Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Baruti; an interview

Indigo by Baruti
Part I: an interview with Spyros Drosopoulos

- Thank you Spyros for the time you speared for this interview. So where to start? Let's talk about where this all happened to you to be a perfumer?

My interest in how perfumes are made intensified after I discovered what is called the “niche” market in 2006, at the age of 30. Not that I didn't care for perfume before. Actually I have always had a keen interest in smelling objects. But before my discovery of “niche”, perfumes fascinated me more as a means of communication. I was intrigued by how much a perfume could influence the way the wearer was perceived by people around him/her. The discovery of “niche” turned perfumes into my primary focus of attention, and with that came the desire to learn more about how they are actually made. At 33 (while I was still working at the University of Amsterdam) I took a perfume workshop for the first time. There, I learned the very basics of blending. I knew then that I’d found what I always wanted to do, the one occupation to cover both my scientific curiosity and my need for artistic expression. After that, things took off rather rapidly. I would purchase every ingredient I could get my hands on (natural, nature identical or man-made), smell, blend, and evaluate the result.

- So you're a perfumer with different background. It would be interesting if we know your personal idea about artistic aspects of perfumery.

Well, to me art is a language, like English or Dutch you name it. And so an artist is someone who uses that language to express themselves. The degree to which an artist is able to communicate his/her message is what makes good art. So to me any object created with the purpose of transferring some kind of message beyond the actual function of the object qualifies as art. So a painting (no matter how skillfully painted) that is purely decorative is not art, same way the business report of Baruti is no art either, for they are objects created with a function/purpose and they don't transfer any message beyond their actual function. A perfume that was made just so people use it and then smell good, is no art either. It can be artisanal for artisanal refers to craftsmanship, but not art. The way I see myself I think the perfumes are both art and artisanal. They are skillfully made and they convey a message that goes beyond their function

- I have Indigo by Magnetic Scent on one wrist and Indigo by Baruti on another. Seems there's a big evolution or let's call it change cause the two Ingido's are seriously distinct.

They are and they aren't, with the new version I came closer to my original objective which was an amber perfume for summer wear! the biggest difference is the toning down of the hyacinth, but other than that the formulas are essentially identical.

- I see a sensible difference between Indigo of Magnetic Scent and Indigo of Baruti. Maybe it's because of the oud accord you use in it, it's imitating of leather/amber accords.

To me the old Indigo is clearly amber/incense dryout. The new one is less incensy. Actually in the old perfume I was using an oud-base as well but I never declared oud on the pyramid because a) it wasn't real oud b) I wanted to avoid indigo be put away as yet another oud fragrance c) the note played a supportive role anyway. The only reason I now put NOOUD in the pyramid of Indigo and Berlin in Winter is because it is my own base so I don't have to explain anything about oud. Also with NOOUD out there people can actually smell it and decide if it reminds them of oud at all...Due to the hyacinth being toned down the mastic comes forward much better in the top which is a positive thing as I love the mastic.

- How many études you did till you eventually found new Indigo is done?

I looked that up 17 the thing is that initially I didn't intend to change the formula, but I just couldn't resist not to fix some minor flaws I had discover with the old version. But then I revisited some even older version and found some aspects I liked there as well and so brought them back in, so actually the new version is a mixture between the Magnetic Scents version some even older ideas and some new ones.

- Personally, as an architect, what I'm interested in your perfumes in the matter of appearance is the keen attention of details in every aspects; beside the smells packaging, bottles, pattern, and logo in both Magnetic Scent and Baruti are carefully designed. It's amazing, and I don't wonder if you say you supervise all the process of production and design to get the very desired result in appearance beside the smells you blend.

Yes I do, but I also allow the people I work with a lot of freedom because I want them to love what they make for me as much as I do, and this only happens when they can put their soul into something. Besides when you open yourself up to new things you often end up with much better things than your original objectives, and so in the beginning of the creative processes is like noise too much happening and you see what sticks to what it transforms and so on!

I found the octagonal motif of Indigo and patterns on other Magnetic Scent perfumes quite architectural and arty

- Which house or perfumer influences or encourages you the most?

I think it's no big secret Alex [Alessandro Gualtieri] has been a big influence on me, also Geza [Schoen] and Bertrand Duchaufour. I also like Maurice Roucel for his ability to take up any project he likes, whether it's Red Delicious or Musc Ravageur. Personally, I still refuse to settle to something that would qualify as a signature. One of the things I love about creating is enjoying absolute freedom, and thus a signature feels like limiting myself which is contra intuitive to how approach what I do.

What is your most beloved perfumes?

Although I never ever actually sat down to make a copy of something, I think the original Wode by Boudicca (Geza Schoen) and China White (Nasomatto) are the only perfumes I actually spend hours smelling and thinking how they could have done it (I totally love both of them). Happily for me I have decoded them sufficiently (or so I think), to be able to identify what I love about them and internalize that onto my own palette (big smile).

- Do you prefer natural or man-made ingredients? Which sits better for your olfactory ideas?

I understand that for some people this is a meaningful distinction but to me it is not. For what I make I couldn't do without one or the other. I can understand natural perfuming from a marketing point of view and I can see where the anti-perfume reaction of many people comes from. But, apart from the fact that (as with most things) the term "natural" is so poorly defined that many perfumes claiming to be (all) natural are actually not, anyone seriously believing that natural perfumes are "healthy" and the ones also containing synthetics are "harmful" has little to no idea what they're talking about.

- You have begun a powerful start with the six perfumes of Baruti that I think a part of which is for the experience of Magnetic Scent and a big part is; for sure; for your deep passion and interest in the field of perfumery. With this uprising diagram of success I'm curious about your next projects! Would you like to tell us about the next projects? What type of perfume you're going to design?

Well I'm working on about ten things at a time. This is because for one I have too many ideas and also because designing perfume is a slow process. You can only make a certain amount of trials per fragrance in a week (one day you make it, let it sit overnight, then you evaluate the work which you need at least two days before dryout hits in so...). I have two more Indigo remixes I work on, one really powdery dirty sexy version and one where the leather/tobacco is pushed over the top, then there is Tindrer and the Jasmine, I'm making a perfume for my daughter and a couple more. There are also some collaborations coming up as well, but it's all still too early to really make predictions and set release dates. For now I'm focusing on the current line even six fragrances is quite a lot to start with so stores and people need to digest these first before I offer new perfumes. But yes I think for the next 5 years I won't have anything remotly related to a writers block :)

- Thanks again Spyros for the time you dedicated to this interview :)

Carpe Odor!


Ali Mellati said...

Nice interview, thanks.

Farbod Gh said...

Many thanks for this fabulous interview. Baruti have made me so curious since two months ago. Hardly can wait to test them.

Keiwan Mashhadi said...

Thank Ali and Farbod, I have to imply that it was actually Spyros' kindness who speared this time and passion for this interview :)