Paul Schütze spent just two years creating his debut perfume brand – but the idea had been germinating for decades. A highly regarded artist and an award-winning composer from Melbourne, he first became obsessed with perfume in his 20s and his love has continued since he moved to London, 25 years ago.
Now, at 58, he has launched his own perfume brand, with three unisex scents: Behind the Rain, Cirebon and Tears of Eros.
Schütze works mainly from a large vintage desk in a studio at his home in Dartmouth Park, north London, surrounded by pipettes, scent sticks, glass funnels, vials of raw materials (bought from fragrance-material producers), and the notebook in which he records his ‘recipes’.
In his fragrances, he sets out to replicate memories that are special to him. For example, Behind the Rain – which has notes of sap, moss, wet bark and lichen – is based on a storm he experienced while holidaying in Greece, and the ‘perfumed air from rain-bruised fir trees.
All my work, regardless of the medium,’ he explains, ‘has been about capturing ephemeral, elusive moments and locations.’
When he has found a formula he’s happy with, he takes the recipe to the Cotswold Perfumery in Bourton-on-the-Water, Gloucestershire, where it is checked for allergen compliance and stability. Finally, it is mixed with alcohol and decanted into bottles by a team of four, headed by the owner, John Stephen.
Though this was his first official venture into the perfumery world, the creative process Schütze employed was similar to that he draws on as a composer and an artist.
Schütze first experimented with fragrance-making two years ago while staging an immersive art exhibition about the demise of books, Silent Surface, at the antiquarian booksellers Maggs Bros in London.
To add to the effect he created a fragrance; a dusky blend of 17 natural extracts that conveyed the aroma of old books, impregnated into the pages of a large Quarto book. ‘Everyone wanted to buy the perfume, which was the only thing not on sale,’ he explains.
Today, Schütze has found a balance between his work as an artist, composer and perfumer – currently he is working on his fourth and fifth fragrances, as well as two music albums and a ‘complex exhibition involving films, prints, music and perfume’. He adds, ‘I have many olfactory memories to riffle through.’
Source: telegraph.co.uk Photos: Jack Latham