insight - Roja Dove Haute Parfumerie

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Occupation - Perfumer

Tucked away on the fifth floor of Harrods is a glittering, glistening treasure trove of the world’s finest fragrances: The Roja Dove Haute Parfumerie at Urban Retreat. Here, Roja hand-picks a selection of scents for Oryx readers from his already elite collection, and tales unravel as we discover the fascinating story behind each one.

Against an opulent backdrop of black lacquer furnishings, mirrors, and silk, each perfume 
is hand-selected by fragrance specialist 
Roja Dove himself for the Haute Parfumerie, based on its own merit.

“This is literally the only perfumery in the world which is not obligated to take all the perfumes of a brand that we have an account with,” he says. “Every scent that’s in here I have chosen because, in my opinion, it is the very, very best example of its type. It’s irrelevant 
to me whether the scent is a week old 
or a hundred years old.”

Indeed, some of history’s most coveted fragrances and exquisite vintage bottles that have been lost over the past century have been given the kiss of life, brought back into exclusive production for the Haute Parfumerie at Roja’s personal request.

As the most quoted fragrance expert in 
the world, Roja Dove’s depth of knowledge comes from 15 years of training as a perfumer at Guerlain, and an unsurpassed passion for what he does, which becomes apparent when he begins to talk about fragrance 
and the effect it has. “The lovely thing about my job,” he explains, “is that when people book a consultation with me, if you have, say, a mother and daughter, or two people who really know each other intimately, the scent they end up discovering, when the other person smells it on them, they always say 
the same thing: ‘That smells like you’; which 
is just so nice to hear. Another wonderful thing is that scent is kind to everybody. 
When a woman of 60 ends up smelling 
a scent that she knew when she was 18, 
she again is that 18-year-old woman. Scent transcends age, size, colour…it can make someone feel good and walk an inch taller.”

Quelques Fleurs
HandMade Special Edition

“Made by Houbigant, one of the oldest perfume houses 
in the world, it was the perfume house of Marie Antoinette, and many famous people in history. The scent Quelques Fleurs is the definitive classical reference of a floral bouquet, and if it had never been made, all the famous perfumes, like Chanel No. 5, couldn’t exist; they all come off this formula. They’ve made for us a bottle that is decorated with gold, done totally by hand, and each 
of the designs is a golden flower. There’ll be less than 
20 pieces made and we’ll be the only place you’ll find it. 
It has a very rich floral bouquet but the beauty of it is that it has a slight freshness to it.”


“The bottles were originally made in 1853 as a wedding present to Napoleon III and his wife the Empress Eugйnie. Most people outside of France don’t know who Eugйnie was, but without her we’d have no haute couture. She started haute couture – her clothes packer was Louis Vuitton – and we see her effect still today. Guerlain were her perfumer and those bottles were decorated totally in gold, painted 
by hand.”
Individually priced.


“This bottle is made out of one piece of solid amethyst. 
To be able to make that bottle they have to find a piece 
of amethyst three times bigger. It’s cut and polished by 
a diamond cutter and then drilled out. The base is ebony, decorated with 18-carat gold; even the screws are made by hand.”


Nina Ricci ‘Sleeping Beauties’
 “I call these the sleeping beauties because they needed somebody to kiss them to bring them back to life. 
Four of the fragrances they remake for me, you can’t 
buy them anywhere else, and they’re in their original Lalique bottles; they’re stunning.”


Pure Distance
“We have this exclusively; they’re Swarovski crystal bottles, and what I love about these is that Swarovski 
is normally cut to look like diamonds, but these are 
just plain cubes – they come with either gold or chrome, and the scent is in a test tube that you can just drop in.”

Gold – US$3,530
Chrome – US$2,250

Roja Dove Trilogy
“I launched my first range of commercial fragrances and I have a very beautiful bottle, made in Baccarat cobalt blue crystal and it was originally made in the 1930s but I managed to find a little cache of 12 bottles that had never been used. And so I’ve made an edition of three of each of my three fragrances, and the other three bottles I’ve kept. So it’s maybe one 
of the smallest editions of fragrance that exists in the world.”

Scandal – a huge white floral perfume with tuberose as the main ingredient, and gardenia, jasmine, white rose, and orange blossom sitting behind it.

Unspoken – a warmer, drier scent based around woods and mosses with 
a sweet sensuality of jasmine on the top. “I called it ‘Unspoken’ because I like the idea that a scent sends a message 
without you needing to say a word.”

Enslaved – a very rich, warm, 
sensual, soft scent – an oriental perfume. “I gave it that name because in a very 
old family dictionary one definition of ‘enslaved’ is to become a prisoner of love, and I love the idea that either you fall in love with the perfume, or somebody falls in love with the perfume on you.”
Parfum 100ml – US$500
Eau de Parfum 100ml – US$170
Parfum in Baccarat bottle – US$2,160


Joy Baccarat
A limited edition of inscribed Baccarat Pure Parfum bottles are created each year for Jean Patou Joy. During two weeks in summer, several kilos of blossoms are harvested from 
the Jean Patou flower fields in Grasse to achieve the 
10,600 flowers required for just one bottle of Joy perfume. “Joy is one of the miracles of perfumery where the sensuality of jasmine sublimates the cool elegance of rose.”


“The bottles are like nothing else on earth, made using 
a technique called cire perdue, which means ‘lost wax’. 
The technique is basically not done any more, because when you make a lost wax piece, the mould for the stopper is made in wax, which allows a much finer detail than most moulds, which are metal. But when you put the crystal into the wax mould, the heat of the crystal makes the wax evaporate, hence it’s lost. So each piece has to have its own mould.”
Women’s – US$5,190
Men’s – US$4,040


Ombre Rose
“Made by Jean-Charles Brosseau, who was 
the milliner for Yves Saint Laurent, and when he had this perfume made it came in the black bottle. I told him I needed something special for my perfumery, so he made it in gold, which we have here exclusively. A lot of people think it’s a rose-based perfume, which it’s not. 
‘Rose’ in French means pink, and ‘Ombre’ means shadow, so it’s the shadow of pink; 
the shadow of happiness.”
30ml – US$250
180ml – US$700
Large bottle – price on request


A very English perfume house called Grossmith has been resurrected by 
a descendant of the family, when 
he discovered he was a descendant, and I helped them remake three of their most famous perfumes. They also discovered that originally their bottles were made in Baccarat crystal and they have just had the three perfumes remade in the original Baccarat bottles with incredible engraving on the front, filled with pure gold.”
Set of 3 – US$26,000

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