Today I’m Wearing: Santal Volcanique by Maison Crivelli

Who: Thibaud Crivelli,  founder and creative director of Maison Crivelli. Though Thibaud’s last name has Italian origins, he was born in Paris and grew up in France. He spent that last 15 years working for perfume brands in Asia, where he immersed himself in both the culture and botanicals of the countries he was visiting.

In 2017 he returned to Europe to work on the development of Maison Crivelli, and although not a perfumer himself, he picked up considerable knowledge from his time spent on the ground working for fragrance brands, learning about plants, visiting ingredient plantations and wandering through the flower and food markets of the countries he visited. He considers his knowledge more ‘sensorial than technical’, which we think is a pretty good place to start.

Maison Crivelli stands out from other new launches for us because as well as being gorgeous perfumes,  Thibaud’s has made the buying and discovery journey so much more interesting for his customers. He has created delightful polaroid-style tester blotters to try in store, which are blank before spraying and once spritzed with scent reveal a snapshot of the main ingredient used. It’s a small but fun moment for customers to help them remember which perfume they liked and why. The discovery box is well designed and remote customers can connect to the brand’s website for an engaging and sensorial ‘journey’, including film and sound, to learn more about the inspiration and make up of each fragrance. This innovation seems well timed as we all look to buy more of our fragrances online.

Today I am wearing Santal Volcanique, the best-selling perfume of our collection. This is a fragrance I wear almost every day. It’s a unique scent crafted around sandalwood. Wearing a scent of the collection always takes me back to an important moment of my life, as each perfume of the line is inspired by personal encounters with perfume raw materials.

For Santal Volcanique, I took inspiration from the discovery of burnt sandalwood on the slopes of an erupting volcano. I briefed the perfumer with all the sensorial elements I had experienced: sleeping in a coffee plantation, drinking a spicy coffee with ginger and cardamom in the early morning, climbing up the volcano among dark and ashy landscapes, sleeping on the edge of the crater, seeing the lava flow and hearing the tremors of the Earth… The perfume is a combination of all these elements. It is vibrant, fresh and soft. Quite addictive! It gives me confidence and energy.

I wear perfume every day, it is part of my routine. I have not changed my habits during the lockdown period and I usually apply fragrance directly onto my skin (around the neck, on the wrists and on the chest) but also onto my clothes. I like to apply perfume two times a day, in the morning but also in the afternoon or before going out at night.

Fragrance is a very important aspect in my life. Since I was a child I have always been very receptive to natural scents, as I was spending a lot of time outdoors. I believe strongly that the experience of perfume discovery is something which is very sensorial, intimate and personal. Different people would feel different facets or different ingredients of the same perfume, that is the beauty of it. There is total freedom when it comes to appreciating a perfume. At the same time perfume remains mysterious and very difficult to understand to most people. The key factor to discover perfume properly is to take time and stir up all the senses.

With this in mind, I decided that Maison Crivelli would not only be about proposing new perfumes, but also proposing a new way to discover them. We have developed an online fragrance experience through which we share the mood board sent to the perfumer. While smelling the scent, people can discover a combination of texts, photographs, sounds, videos. This approach guides them into taking a little bit more time than usual, feeling the perfume differently and also personally.

Usually I do not scent my home as I like to keep a very fresh atmosphere. I would open the windows for quite a long time every day. Occasionally in the winter I like to burn incense pearls and in the spring season I like to display fresh lilies in the living room, as I love how their scent diffuses in the room.

I never have pre-conceived ideas when it comes to discovering perfume raw materials, as each raw material is multi-facetted and can play a specific role in a formula. What matters to me is to take the necessary time to discover them properly and under a new perspective.

A few raw materials which I re discovered lately and which still continue to surprise me are seaweed, wisteria and papyrus. Seaweed has this very unique marine scent, but it also has soft, relaxing and silky facets. Wisteria is a mute* flower which we have to recreate it in the labs, but the natural scent of the flower is powdery and delicate, yet with clove facets which make it very original. Papyrus is a dark, woody, dusty note which is quite unusual, but I also appreciated to explore its spicy and warmer facet.

*Mute – a flower where the fragrance can not be extracted for fragrance usage.