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Luc Solomon | The Elemental: An Unconventional Perfumer

May 27, 2024 | By The Nose, Scent Talks

LUC SOLOMON, the self-taught perfumer who founded THE ELEMENTAL, shares his journey into the world of perfume creation, highlighting how he overcame skepticism to gain respect in the industry. Before establishing his own brand, Luc had a diverse career path, including launching a luxury fashion publication in the late 90s. This eventually led him to perfumery, where he was mentored by experts. Luc’s innovative approach has resulted in scents that embody love, sex, opulence, and luxury.

 

 

So, Luc, could you share a bit about your background and the journey that led you to establish your own perfume house? If you were to assign fragrances to different moments in your life, what would they be?

In the mid-80s, as a young boy from Brooklyn, attending the High School of Art and Design in Manhattan was transformative. Immersing myself in the vibrant arts and music scenes of Soho and the East Village, I developed a profound appreciation for luxury and creativity. After studying at Howard University, and Long Island University, Brooklyn campus and earning my graduate degree from Columbia, I explored various professions, from stockbroker to insurance agent. Eventually, I launched a luxury fashion publication in the late 90s, which I ran for 14 years. This journey through art, culture, and luxury ultimately led me to the world of fragrance creation, one of my life’s greatest accomplishments.

 

Luc Solomon 2

 

At The Elemental, you oversee every aspect from concept to distribution. What were the most significant challenges you faced in establishing a niche brand and how did you overcome them?

One of the most significant challenges I faced was overcoming the skepticism that a Black man could excel in creating a niche fragrance line. It was a struggle to prove that I could compete with, and even surpass, established brands in the industry. My dedication to quality and innovation eventually earned the respect and recognition of the fragrance community.

 

How did you learn the art of composing fragrances? Is there a particular perfumer who served as your inspiration? Could you share a memorable episode that surprised you during your learning process?

My journey into fragrance composition was largely self-taught. I immersed myself in books, YouTube tutorials, and sought mentorship from experts like Roja Dove and Canadian perfumer Matt Meleg. Matt’s guidance on techniques like tincturing was pivotal, allowing me to control the materials in my formulations. This hands-on learning process was a profound turning point in my path to creating distinctive fragrances.

 

Can you walk us through a typical day in your laboratory? Do you have a preference for specific notes and raw materials? How do you go about selecting the names, some of which have an erotic connotation?

A typical day in my laboratory begins with a brief meditation session and time spent in front of my vision board—a 9×12 wall covered with visuals and materials that evoke memories and inspire future possibilities. I start with a conceptual sketch of a formulation, which I then refine through multiple iterations. I never follow trends; instead, I create fragrances based on what comes naturally to me, drawing inspiration from moments and lovers that have shaped my life.

 

Cashmere Sex

 

What was the creative process behind your first fragrance? And which fragrance in your collection do you perceive as the most innovative and daring? Were there any unexpected commercial successes?

The creation of my first fragrance was serendipitous. It began with a beard oil that needed an improved scent. I envisioned a “sexy lumberjack” aroma, combining notes of pine, green elements, and deep woody undertones, with a hint of tobacco. This led to the creation of Mogul, a fragrance that embodied the essence of a rich, sexy lumberjack. My most innovative fragrance, however, is Oud People. I transformed the traditionally pungent oud into a palatable, sexy scent by removing its barnyard notes while preserving its integrity. This innovation has become a cornerstone of my collection.

 

Does The Elemental have a signature that unites its various creations? And do you, as the perfumer, have a distinctive style?

Elemental Fragrances epitomizes love, sex, opulence, and luxury. The men and women who wear my scents are akin to a sensual James Bond—distinguished, sexy, and sophisticated, regardless of their background.

 

Your website mentions bespoke fragrances, a rather unique offering. Could you elaborate on how this service operates?

I create bespoke fragrances for individuals and couples seeking unique, one-of-a-kind scents. During the initial consultation, we discuss the purpose of the fragrance and tailor it to the client’s desires. Whether for weddings, special occasions, or intimate moments, my bespoke creations are crafted to enhance personal and memorable experiences.

 

The Elemental

 

How do you view the current state and evolution of the perfume industry? What trends do you foresee in the coming years in terms of styles and themes? And how does niche differ from designer scents?

The current state of commercial perfumery is dominated by trends and synthetic materials, resulting in fragrances that lack originality and depth. Niche perfumers, however, prioritize artistry and quality, using complex and rare materials to create truly unique scents. This dedication to craft sets niche fragrances apart, as they are true works of art.

 

So far, what has been the most gratifying aspect of your journey as a perfumer? What advice would you offer to aspiring perfumers?

The most gratifying aspect of my journey is hearing from customers who share how my fragrances have enriched their lives. Knowing that my creations have sparked moments of intimacy and joy is deeply fulfilling. My advice to aspiring perfumers is to embrace their creativity and not be confined by industry norms.

 

You had a booth at last year’s ScentXplore, even becoming a finalist in the Rising Star Perfumer category at our People’s Choice Awards. What would you say to a fragrance enthusiast undecided about attending this year?

Having a booth at SentXplorer last year was transformative for my business. It elevated my brand to new heights and provided a platform to connect with major niche designers. Being in the top three finalists for the new up-and-coming niche category was fantastic and quite elevating, I encourage any perfumer to participate in SentXplorer—it can significantly boost your business if your work is truly exceptional.

 

The Elemental ScentxploreThe Elemental at ScentXplore (2023)

 

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

In three words: sexual, intimate, and deep.

 

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

Thank you for this opportunity to share my story. I always relish discussing my brand and experiences. To aspiring perfumers, I highly recommend being part of SentXplore—it’s a monumental step toward elevating your business.

 

Follow The Elemental on Instagram: @theelementalfragrances

Check out The Elemental’s website: https://theelementalfragrances.com

 

Leave a comment for Luc below!

 

(image credits: The Elemental)

 

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