Much like haute couture but for fragrances, French perfume house Henry Jacques has been artfully serving its discerning clientele for over half a century. Its savoir-faire of course, lies in its bespoke perfumes where the wildest olfactory dreams of its clients are daily brought to life. Today, Henry Jacques is helmed by CEO, Anne-Lise Cremona, who is equal parts olfactive expert, healer and artist. As daughter of the house’s founding father, scent and storytelling runs deep in her veins.
“Henry Jacques has a true sur-mesure history and culture,” explains Cremona. “We were exclusively a bespoke perfume house up until the opening of our first boutique in Harrods at the end of 2014. For nearly 40 years we have devoted ourselves to the most exclusive and “crazy” requests of our great private clients.
“The main challenge here was actually to translate all these years of bespoke culture into dedicated collections for our boutiques,” says Cremona. Singapore’s own Marina Bay Sands, for instance, is home to a Henry Jacques store that offers bespoke services. “Our customers benefit from all these years of creation, this unique culture and experience.”
Today the atelier is dedicated to creating bespoke scents, with sur-mesure perfumes immersing both dream and dreamer and the finest natural components, raw materials sourced from far-flung locations and in the most sustainable of amounts to preserve their freshness and potency.
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Behind bespoke fragrances
“A Henry Jacques sur-mesure perfume today is no different from the original,” Cremona shares. “More than ever, we utilise the most precious materials, the most complex formulas to achieve Henry Jacques’ signature trail.”
The four to six month-long process begins with consultations in the Henry Jacques boutique or within the comfort of a client’s home, where organs of scent are presented by the brand’s experts to help determine one’s preferences and proclivities.
“We are lucky enough to have an extraordinary playground: our perfume laboratory in the south of France, where we work with 1,200 components which all have their own history. We are also always on the lookout for new components and accords. It is important to note that some of these components are extremely valuable as they are rare and difficult to source. Some are more precious than gold,” says Cremona.
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Here, the possibilities are truly endless.
“I’m thinking for example, of the essence of iris, certain types of roses, precious woods, ambergris and so many others. All are part of our daily life in the laboratory, we’ve been handling them since forever. Roses in particular are part of our history. We use many different types, each for their unique olfactory personality, and today we are lucky enough to have our own in-house rose plantations, always seeking for the unique note.”
“We work with the same creative passion, enriched by experience. And we always allow emotion to be our guide.”
Once your olfactive personally has been captured, Henry Jacques then initiates the process of creation borne out of decades of experience, intuition, and know-how to create the perfect bespoke scent. In the heart of the house, a laboratory in the South of France, dreams are made tangible using ancestral methods of French haute perfumery. From this vast know-how and almost 3,000 existing formulas within the lab, three proposals are then crafted for approval by Cremona before being presented to clients.
“Our bespoke fragrances benefit above all from a unique heritage. We have been and remain a family business and we use our same know-how as in the past. We remain faithful to the same codes that have built Henry Jacques’ reputation.”
According to Henry Jacques, in almost every case, clients fall in love and find their dream scent amongst the first three fragrances. Of course, should that perfect scent be elusive, Henry Jacques experts endeavour to work on the fragrance until that vision is materialised.
A cleaner scent
Initiated by Cremona, Henry Jacques only uses the finest of organic alcohols in its scents.
“In my opinion, a great perfume should not only be “great’ by name,” shares Cremona. “It was very important to me to create a perfume that was ethical, different, noble and in line with our brand values.” Which is what led her to organic alcohols.
“It stems from an organic agriculture, clean, meaning without chemical treatment, pesticides, heavy metals, GMOs etc… It contributes to the preservation of the environment and hence to our own. Beyond this, our alcohol is undenatured, allowing us to avoid any supplementary additives in our perfume which is some cases may irritate or dehydrate the skin. From my perspective, there are multiple benefits to using organic alcohol, and a brand like ours must offer the best.”
Elevating your bespoke creation
The scent is then christened with name and the final masterpiece presented to the client in a handcrafted leather chest, which is customisable in a selection of colours and finishing. The sur-mesure scent itself is created in a host of different forms and sizes, from oil-based essences, to mists known as brumes or solides, solid perfumes that can be housed in the brand’s patented Clic-Clac device.
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And if a bottle of perfume in a leather chest just won’t cut it, clients can customise more exquisite displays to showcase their one-of-a-kind creation with a design consult with the house’s artistic director, Christophe Tollemer. A world-renowned French architect, Christophe has been known to create a museum of perfumes, and specially designed tree with each branch bearing a birdcage with the bespoke perfumes within them.
From a starting price of $133,000, Henry Jacques continues to bring dreams to life through their timeless craft of bespoke haute parfumerie. And for the likes of its discerning sur-mesure clients, it’s worth every drop.