Sophie Labbé

Parfumer of Rose Magnetic


Essential Parfums

What perfume would you have liked to create ?

Mitsouko by Guerlain. It was my first olfactory shock …  This iconic cyprus diffuse a lot of depth, intensity and the peach note brings something captivating.

What perfume do you wear the most when you are not working ?

I often wear Patchouli Tentation by Bvlgari. This is one of my few creations that I often wear ! Mitsouko by Guerlain is also one of my favorite perfumes.

Who or what most influenced you to become a perfumer?

It all started when I read an article in Jacinte magazine highlighting the profession of perfumer and mentioning a school, Isipca. My family is not at all from the perfume industry and when I discovered this profession, I wanted to enroll at ISIPCA and meet perfumers. That was in 1985. I simply called Jean Patou, to meet one of the biggest fashion and perfume houses of the time, and Mr. Jean Kerléo. It was a decisive meeting. I discovered his universe. He made me smell ingredients and shared with me all the facets of his job. I told myself that this was exactly what I wanted to do. Later on, I took the competitive exam for the perfume school in Versailles, ISIPCA, and I found Jean Kerléo who was then president of the admission jury!

How do you work on a new perfume ?

First, there is a meeting with the designer, a brand manager or a marketing team. They will give us the inspiration through a brief. I then develop the creative idea that interprets the story and bring it to life through a perfume. The exchanges with the teams are crucial to understand the brand’s values and desires. As a perfumer, my role is to listen and create what they imagine while adding my own touch. It is important to think out of the box and suggest innovative ideas. I like to collaborate and also to surprise. I try not to be where I am expected to be in order to propose a strong and different olfactory idea.

Why do you love creating floral and romantic perfumes ?

Beyond floral fragrances, what inspires me is creating perfumes reflecting nature in all its beauty. I love gardening and gardens inspire me a lot. I see a connection between gardening and perfumery in terms of patience and passion required to bring a fragrance to life. I also like the poetry flowers inspire. For example, when Colette described gardenia in her herbarium, she said she could feel both the green note like a moss (it’s a small mushroom) and at the same time its very creamy, milky, crunchy and it could easily become a very bewitching perfume, very rich like a tuberose. And indeed she had identified the possibility of a gardenia, to be very fresh or on the other side very carnal. Flowers carry so many possibilities and sensations that I can’t get enough of them. The creation of Rose Magnetic for Essential Parfums fascinated me because it was a beautiful challenge to work around the queen of flowers, so complex and multiple.

What are your other great passions besides perfume ?

I love to travel, garden and read. I read much more than I did a few years ago. My favorite author is Aki Shimazaki, a Japanese-born author who now lives in Canada and writes in French. Her stories are very short but very powerful emotionally, with multiple points of view, about life and love. I like the titles she chooses for her books, they are always related to nature, to flowers or plants and it touches me. I wish I could write, it has always fascinated me to find the right word, the sentence generating emotion.


During your career, you had the opportunity to change compounding houses several times. Did you need to readjust to their ingredient palettes ?

Changing palettes is actually something that gives me a boost of inspiration. When I discover a new ingredient, whether it’s natural or synthetic, it opens up new possibilities, it’s like a Christmas gift ! That’s something I really liked when I arrived at Firmenich, discovering all these new ingredients from research, exclusive molecules, natural ones, and also innovative tools, like the EcoScent Compass application. This digital tool allows us to track our ingredients, their environmental and human impact. It opens up new possibilities in terms of olfaction and eco-responsibility. And of course, discovering a new team and collaborating with new perfumers is also very stimulating.

If you had to choose one perfume to take to a desert island, which one would you choose?

If I had to choose only one, it would be Emporio Armani. It’s my husband’s perfume, I created it in 1996 and it has remained faithful to him.

What next accord for Essential Parfums would you like to create?

An iris, a noble flower with woody accents.


Leave us a message

send an email