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Perfumer’s Workshop & Amouroud: Blending Heritage and Innovation

Jun 14, 2024 | Scent Talks

WILLIAM SKINNER, creator of AMOUROUD, opens up about how the brand was built upon the legacy of legendary PERFUMER’s WORKSHOP, established by Donald and Gun Bauchner in the 1970s. Joining them in 1985 as a Creative Consulting Director, William explains how he incorporated the Bauchners’ pioneering custom blending concept to the exploration of the many facets and properties of oud. In addition to Amouroud, William also manages Perfumer’s Workshop with CALVIN SKINNER, who has been the Design Director since 2012, assisting in the creative process.

 

So, William, it’s impossible to talk about Amouroud without mentioning Perfumer’s Workshop, an American luxury perfume brand founded in the 70s. What inspired the creation of the Amouroud brand?

Amouroud was created with the original Workshop in mind. Bringing the customer through the DNA that created the company and through its evolution. Many fragrance enthusiasts may not be familiar with the pioneering custom blending Perfumer’s Workshop did with the 64 essential oils in the original Workshop. This was Donald Bauchner’s vision in creating the Perfumer’s Workshop Brand in the 70s. We had a creative brand that was the perfect platform at perfect moment.

Oud as an olfactive trend has been brought to the forefront in Niche and commercial perfumery during the first decade of the 2000s in Western perfumery. We viewed it much like Musk becoming an important olfactive category from the 70s. We had the history, experience and concept when we created Amouroud with a point of difference on how to utilize Oud. We found ways to use it as a key ingredient in our formulations to extend the power and last time of our fragrances and make them more palatable to US & EU preferences and have more of a worldwide appeal.

In our many years in the 90s and 2000s working on high quality merchandise for fashion licenses, we knew how important the presentation would be. The creation of the Amouroud Brand brought all those elements together. We believe we met this criteria.

 

 

Vintage Perfumers Ad

 

 

How does Amouroud maintain the heritage of Perfumer’s Workshop in its products? Does the custom blending concept pioneered by Perfumer’s Workshop influence Amouroud’s current offerings?

Amouroud is absolutely based on the Perfumer’s Workshop concept, the first company to ever offer a custom blended fragrance counter starting in Harrods and Selfridges in the 70s. These beginnings enlightened us to different fragrance trends throughout the world, and how to cater to a customer through ingredients. Amouroud has a fragrance for everyone, and our ability to blend Oud into a fragrance in a balanced way derives straight from Perfumer’s history in custom blended scents.

We worked for five years testing Amouroud creations modifying, improving, and altering these formulations right up to launch. One of our great supporters, Vesa Khalo, who was the buyer at Harrods at the time recommended some small changes right before we launched. He said that the Black Hall was a platform where you must stand tall to meet consumer expectation. We listened. Much like we did in the early days directly to consumers at that time to help verify our direction.

 

‘Amouroud’ is a combination of the words ‘amour’ (love) and ‘oud’. Most fragrances in the Classic collection list oud as a note, sometimes smoky accords. Would you say that this defines the brand’s DNA?

Our DNA is a little different. We create to evoke emotions remembered or as we say, imaginary. Meaning they are new creations that will stand up to time and hopefully become classics. Our point of difference is like the Workshop. We work on adding and subtracting both in ingredients and level of strength using Oud as an amplifier to the creation. We often use the analogy of a master chef working on a dish. Certain combination of ingredients will make that dish exclusive to that chef. It does not overpower the dish it becomes a perfect combination. That is what we strive for with Amouroud.

 

 

#1 Amouroud Glass Groupshot

 

 

While the Amouroud’s Classic collection features opulent black bottles, the White Woods collection is presented in shimmering white bottles. Wet Stone and Lunar Vetiver are bestsellers. Could you share the concept behind White Woods?

When we launched the Classic Amouroud line in the Black Bottles we started with four initial fragrances in February 2016. These were colder months where the warmth, depth and character matched those initial fragrances well. As we went through the first year, by summer of 2017 many customers were asking for fragrances suited for very hot climates in Southeast Asia and the Middle East.

The inspiration for the White Woods collection came from sun drenched snow driven fields and rivers from our farm studio in Upstate NY, as well as the northern California Beaches on the Pacific Ocean where my wife Kae is from. It was actually Kae’s idea to launch the White Woods collection. Bringing brighter woody notes and aquatic notes into the line were some of the results of showing our direction to some of the perfumers we are close to. Lunar Vetiver is a great example of this with lighter notes of bergamot citrus and crisp pink pepper balanced by the depth in the woody base notes of java vetiver, tobacco blossom. Wet Stone is a unique aquatic fragrance that blends Sea Salt & Lemon Cedrat, with Ginger, Alskan Cedar, Oud, and Patchouli.

White Woods is all about brightness and freshness all while maintaining the depth and balance of the classic black collection. We sometime use the analogy of music with the White Woods Collection. Classic Amouroud in the lower register whereas the White Woods collection is the higher note register.

 

Speaking of fragrance creation, please describe how you choose the perfumers you collaborate with. How is the briefing process? What level of creative freedom does Amouroud grant to each perfumer?

Our partnerships with fragrance houses and perfumers are very long and deep. Our Briefs come with concepts of names, olfactive direction, bottle and package design. The perfumers we work with interpret these directions as well as input on new formulations and discovery they may be investigating at that time. It is a true give and take and there are no major restrictions. Once we land on an idea, we will develop that idea and test it, sometimes for years, before it is introduced to the markets.

Claude Dir and Patricia Choux from Mane were instrumental in our initial launches. Steve Claisse from Takasago has created a number of our fragrances including Golden Oud in our Elixir collection that is well regarded by our customers. Ilias Ermenidis and Clement Gavarry with Firmenich have created two of our amazing fragrances Oud Tabac and Wet Stone. All wonderful people in the industry that we are honored to have collaborated with.

 

 

William At ManeWilliam Skinner at Mane

 

 

With a background from Perfumer’s Workshop spanning over half a century, how does Amouroud continue to innovate based on feedback from its worldwide customer base? Who is your target audience?

This is where we go to the customer level. We travel to over 20 countries and meet our distributors and BAs to learn about their response to our creations. We take their feedback seriously. This feedback can lead to our revision and changes of our creations. This is where we strive to create unique and original fragrances and make a best effort at getting it right.

Our global customer base presents the exciting challenge of creating something for everyone. Fragrances like Wet Stone and Golden Oud tend to be universally liked while the complexity and density of Licorice Woods and Oud After Dark may be more suited to the more experienced and refined Oud/Fragrance pallet. Sumptuous Flower is a bright and sweet floral that women gravitate towards, while Oud Tabac’s deep smoky notes seem to resonate with men. Our target audience is every culture and gender imaginable, so we aim to create a variety of profiles.

 

As an American brand, how does Amouroud manage its distribution in and outside the United States? In which countries are you present, and what are the most promising markets?

Our history with distributors is multi-generational. Some of Donald’s early contacts were the parents of Donald’s generation. Then came Donald’s generation of ownership of these distributors and now it is the children running these companies. We had an office in Paris from 1985-2005 where we created, marketed, and manufactured Fashion Licenses for the Houses of Sonia Rykiel, Luis Feraud and Houte Couture creator Madame Rose Mett Torrente. This further expanded our relationships with distribution throughout the world. Sometimes opening a market depends on which destination is that most important. In this case we make a presentation direct to the fragrance buyer and we choose a distributor once we are in.

Our earliest commercial success came with Parfum Tea Rose from the Workshop. The cult following was here in the US, London, India, and the Middle East. Our French heritage brought us more through Eastern Europe, Central Europe itself and Asia. We see Southeast Asia and South America as markets where niche is beginning to take hold with brands not necessarily tied to a world-renowned name, but instead the attraction is truly niche. This is a space where customers are interested in aligning with their own discovered brand.

We are currently in over 200 stores in over 50 countries.

 

 

Amouroud Perfumers Plaque

 

 

How do you view the current landscape of perfumery? And how does Amouroud distinguish itself from other luxury perfume brands?

It’s saturated, but very inspiring when done right. With the creation of fragrance being far more accessible today there has been a surge of independent brands. This has led to many subpar brands looking to make a quick buck, but also has given a voice to creators truly passionate about fragrance. Now smaller operations are able to tell their stories through fragrance. Stories that are often much more compelling than faceless major corporations.

Amouroud is a true niche brand. Niche customers have expectation in creation and quality. We continue to strive to meet those expectations. Niche is fragrance that allows one to take risks. Do the unexpected. Our history is based on this discovery and creation. We believe this is what continues to distinguish Amouroud. When someone messages our social media, we are the ones answering. We try to be ourselves and present a product that the customer is proud to wear and show off like art.

 

Could you share any upcoming projects or new fragrance concepts that Amouroud is working on?

We have a whole new direction from Amouroud coming Q4. This is the Jardin or Garden collection bringing florals and fruity notes into a new glimmering glass that for the first time brings the customer inside the interior of our heavily weighted hand polished bottles as well as the shelf appearance that introduces colors to the concept. These fragrances continue our tradition of complex florals with natural ingredients as well as nectar and fruity notes. This will be a short collection of 3: “Enchanted Garden”, “Carrisa Flower”, and “Apricot Nectar”. We could not be more excited with the look and smell of this line.

In addition we will be launching one of the last collaborations between PW Annie Buzantian from Firmenich who also worked for years on our founding fragrance from The Workshop – Tea Rose. This is a beautiful fragrance that we will place in our Elixir Line. Annie’s code name for this fragrance was Birkin Leather. The name of this fragrance will be Virgin Leather. We will be unveiling these at ScentXplore 2024.

 

 

Amouroud ScentXploreAmouroud at ScentXplore (2023)

 

 

What mark would Amouroud like to leave in history?

To continue the creative and groundbreaking legacy of The Perfumer’s Workshop to a whole new generation of fragrance enthusiasts, with awareness of how the beauty and complexity Oud, combined and utilized with other ingredients, can bring to a formulation that creates and entirely new fragrance olfactive category.

 

In 2 or 3 words, how would you define perfume?

William: Unique, Personality, Memory.

Calvin: “Experience Enhancer”.

 

 

#1 William Calvin Kae BannerKae, Calvin, and William Skinner

 

 

Thank you for your time and for sharing valuable insights with us. Would you like to add something before we wrap up?

I would like to thank you for your thoughtful questions. We appreciate this opportunity as well as the continued customer face-to-face experience Max Forti and the ScentXplore shows bring to Amouroud. We were just in Nashville, and it was a great experience. We should also make a big mention of Donald Bauchner who created this platform. He is a true industry icon. He had a great idea in the 70s no one else had really thought of. He is a great mentor and a great friend. Like many of our distributors around the world we too are as close as a family business as one can get.

Calvin: I would like to mention and thank Donald & Gun Bauchner, the founders of The Perfumer’s Workshop, pioneers and legends in the Fragrance industry. I have had the privilege of growing up knowing him and learning from him. Many of my best memories in life have been enhanced and attributed to fragrance and my involvement with the company from an early age. Although my passion for design led me to work for Perfumer’s Workshop and Amouroud, through this work I have developed a love for fragrance, and an appreciation for it’s ability to create memories and impact lives in a positive way. Fragrance has given me an opportunity to design more than a visual but an entire sensory experience.

 

 

A gift for the ScentXpress readers: AMOUROUD has generously provided a bottle of GOLDEN OUD as a special giveaway exclusive to our readers. To be eligible, you just need to sign up for our newsletter and leave an insightful comment below. The winner will be drawn from the comments within 2 weeks from the date of this article’s publication and contacted via email directly.

 

Follow Amouroud on Instagram: @amouroud
Check out Amouroud website: https://amouroud.com
Check out Perfumer’s Workshop website: https://www.perfumersworkshopinternational.com/
(images cortesy of Amouroud and Perfumer’s Workshop)

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