Friday, 4 November 2011

My favourite things: The creations of perfumer Sophia Grojsman

There are women who love clothes. There are those who go shoe-crazy. There are the jewellery whores. Don't get me wrong; I love all of the above. A masterfully constructed leather sandal, a fine Irish linen shirt or a classic gold hoop earring can bring out the acquisitive demon in me just like any other gal. The product that really transports me, though, the commodity I'd spend countless thousands of dollars on if I had the means to do so, is perfume.

Perfume is not just about smelling pretty. I have an extraordinarily keen sense of smell and of all the senses this is the most associative, the one that best transports me to places, people and occasions in my past, creates a mood, makes me deliriously happy just by sniffing my wrist or catching a whiff of something delicious on my pillow, or on a man.

If the sense of smell is the road to wherever I travel, perfume is the powerful, high-performance vehicle that takes me there. It can be capricious or whimsical, lighthearted or deep-blue-twilight nostalgic, indulgently melancholic, quietly joyful or emphatically euphoric. It can conjure elegance, discreet sex, or the powerful animalic kind. It can even conjure... money. Perfume is smoke and mirrors, mystery and mania, quiet and noise, control and obsession. It can attract; it often repels. It can heal or nauseate.

Six months ago the name Sophia Grojsman meant nothing to me - then I discovered she was the 'nose' behind Eternity, a 90s signature fragrance and one of my favourites ever. Since I'm constantly updating my perfume wish list and reading excellent perfume blogs (Now Smell This, Perfume Smellin' Things, Bois de Jasmin) to get an idea of whether or not I might like to experiment with a scent, I've stumbled across Ms. Grojsman's name again and again. Finally, I read an interview with her on Bois de Jasmin and discovered that she has created not two, not three, but EIGHT of my top 10 fragrances.

This has reinforced for me once again that there's no such thing as
coincidence. I've chosen these perfumes out of hundreds over a 30 year period. Of the scores I've owned I've loved only about 10 - and Sophia Grojsman created very nearly all of them. Take Estee Lauder, for example: the only three scents from this line that I've been able to wear are the three she created: Beautiful, Spellbound and White Linen. Did I know back then that she had created them all? No. All I knew was that I liked these - and none of the others.

Don't assume that the smells are similar, because they're not. What do they have in common? Their beauty, their quality - a Grojsman fragrance can never be mistaken for a cheap scent - and that she usually incorporates rose accords. She also creates perfumes from the base up, whereas other perfumers start with the top notes and work from there in to the mid and base notes. Perfumery is a science - Ms. Grojsman has a Bachelor of Science degree in analytical inorganic chemistry - but at the high end it's also very much an art. Sophia Grojsman creates masterpieces.

Among her best-selling fragrances are:

* Bill Blass Nude
* Boucheron Jaipur (1994)
* Bvlgari Bvlgari Pour Femme (1994)
* Calvin Klein Eternity (1988)
* Calvin Klein Eternity Purple Orchid
* Celine Magic (1996)
* Christian Lacroix Christian Lacroix (1999)
* Elizabeth Taylor Diamonds and Rubies (1993)
* Elizabeth Taylor White Diamonds (1991)
* Estée Lauder Beautiful (1985)
* Estée Lauder Spellbound (1992)
* Estée Lauder White Linen (1978)
* Frederic Malle Outrageous! (2007)
* Gloria Vanderbilt Vanderbilt (1982)
* HRH Princess Elizabeth E
* HRH Princess Elizabeth Jelisaveta
* Karl Lagerfeld Sun Moon Stars (1994)
* Kenzo Kashaya (1994)
* Lalique Lalique (2002)
* Lancôme Trésor (1990)
* Lancôme Trésor Sparkling
* Laura Biagiotti Sotto Voce (1996)
* Paloma Picasso Tentations (1996)
* Perry Ellis 360°
* Prescriptives Calyx (1987)
* sexual - Michel Germain (1994)
* S-Perfume 100% Love
* Yves Saint Laurent Paris (1983)
* Yves Saint Laurent Paris Premieres Roses (2003)
* Yves Saint Laurent Parisienne (2009)
* Yves Saint Laurent Yvresse (1993)

13 comments:

Debs Carr said...

I adore Eternity. White Linen reminds me of my mother, (as well as Shalimar) and I used to wear Lalique.

What a remarkable woman and what an incredible gift she has.

Lexy Harper said...

I love this post! Most perfumes give me headache...lol! I love men's fragrances and have been known to wear them on the sly. I also love a man who smells good.

Liane Spicer said...

Debs, believe it or not I first smelled the man's version of Eternity on a guy. I was blown away and decided to check out the woman's version. Ended up wearing it for eight years. :D

Liane Spicer said...

Hey Lexy! I stumbled across one of your books in an Amazon search yesterday and realized you've released several more. Congratulations! Looking forward to reading them all.

Do you do giveaways? We've started a promotional monthly giveaway on Novel Spaces and you're welcome to join in!

Ayana said...

Lancôme Trésor is my favourite one! It's sublime!

Liane Spicer said...

Ayana, thank you for visiting! Trésor is lovely; it's become my mother's favourite scent. When I'm out with her I've found myself asking: "What's that scent? It's beautiful!"

Liane Spicer said...

Lexy, there are some unisex fragrances on the market that women go crazy over. Calvin Klein's CK One, for example, although I love it on my son too much to wear it myself.

Many of the Hermès scents are unisex and have a fanatical following among women. I suspect you might like some of those. They're also supposed to be very high quality and not headache-inducing.

Chris Stovell said...

Lovely post, Liane. You're so right about evocative scents; my sister has worn 'Paloma' for years and I always think of her when I smell it.

The Divorced Lady's Companion to Living in Italy said...

Another intriguing post. I have a weak spot for Christian Lacroix, almost any perfume of his. Paul Smith's Rose in summer and Chanel No. 5 this winter - last gift from my ex!

It is amazing that one produced has produced so many different scents.

Liane Spicer said...

Thank you, Chris. I haven't smelled Paloma but I'm curious now that I know who the creator is. I feel the perfume mania coming on again... -)

Liane Spicer said...

Catherine, Paul Smith is on my wish list and I love Chanel 5 - the eau de toilette version. I mistakenly picked up the eau de parfum the last time around and it's a bit too much here in the tropics. I'm sure it's wonderful in cooler weather.

Anonymous said...

Sophia Grojsman has just done a line for Wal-mart. It consists of 4 scents and the line is called Love2Love.Pricepoint is $8-$10.

Liane Spicer said...

Thanks for the info, Anonymous. Fascinating that she creates scents for both the high end and budget markets.