Svensk Parfym: An interview with the nose Henrik Lestréus

Hello my dear readers and perfume addicts! 

Today I have a special guest on my blog. His name is Henrik Lestréus and he is the nose behind Svensk Parfym fragrances. I hope you will find out useful and interesting things abouts scents in the interview below. 

1. I'm happy to have the chance to make this interview. Thank you very much for your time. First of all, I would like to ask you what do you think that makes you different in this world full of fragrances and noses? Why would a perfume addict like me choose a perfume created by you?

 Henrik Lestréus: I am very pleased to talk to you, Adelina. Thank you for your time and energy. You start off with a great question here. The world of fragrances is huge. The market of fragrances is absolutely saturated with products, options, characters, histories and philosophies; some authentic and solid, many fake and hollow. So, why indeed should someone choose a perfume created by me? Simply; because you love it. I firmly believe that what I create is unique and second to none. My concept is authentic. Everything I make is meticulously hand crafted and hand blended out of the finest ingredients, carefully selected, balanced to perfection to match the intention behind each fragrance. Everything is generously, expressively and independently created. You can sense it in everything I do. If you really sense my perfumes totally but you still don’t love them, of course you shouldn’t use them. Let’s be realistic. Everybody can’t love everything. 

2. When and why did you decide to become a perfumer?

H. L.: 
I have had a great interest in fragrances for as long as I can remember. I decided to become a perfumer in 2012 when feeling my inspiration and creativity grow significantly during some workshops in perfumery in Paris. I practiced perfumery long before I decided to become a professional perfumer. I became a perfumer because I love to create, express and share my thoughts and feelings in an artistic way and because I believe I have a natural talent for working with fragrances. I love the way to create an artwork that is precious, vulnerable and perishable, just like a Tibetan mandala. I love the way that the perfume depends so much on the user. It’s like a symbiotic love story. Perfumery inspires me and challenges me on so many levels. 

3. What do you think it is more important in a scent: simplicity – a formula with fewer notes and accords to let the person who wears it complete the fragrance with their memories, imagination and dreams, or do you think a perfume shoud be very complex, with lots of ingredients in order to be enigmatical and undecipherable?

H. L.: I think it’s important to work some parts out very generously in detail even though this doesn’t necessarily mean that I use a great number of ingredients. I also think it’s important to always leave some spaces empty, to leave some things unsaid. Sometimes less is more. Our minds and senses needs space. However, it is always important for me to tell an interesting story with my fragrances, with great attention to details and nuances. Only simplicity doesn’t get you far. It’s very important to inspire the mind and senses with interesting combinations and details. I often compare extracts from the same sort of plant from different cultivators or extracted by different methods. There are always important differences between ingredients with the same name from different producers. So, you see, it’s not quantity nor diversity that makes my complexity. For me it’s a matter of analysis and method. I think it’s really important to always study, analyse, compare and select. As a perfumer I need to be engaged, curious and creative. I need to know my tools well and use them wisely.

4. Could you describe the creation process a bit? How do you capture your inspiration in a bottle of perfume?

Just as in other professions my capacity to perform depends on various factors. My creation process depends on what I have in front of me and how well I know how to handle it to reach the results that I want. My performance depends on my level of knowledge, mindfulness, inspiration and willpower. I spend a lot of time and energy studying, refining and practicing my instrument - my collection of fragrant molecules and substances. For my work I seek inspiration in happiness and through keeping my working space clean and organised. I seek inspiration through mindfulness and curiosity. I seek inspiration by expanding my boundaries, by “thinking outside the box” but also by thinking very much inside “the box”. The ideas for new creations I get from everyday life. The ideas can come to me at any time. I take notes a lot and I experiment a lot to try to recreate in the lab what I have in mind. When I consider it all successful I refine the idea until I have a final formula and that formula I meticulously blend by hand in bigger proportions into bigger flasks. 

5. What perfume do you like to wear? Do you think people should have a signature scent, or they should „cheat” and try something new every season?

H.L.: I mostly wear no perfume. I often work in the lab or in the production and I can’t wear any scent when working. I work when inspiration hits me and that can be any day, any time. If I go out I usually chose to wear a discreet perfume with poor longevity and projection. I personally like it like that. After a few hours I want the perfume to be gone. I prefer to feel the scent of others than feeling my own perfume. Concerning what people should wear; people should wear whatever they feel like and follow their own hearts. If they feel like having only one “signature scent” that’s great. If they feel like changing and experimenting that’s great also. I am totally pro freedom and independence. People should always wear what they feel like wearing.

6. How important do you think trends are in the art of perfumery? Is it the trend that demands the perfume, or is it otherwise? Do you follow the trends?

Trends are very important for mass producers and retail. Trends are most commonly invented by bigger companies and the trends totally navigate a certain sector of the market; consumers that don’t have their own opinions. Whereas independent perfumers seek independent consumers. I look at trends but I don’t necessarily follow them. It takes a very interesting and inspiring trend for me to follow. The only trend should be to personally find out what we truly love.

7. After you have created a perfume, do you picture its future wearer? How would you like Svensk Parfym creations to be perceived?

H.L.: I picture the wearers of my perfumes. It’s one of the most fascinating things; to imagine how people in New York, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Taiwan, Moscow, Amsterdam wears my fragrances. I imagine what they might be doing, what they might be saying, what compliments they might get about their fragrance. Concerning how I want my fragrances to be perceived: I like Svensk Parfym fragrances to be perceived as beautiful invisible accessories.

8. What do you think about the true purpose of wearing perfume? Why do you think people feel the need to wear fragrance?

H.L.: The true purpose of wearing a perfume must be to communicate. We want to communicate our emotional mode, our personality, our mindset, status, class. We want to be noticed. We want to be bigger than our bodies. We all want to find that fragrance that is so much us. We want to reach out and get responses back. These are all important basic needs and I think this is the true reason why people feel the need to wear perfume. 

   Soon, there will be a full review on Henrik's creations, here on Adelina's World. Stay tooned! 


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