Dominique may be considered by his peers as an immense talent, if not the greatest master perfumer working today, but he quite openly acknowledges that there is nothing particularly striking about his background and that perfumery was by no means his calling in life: “It took me a long while to realize I would be a perfumer. Back in the day, perfumers were on a pedestal, so I never even thought about it for myself". It was only by chance that he became a master perfumer, when another student dropped out of perfumery school and he was offered the place instead. Before taking it up, he asked to meet some perfumers to get an idea of the profession. He spoke with Jean Amic Jean Louis Sieuzac and Pierre Bourdon. “It usually takes me months to make up my mind, but I just said to myself, why not? I moved to Grasse for three years and then returned to Paris to complete my training It’s funny, I’d never thought about becoming a perfumer, though I’ve always loved smells".

There’s that word smell It’s at the heart of Dominique’s reactor, his passion, his core This is what he means to pass on Dominique experienced his own apprenticeship in smells as a journey: “I’ve always smelled everything. But I never put that enjoyment together with the possibility of composing my own fragrances but I’ve always loved art, so why not compose with smells rather than sounds or anything else?”

Dominique discovered the vast world of smells He knows instinctively that serendipity is not the answer, so he works very methodically. “I immediately felt that I had to program myself to learn every smell before I could even begin to think about composing. And it was a time of immense pleasure. Learning all those scents is a really interesting process, worth any amount of psychoanalysis. When you learn a scent, the way you do it is to link it to everything it makes you think of. And then, it’s funny, you have all these lost memories that come flooding back It’s very deep, very personal, and it can really take you a long way. I’d advise anybody to go on that fathomless inner journey". Like any learning curve, it came with its fair share of mistakes his errors taught him to work harder. And the poet and dreamer who traveled far and wide on the back of molecules became a workaholic: “You can’t be a dilettante, the molecules won’t let you get away with it".

What drives Dominique? “I think it’s what the perfume itself gives rise to that bubble of intimacy and all the smells that open up another world, taking us out of the hustle and bustle and protecting us in our own little space It’s spray on emotion I often feel like I’m swallowing a perfume as much as breathing it in It slips into my throat, my lungs and circulates to my cerebral cortex. Smells physically feed my thoughts. It’s a living process and trying to create emotions in your fellow men is an almost poetic undertaking. The art of assembling smells, like the art of playing with sounds, helps build bonds of community, religion or love. It gives the wearer a confidence boost It brings people a step closer together It invites them to take an interest in each other, even just to see what others smell like. I’m still a dreamer, anchored in other people’s reality, spurred on by their desires I’m very attached to fleshy emotions and encounters that show me a different way of thinking. When I think about perfumes, I conjure up femininity, not a woman, or a book, or a painting in particular, and I make perfumes because I love talking about love, sexuality and freedom".

Dominique is a unique master, a dreamer, a liberator, a scent architect, devoted to the quest for a formal aesthetics of fragrance.
©Michael Avedon

The fragrances of Dominique Ropion

Carolina Herrera | Luckycharms

ME FIRST

FLORAL / GREEN
FLORAL / AMBERY (ORIENTAL)

Ingredients of choice

Rose

Patchouli

Musk

Pink Pepper

Cardamom

Orange Blossom

Bergamot

Vetiver

Mandarin

Jasmine (Sambac)

Tonka Bean

Clary Sage

Cedarwood

Grapefruit

Lavender

Vanilla

Rose Damascena

Geranium

Moss

Gourmand Accord

Iris / Orris

Wormwood

Ciste Labdanum

Cashmeran (Woody musky)

Tuberose

Blackcurrant Bud

Rose (Turkey)

Lychee

Matcha Tea

Rice

Seaweed / Algae

Pear

Blackberry

Carrot Seeds

Violet

Thyme

Ambergris

Cinnamon

Sandalwood

Suede

Marjoram

Ylang-ylang

Myrrh

Broom

Lentisk

Calamus

Lavandin

Apple

Ginger

Orange

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