Who: Tiffany Jeans, founder of fragrance brand Curionoir. Tiffany is based in New Zealand, where her collection of perfumes, glass and other beautiful curios are sold from her artful flagship store in Auckland. She was recently in London to launch her perfumes and we caught up with her in her friend, and fellow New Zealander, Jessica McCormack’s fine jewellery townhouse store.
Today I’m wearing Pūrotu Rose, which means the handsome rose. It takes you on a beautiful journey on the skin and makes me feel confident, which was helpful today as I was really nervous about being in London. Although I’m wearing this today, I don’t have a signature scent. I don’t know how I choose but I’ll just pick according to my mood.
It’s inspired by my grandfather’s funeral, which for Maori lasts three days and nights, where we properly say goodbye. He was the oldest family tribesman and thousands of people came to pay their respects to him. He was buried on a hot day in April, where smoke from the traditional Maori meal we had prepared for our guests was mingling with all the roses on the tables. The roses came from the many rosebushes on our land and they are the pride and joy of my aunties. The fragrance is an homage to him and his beautiful character.
It can be challenging for some people because it’s quite animalic and the smokiness is strong.There’s also a sharpness with the bitter orange and it’s earthy from the vetiver. Gentlemen love this fragrance, and it has a bit of a cult following in New Zealand. I also love how some people smell it and can’t stand it, because it’s interesting to me how I can create fragrances that can be so divisive.
My Maori heritage is very important to me. Everything I’ve learned that’s been passed down to me through many generations I’m actually giving out with my fragrances and passing on to other people.
I usually wear fragrance in my hair, I use my fingers to work it through, and I love wearing fragrance on the top of my hands too because I can smell it as they move.
My home is scented with my candles, but there’s actually some beautiful natives in New Zealand such as pieces of bark and other botanicals which I love in their raw form. For example I’ve got ambergris, which my family picks up from the beaches on the north and the south islands.
Dark Bouquet is the first fragrance I ever made, it takes me back to the bush, there’s orange flower and jasmine, vetiver and cypress. Cellar Fields is a fruity leather, again inspired by my wine-making grandfather. He was a very humble wine maker, it was a hobby really, we’d pick grapes before school and used hand blown carboys that hand been handed down for generations through the family. To me they’re functional works of art. I loved that whole process and the fragrance captures the dusty, wine filled cellar under his house.
Our fragrances don’t have atomisers, they are applied via a stopper top or the dropper in the hand blown glass bottles. It’s about slowing down the application process. We also have tiny 4ml ‘pocket’ parfums which end up being given away, our customers are always saying they’ve given their ‘pocket’ away because a friend admired the scent, what better way to discover a fragrance?
Curionoir is available from The Conran Shop and from Curionoir.com