By Allison O'Rourke
Being the first Italian perfumer to win the Coty Prize, an international award for perfumer of the year, Lorenzo Villoresi is one of the hottest perfumers in the industry today and with a wildly popular fragrance house in Florence, Italy, he knows what smells good. Growing up in the Italian countryside, Villoresi was influenced by everything from the scenic natural environment of his youth to his extensive studies in philosophy and psychology.
In 1990, after travelling to the Middle East, Villoresi started his fragrance house by focusing on single elements and quality ingredients. Also unique and original were the bottles and packaging which consisted of chic lead crystal, hand-worked sterling silver, alabaster, and travertine marble. These prized materials were important in the individual attention that Villoresi gave to the creation of each fragrance from his namesake.
A designer, in the true sense of the word, he is one of the few independent perfumers today who creates everything from the bottle and stoppers themselves to the fragrances that fills them. He notes, “it is an artistic and traditional process, but also revolutionary in a way.”
His fragrances echo the ancient routes of Tuscan merchants from the Renaissance, complete with spices and essences including influences from the Orient. Marrying local elements like laurel, olive, and cypress with more exotic ingredients, Villoresi has fused the timeless art of perfumery with his own modern day interpretations.
You certainly won’t find any mass-produced fragrances here. Every scent created by Villoresi pushes the boundaries of perfumery as we know it today. Blending classic ingredients with rare essences, he is one of the true master perfumers. A few of the stand out favourites from his collection are Acqua Di Colonia, based entirely on essential oils of bergamot, lemon, sage and rosemary; it refreshes the mind and the soul. A warmer scent, Alamut is reminiscent of travels to the Orient, with notes of rose, jasmine and exotic flowers. Heady tuberose, ylang ylang, and orange blossoms create a clean olfactory sensation like no other. Lastly, the woody musk base dries down to visions of a cool, moonlit evening.
An aromatic creation inspired by the ancient Mesopotamian paradise of Dilmun, we find fresh soil, sun, and lush fruits are evident in one whiff of the top notes of citrus, green leaves, and neroli. A heart of laurel and incense ground the scent, while vanilla and sandalwood lend an aristocratic air of precious gems and pearls.
Villoresi’s expertise has been sought out by iconic names like Fendi, Louis Vuitton, and Armani to produce fragrances and potpourris. He noted that “these were very positive learning experiences. With those customers we could start collections and I was able to study distillations, plants, and essential oils.”
His approach to perfumery is very free; he attributes this to being self-taught. When we asked him how he acquired such a vast knowledge of the art of perfumery, he said “if I saw something, an ingredient, that I didn’t have, I would collect it immediately. I took chemistry classes and learned how to mix certain aromatics. I use natural and man-made ingredients in my fragrances.”
When BN asked Villoresi about his custom fragrances, he explained the process that both he and the client go through. “I do not make the fragrance. The customer uses me to make it. It begins from the desires of the client. I only serve as the intermediary and I mix the scent in front of them as they tell me what they are looking for.”
After the initial consultation, Villoresi offers soaps, eau de toilettes, shampoos, and conditioners based on the original scent. Some of the popular creations from the House of Lorenzo Villoresi are his potpourris, including Piper Nigrum, which harnesses pungent essences like woods, nutmeg, and incense.
When asked what helps him to create these elegant fragrances, he replied “the key is to never be satisfied, to make improvements. My ideas and visions are fuelled by my passion to search for the very best ingredients from all over the world. The entire process from beginning to end is a labor of love for me.”
For more information, visit http://www.lorenzovilloresi.it.