On a windy Monday in August, Tony invites me to his exclusive perfume lab. Having no clue what to expect really, I am super excited to go see how and where an actual ‘’nose’’ works. Conveniently located in Tallinn city center in an office building on Parda street, I find myself stepping into a place beyond time and space. I sense some kind of a shift in my mindset as I try to control my olfaction. The premises ooze mystery and yet everything is perfectly dosed.
First room we go into is where Tony receives his clients and guests and where a stylish presentation of his perfumes is layed out for us. There are currently three perfume bottles with their packaging and samples. Of course I can’t resist and make myself comfortable on one of the two armchairs facing a lushious peonies’ hued wall with T-Perfume’s golden logo in the center. I could almost lose track of time.
But my road to discoveries is still long and so we continue to the next room. It is quite literally the back office. Here too I smell something special that I can only describe as the smell of hard work and dedication. This is a place where Tony spends hours of his workdays preparing orders for clients and making sure business is running smoothly.
But the most fascinating is yet to come. As the next door opens, we step into the magical world of his scent lab. This is something. Technical, squeaky clean and the promised land of all possible fragrance combinations. I make sure my itchy fingers don’t do anything stupid, but all I want is to start sniffing and mixing different aromas. My imagination is simply running wild. I start to fantasize about what could go with what and how I could create my dream perfume. Well, let’s not get carried away now. Tony has spent years perfectioning his skills and I should better leave this insanely difficult work to him.
As we sit down again, he kindly offers me some tea and pastries and I guess all this intense curiosity has sparked my appetite. Then he sprays on me some perfumes that are already on the market and I actually know I love. It sets the perfect ambiance to continue talking about fragrances. But then he opens his secret stash of work in progress scents because he wants my opinion on them. How cool is that !
Now how to act smart and sound intelligent? Obviously I’d like to recognise as many aromas as possible, but it turns out to be trickier than I would have imagined.
No rationality left, only emotions. It feels very powerful, how the first perfume cleanses my head and then suddenly I notice a huge transformation. In all honesty, there is always movement, flow and a sort of element of change to Tony’s creations. The most exciting part is to literally feel it on your own skin. So coming back to this first new work in progress, from the get go it is fresh, spicy, feisty. If you give it some time, it turns into a warm hug, like some comforting sensation. As you wait even longer, and that’s never a problem with us, because our conversations are known to last for hours and hours, you arrive at, what I would maybe call, the endgame of this scent, and it is a tranquil yet sensual undertone. I mean, I am trying my best here to do this perfume justice, but you simply have to smell it for yourself.
Now, the next newcomer that finds its way to my forearm, is a whole nother story. Tony gives me some indications, of what he put into this magic potion and a vague idea of the name it could one day bear. I instantly get him and what’s even more awesome, is that I teleport back to my childhood. Those intense flashbacks of my grandparents’ rose garden make me feel oh so nostalgic. Of course it is wide known that scents have the power to make you remember things and places and moments. This time though it comes over me with such precision. I get the rose petals, the vegetative freshness, the earthiness of the soil, the humidity in the greenhouse, the love and care my grandmother put into growing each and every demanding variety of these beauties. And then Tony’s genious touch, I get the smoke, and the boldness of fire. What a combination ! I can’t stop sniffing my arm, I have become addicted. And then I remind myself that however lovely this emotional timetravel is, I am not that young girl anymore, we all change and transform in time, not only a good perfume, but we, as creators of these memories. Perpertuum mobile…If I had to choose, I’d pick the second fragrance, but probably for sentimental reasons. The first one for sure could come in handy in so many situations in life, where one needs a little self esteem or confidence kick from a perfume.
Now our next topic is framing. My ignorance about this had been complete. I felt like inventing the wheel when Tony explained the reasons behind layering different scents on top of each other. Simply put, two different perfumes will already do the trick. I mean, I wouldn’t go as far as to say whatever two perfumes, but Tony showed me what he had envisioned. And so a unique new perfume is born on my skin. Logical and magical at the same time. Well, truth be told, until recently I had pretty much always been a one-perfume-girl. But this ‘’invention’’ makes me want to play around with combinations. Then again I don’t think Tony leaves anything to chance really, I takes months to come up with variations of molecules and essences that work well together not only on paper but in the bottle as well. And most importantly as I had just witnessed, on my skin. Impossible to leave his atelier empty handed. I rejoyce even more knowing I’ve picked out a unisex perfume for me, because from previous times I remember my husband was very fond of it too. As I walk home from T-Perfume’s HQ I feel my head a bit in the clouds, or is it a cloud of perfumes that follows me around? Who knows. Bottom line is, I can’t help but to feel emotional and I realize the right perfume never really leaves you indifferent. It provides like a time travel vessel to hop on to and take you back and forth in time wherever you dare to go. I guess subconsciously my expectations about meeting Tony that day were quite high but really he did deliver and more. I am genuinely happy that he uses his talent, vision and hard work to create beauty in such a universal way. I am lucky to have gotten a sneak peak into the magical realm of perfume making and I sure hope it wasn’t our last meeting.
Article by T-Perfume’s first guest blogger, Maria Külvja
Maria Külvja, @maria.kulvja on IG