrapped in Vanilla Absolute.


Q : You use Rose, of course… Rose is timeless, but it is also overused and even something of a cliché.
How has it been treated differently in Rose Desgranges?

A : The Rose essence I use comes from Turkey. It is very special, somewhat reminiscent of lychee, and very fruity. I choose the finest fractions of Rose essence for the flower’s distillation, which I then combine with a top-quality Absolute to prolong its persistence.


Q : Do you have anything in particular to say about the other components in this floral tribute?
A : t’s interesting to note that a subtly fruitiness was obtained by adding certain floral notes. For example, pear undertones were achieved by adding an accord based on Vanilla/Ambrette. Resonant notes are provided by adding a touch of Bergamot from Calabria and Sicilian Mandarin to inject life and light into the formula.


Q : You are like an orchestra conductor working with scented notes that vie with each other to produce a genuine harmony of fragrances. It’s almost as if you were invited to reinterpret an original score?
A : As a trained musician and avid music fan, I must say it’s sometimes difficult to play a score, as there are so many different interpretations! In the case of Rose Desgranges, the focus was essentially on the sourcing of raw ingredients in order to draw out the quintessence of the fragrance, and balance the different floral notes in an accord with the woody, musky notes. The result is a harmonious, elegant composition, extremely feminine and refined, capturing the spirit of the times, while complying with the standards and restrictions imposed by the new cosmetics regulations, which can differ so much internationally.

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