Inside knowledge


Julien Pruvost, director of Cire Trudron, on the art of creating and choosing home fragrances

Interview: Clare Finney

As Cire Trudon has such a long and varied heritage, we usually tend to work from historical figures or places that have a historical association. Take the Cyrnos candle, for example: Cyrnos was the ancient Greek name for Corsica. When Empress Eugénie, wife of Napoleon III, commissioned a villa in the southeast of France, on Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, she called it Villa Cyrnos—Corsica was her late husband’s grandfather’s birthplace. To make this fragrance, we imagined how the gardens of her Mediterranean villa must have smelled at that time.

Our most iconic example would be the Solis Rex candle, inspired by Louis XIV and the wood floor of the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles. We sent the perfumer off to Versailles to literally smell the floor and then recreate the scent.

 We use different approaches to our home and fine fragrances. The home fragrance is much more traditional and its DNA has a definite nod to the past, whereas the fine fragrance line is much more modern. There is no official method to creating them, though, and any honest fragrance brand manager will tell you that it all happens thanks to the perfumers behind each creation. I give them direction, but they are the ones that transform experience into scent.

We work directly with French product designer Pauline Deltour on the bottles. The home and fine fragrance bottles are linked through mild cues—the structure of the names, the ribbed glass caps, and so on.

Different countries migrate towards different scents. It’s quite obvious when you travel to the Middle East or Asia, for example. Being in the business, it feels like quite a cliché to talk about the Asian market liking lighter, fruity, floral scents such as some in our Les Belles Matières collection, or the American market liking cleaner scents such as Manon, but often it’s true. You might also find different tastes within the same country, depending on the region or time of the year. We do have global bestsellers, though, such as Ernesto and Abd El Kader, which buck any of these trends. These considerations are not part of our decision-making process; we are better at proposing unusual experiences than trying to stay ahead of certain trends.

If people are on a tight schedule, they should trust their first impressions of a fragrance. If they have more time, then their first impression should be considered but they should also think about the occasion: the intended user, the place it will be set in, the time of the year.

 We offer a unique scent palette mostly composed of high-grade naturals, which is rather rare in the realm of home fragrances. I also believe that we offer one of the best burn qualities on the market, leaving little or no residue and emitting very little soot. Every element of the product that remains is worth keeping too—the box, the vessel.

Clients love the magic of our heritage. It is the stories within the scents that give them their particular je ne sais quoi.