15 October 2021

Inside Guerlain’s L’Art & La Matière Collection

Guerlain perfumer Thierry Wasser gives HUNGER the scoop on the creative process behind the fragrance collection.

Elevating fragrance to become a work of art, L’Art & La Matière echoes that irrepressible love of beauty, the very spirit of the House of Guerlain since its founding.These fragrances allow the finest raw materials used in perfumery to boldly shine, revealing them under a new light and raising the scent up to the rank of full-fledged artistic masterwork.

A classic since 2005, we caught up with one of the creators behind the collection, House of Guerlain perfumer Thierry Wasser, to delve into the collection’s mystique.

How would you describe your creative process?

Even if creating a fragrance starts from a brief, an idea creating a new scent can take years. At the beginning, we think about a scent with different notes, and by testing them all together we can decide to change the mix and find a new way to create the ideal scent. But this can take a long time. It is like a musical partition that the compositor will adjust and rectify again and again until he finds the perfect harmony he was looking for at the beginning.

I don’t try to follow commercial perfume trends as I don’t subscribe to many rules in the process of fragrance creation. That said, Jacques Guerlain established in 1921 an olfactive signature called Guerlinade that finds its way into all our creations, composed of bergamot, iris, vanilla, tonka bean, rose and jasmine. I am a creator, I have always loved doing new things and trying to express myself through perfumes.


Is there a particular ethos or creative approach guiding the L’Art & La Matière collection?

The common element which unites all of the fragrances of L’Art & La Matière collection is undoubtedly the exceptional quality of the raw materials and the way we pay tribute to them in the different scents. Each fragrance in this collection is based on a single star ingredient, clearly differentiating each fragrance from the others and from other perfumes offered by Guerlain. This collection allows me to pay respect to a single raw material by putting it under the spotlight, like Rose Barbare, Tonka Impériale and Néroli Outrenoir.


How did you go about sourcing the ingredients for the L’Art & La Matière collection?

We source all our raw materials the same way: locally in close relationship with our partners the farmers and the transformers.

Photographer: Nicolas Gouhier

Walk us through the process of creating the collection?

This collection has existed since 2005. The aim is to strongly express one or sometimes two raw materials by putting it or them under the spotlight. This exercise showcases Guerlain’s mastery in sourcing and in creating the best fragrances in the high end perfumery realm.


Are there any particular scents in the collection which you have a strong connection with?

As a favourite night-time scent, I think Santal Pao Rosa naturally lends itself to candlelit evenings at home with its seductive Australian sandalwood and slightly naughty, earthy rose.


What are your aims for the collection?

Like I said previously, a collection like L’Art & La Matière allows perfumers to put the spotlight on one or two raw materials. The public is then able to discover the wonders of one or two natural ingredients


Finally, what makes the collection unique?

This collection is unique, vibrant and audacious because of its distinct approach to fragrance design. Each fragrance in this collection is based on a single star ingredient, clearly differentiating each fragrance from the others and from other perfumes offered by Guerlain.


Discover the L’Art & La Matière Collection via Guerlain.com

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