Fanny Bal parfumeur Les Bains Guerbois
Fanny Bal parfumeur Les Bains Guerbois

fanny bal

The interview Les Bains Guerbois

Define “2018 Roxo Tonic” in three words.

Energetic, Sparkling, Addictive.

Your favorite cocktail?

In fact, at my perfume launch party for the Baths, your bartender made a cocktail inspired by my perfume, and I think it’s the best cocktail I’ve ever had!

What is your first olfactory memory?

One of the first: my mother’s perfume Rive Gauche by Yves Saint Laurent, from which I borrowed a few sprays at every occasion.

Where does your passion come from?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been curious about scents, but I discovered the perfume business while studying chemistry and that’s when it all started.

What does your typical day look like?

When I can, I like to start my day with a short morning run, which gives me a nice energy for the whole day. After having my tea quietly, I start by reading my mails and organizing my day, even if it is very rare that this plan goes as planned!

Then, the first thing I smell when I get to the office are the background notes from the tests I did the day before.

From this, I prepare changes on these notes and send them to my assistant.

That’s when my colleagues usually start coming to see me to work on our projects, and the day goes by with team discussions and evaluations.

Do you have any “fetish” raw materials?

I particularly like the musks, whose patina so soft and sensual brings a unique character. I also love cashmeran, which is found in Alien and orange blossom.

Do you use natural, synthetic or combination materials? Why?

Both of them! Each one reveals the others, it is always a game of balance between the different types of ingredients and their characters to arrive at a nice harmonious composition.

Your favorite place to find new olfactory inspiration?

The best ideas often come from a discussion with friends, colleagues, or Dominique for example! We are lucky enough to be able to travel with perfumes every day, which makes this job so exciting!

How do you train your nose on a daily basis?

Actually, I used to train it by smelling the raw materials by olfactory family, but now that it’s my job, I do it without really realizing it while working on the projects. However, I always try to put on the nose on “real life things”, like flowers of course, desserts, an old book, well anything that could be inspiring!

How do you know when the fragrance has reached its peak?

There comes a moment when you feel that the perfume reaches a balance, a signature and a singularity. We could always go on, endlessly, changing things, but we have to know how to stop and when I find these three elements, it is a sign that we are there.

The song that stimulates your creativity?

I don’t have any one in particular, but I often have songs of the moment that I like to listen to while creating, and right now it’s the latest Milky Chance album.

Do you wear your own designs?

I wear the projects I work on almost daily. It is essential to live a perfume, to feel its evolution during the day to reach this famous balance. I also have a few perfumes that I like to wear on certain occasions, even if they are not mine, like Portrait of a Lady by Frederic Malle, which I often wear for a dressy evening.

The future of perfumery. Do you think that algorithms will be able to complement your work as a nose?

Artificial intelligence tools and algorithms can be a great tool to accompany the creation, that perfumers can choose to use, to consult, then to follow the recommendations or on the contrary to divert them! It is an additional tool in our palette and the technology opens up particularly interesting possibilities.

Which characters inspire you on a daily basis?

It may seem obvious, but Dominique, who has taught me so much about the profession of perfumer, remains a great source of inspiration on a daily basis, as much for his technique as for his kindness and simplicity.

Have you ever created a fragrance for a specific person (child, parents, friends, celebrities, etc.)?

I have a very good friend who is getting married this summer, and she honored me by asking me to compose the perfume she will wear for the happiest day of her life!

Are there big differences (method, approach, spirit) between the houses you have worked for? Which ones?

Each house has its own history, references and signature. When I composed for Les Bains, for example, we talked a lot about the history and the spirit of the house with Jean-Pierre, we came regularly to the Roxo to immerse ourselves in the place, and this allowed me to choose ingredients that reflected this spirit almost naturally. That’s the way I work, I like to dive into the DNA of the brand to find creative ideas!