Fragrances for the World

For those who wear them, perfumes are more than just a fine fragrance. They arouse emotions, provide stylish accents and can round out personality. Symrise is constantly working to further enhance this experience. As one way to do this, the company has repositioned its perfume creation unit in the Fragrances division.

“We exist to deliver better living through scent.” This is the core message meant to convey three important points. First, the company is using its own origins as a starting point. Under the heading “Centuries of fragrance mastery,” Symrise is looking back at its founders and their successors. Over 220 years ago they began developing a rich tradition of excellent fragrance creations. These include the De Laire bases, which acted as the foundation for luxury perfumery and influenced many of the world’s legendary fragrances.
“A dedicated way – collaboration to create” is the second piece of Symrise’s fragrance DNA. The company’s perfumers are constantly in contact with each other, as well as other experts like artists, master chefs and researchers to develop the best possible fragrance concepts. There is also a cooperation and mentoring program as well as the Symrise Perfumery School.

The third aspect supplements the repositioning. “Pleasure with purpose” is at the forefront of Symrise’s work. Here, the Group has developed the industry’s most comprehensive and diverse range of aromatic substances – many of which are increasingly becoming sustainable. Symrise focuses on innovation and backward integration that stretches all the way back to the cultivation of the original plants.
Now, three employees from the hundreds in this division explain how Symrise has succeeded in translating these messages into innovative, creative and emotional products.

Alexandra Carlin

As an 18-year-old, I studied literature and wanted to become a writer or journalist. But, one day, I heard an interview with a perfumer on the radio that forever changed my life. The man spoke so passionately about his work and the creativity it offers him that I instantly fell in love with the occupation. I started to study natural sciences, working my way through chemistry, physics and mathematics. Later, I studied at the renowned perfumery school ISIPCA in Paris and started working as a junior perfumer at Symrise ten years ago.

»With fragrant ingredients, I can create something that people wear every day that reflects their moods.«

Today, my dreams have become a reality. Similar to the literary career I initially envisioned, I can bring my imagination to life within fragrances. With fragrant ingredients, I can create something that people wear every day that reflects their moods and, hopefully, positively enhances them.
I gather inspiration for my work from various sources – like art, literature, films, dance, anything which gives an emotion. Also very important, and something I find particularly motivating about Symrise, is the open exchange of ideas with colleagues. I can discuss and share ideas with the roughly 70 perfumers working around the world and collaborate with them on projects. Add in the researchers with whom we develop new aromatic substances or our colleagues from flavors who work with similar materials, yet often from completely different angles, and you have an excellent environment for developing innovative ideas. Perfumers are also very involved in the development of our wonderful naturals from Madagascar since we made a scent expedition there. The job is great because it is so diverse. And it almost seems as though I was destined for Symrise. For many years, I was able to work with the Master Perfumer Maurice Roucel in New York – and I eventually found out that he was the man from the radio interview who inspired me all those years ago.

Alexandra Carlin is a perfumer at Symrise in Paris.

David Apel

The chemist George De Laire pioneered the bases named after him in the 1870s. These bases are elegant mixtures of fragrance molecules, and these particular ones have been the signature of many world-renowned perfumes throughout the years. Mr. De Laire also worked with the founders of Symrise’s predecessor company Haarmann & Reimer. The unique combinations rely on three main components. These include the captive aromatic substances that give a fragrance its unmistakable character, exquisite raw materials and, naturally, the skillful arrangement of these materials.

»Through a part-time job, I wound up in fragrances 37 years ago and have been here ever since.«

A few years ago, we made it our task to refresh this heritage and adapt it to the esthetics and needs of today’s customers. Here, we assessed and analyzed about 700 bases that we have in our archives. We then applied this knowledge to new bases. Along the way, we put a focus on using renewable and previously overlooked raw materials to create exclusive, sustainable and timeless mixtures.
Working on this has been particularly exciting and satisfying for me. Even as a young man, I wanted to work in environmental protection and studied environmental chemistry. Through a part-time job, I wound up in fragrances 37 years ago and have been here ever since. But it wasn’t purely coincidental – I have always been intrigued by the materials, the molecules, oils and resins. Today, I can optimally combine all of my interests. This unique part of our company’s history that we are currently reinvigorating connects creativity and sustainable raw materials with the inspiring craftsmanship of a perfumer.

David Apel is a Senior Perfumer for Symrise in New York.

Anne Cabotin

I never leave my home without a dash of perfume – it expresses how I feel. This relationship to perfume probably has its origins in my childhood. My mother would leave her scarf with me whenever she would go out for an evening, and it smelled of her perfume. For me, it was a token that made the short separation more bearable. Alongside the emotional connection, sustainability has become another aspect of fragrances that I am passionate about. Our planet has only a limited availability of many things, and this is especially true of the raw materials we use in our creations. We can only secure access to these diverse materials for future generations if the delicate ecosystems that support them continue to function. As a mother of two girls and a boy, I often think about sustainability simply out of my own personal interests.

»We developed a sustainability agenda, which we are implementing throughout our global company via ambassadors.«

At Symrise, we are designing processes to be as sustainable as possible, this is our commitment towards a better environmental footprint. Regarding enhancing People’s livelihoods, we foster close cooperation with nongovernmental organizations and sourcing communities on the ground. At the same time, we are working closely with our customers on this topic, such as with Unilever in Madagascar. We also developed a sustainability agenda, which we are implementing throughout our global company via ambassadors.
For instance, we are developing new fragrance molecules that have a stronger effectiveness while using less raw materials. These are also increasingly coming from renewable sources. Furthermore, we have made it a top priority to protect biodiversity as we search for unique materials in places rich with natural treasures, like Madagascar, Ecuador or Brazil.

Anne Cabotin works in Paris as the Vice President Global Account Director and is responsible for the key account Unilever.