Carlos Benaim, IFF

If you could render a book, song, or work of art in fragrance, what would it be and what would it smell like?
Carlos Benaim: It would be a Rothko painting. I would convey the simplicity and transparency of the superimposed colors through a combination of highest quality ingredients to represent each layer.

Favorite non-perfume smell?
C.B.: The smell of tobacco as it reminds me of my father. He would come home in the evening with his hands impregnated with the essence of pennyroyal mint, and yellowed by his cigarettes, “Craven A”, a British blend of blond tobacco. To me, this combination is more evocative of him than his real portrait.

What’s your idea of perfect happiness?
C.B.: “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” I was reminded of this quote by Ghandi during an incredible recent trip to India.

The three qualities that got you where you are today are:
C.B.: Curiosity, tenacity and humility.

What is one thing you learned at school that you still use today?
What I learned is a way of thinking, organizing your thoughts – a rational approach to problem-solving. This is something that has been useful throughout my life.

Honorine Blanc, Firmenich

If you could render a book, song, or work of art in fragrance, what would it be and what would it smell like?
Honorine Blanc: It would be one of Gerhard Richter’s abstract paintings: a blend of purity, simplicity and technique. For my fragrance, I would choose natural ingredients and Firmenich’s Captive molecules to create a new abstract and addictive olfactive texture. The structure of this formula would maintain certain artistic qualities such as simplicity and purity.

What’s your idea of perfect happiness?
H.B.: Perfect happiness is being emotionally content – having the feeling of floating. It’s not about tension or full satisfaction; it’s about letting go.

Best advice you’ve been given?
H.B.: Follow your heart; trust your instincts; never give up.

What are the three qualities that got you where you are today?
H.B.: My curiosity and hunger for learning, an ability to focus, and the quality of my relationships.

Favorite travel destination:
H.B.: Being on a sailboat anywhere.

Shyamala Maisondieu, Givaudan

If you could render a book, song, or work of art in fragrance, what would it be and what would it smell like?
Shyamala Maisondieu: Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. It would smell of patchouli and vetiver with some green lentisque notes on top and a lot of black pepper.

Favorite non-perfume smell?
S.M.: The smell of home especially after I've been away for a while...a mixture of white flowers, my spicy Malaysian cooking and incense.

The three qualities that got you where you are today are:
S.M.: Patience, persistence, and curiosity.

If you could use one word to describe the power of fragrance, what would it be?
S.M.: Attraction.

If you could tell the world anything about fragrance, what would it be?
S.M.: Nature is precious and if we don't take care or respect nature, it would make our world a less fragrant place to live in.