Roja Dove, the world’s sole Professeur de Parfums, is without doubt the foremost authority on all things fragrant. Charismatic, witty and charming, what he doesn’t know about accords, absolutes and aromatics isn’t worth knowing. So I’m thrilled that he’s taken time out of his busy schedule to provide some insightful answers for this week’s insider interview…
GG: Biggest mistake men make when using or choosing a fragrance?
RD: Believing that they’ll end up looking like the man in the add or that it alone will make them irresistible!
GG: Best fragrance tip for men?
RD: Choose a fragrance that you feel suits you – don’t just go for the latest thing. No-one likes a man who looks like he’s worked at it too hard or is contrived. If you really feel good with a fragrance then it will most likely work for you. The best way to do that is to spray the fragrances on blotter cards, write the name of the fragrance on the blotter, turn them upside down so that you are not swayed by the brand. Smell two at a time asking yourself which you prefer, discard the one you like least without looking at its name – the one you are left with you now is the one you really like for the smell alone.
GG:Top three male fragrances of all time?
RD: Dior’s Eau Sauvage, Chanel’s Antaeus as a second choice to Egoiste (not platinum or sport) which you can only get from the boutiques today and finally Al Qurashi’s Musk Malook (www.alqurashi.co.uk).
GG: Desert island grooming product?
RD: Jeanne Piaubert’s Suprem d’Avance anti-aging serum – after toothpaste of course.
GG: Biggest change in male fragrance in the last ten years?
RD: It has started to be more ‘masculine’ again. It went through a phase where everything was a masculine variant of a feminine success – Allure pour Homme, Dune pour Homme etc. We are now starting to see overtly masculine imagery again and overtly masculine fragrance compositions.
GG: Next big trend in male fragrance?
RD: Aoud (from a fragrant resin harvested
from the heart of the knotted Aquilaria tree). Tom Ford started it, Kilian comes soon, and many others are hot on their heels – even very traditional brands like Penhaligon’s are dabbling with it – the finest however are the ones from Al Qurashi on Brompton Road as its owner is considered the world’s leading authority on it.
Roja’s definitive book on fragrance, The Essence of Perfume (Black Dog Publishing), is available now from Amazon. Not only is it a beautiful coffee table tome, it’s fascinating reading too and a must have for anyone fascinated by fragrance.