At just 28 years old, Jerôme Di Marino, under the direction of Francis Kurkdjian (his mentor), is launching L’Eau Intense (Intense Water) by Carven. A fragrance who’s name says it all.

I had the pleasure to meet this young perfumer in a beautiful private drawing room in the hotel Nell, tucked away in the ninth district of Paris. I wanted to learn more about the history, the process and the latest Carven creation who Di Marino describes frequently as an ‘olfactory oxymoron’.

I hung up my hat in Paris.

When I asked him where he grew up, Jerôme told me he lived a little bit everywhere in France, “It’s a bit complicated… 10 years in Haute Savoie, 10 years in Nice and almost 10 years in Paris !

This made me think that soon it will be 6 years that I’ve hung up my hat in Paris. Paris is nothing if not the place of beauty, inspiration and endless possibilities. Like me, Jerôme Di Marino is in madly in love with this city.

So much so, that he can’t imagine moving to another region of France, “just for the cultural richness that Paris offers”. And it’s true, there are a million and one reasons to love and be loved by Paris. For example, the love of the great shopping scene. But for Jerôme, it’s the endless number of exhibitions, the chic addresses where you can go out to enjoy yourself, to party, to eat, “just…life.”

There you have it, a beautiful and epicurean way to live life. I’m in!

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The starting point.

We’re in a room discreet from the public, a cross between a chic modern library and the game room of a highbrow. The bottles of the new fragrance and its accompanying products were carefully displayed around us, leaving an ambiance of finesse floating in the air.

I always thought that there was something very poetic in the composition of a fragrance. Beyond the chemical aspect that is also fascinating (everything that is complicated fascinates me. It so happens that in high school, math, science and I were no great love story), emerges a sublime aura that mirrors poetry.

It can be sweet without being light, bold and yet not aggressive, a true sensory metaphor with infinite possibilities.

By the way, this is not the first time that Carven called upon this dream team. With his mentor, Jerôme had previously co-launched Carven Absolu —the perfumery’s latest women’s fragrance. A quote from the infamous Colette comes to mind, “The search for a perfume follows no other path than that of obsession…” Jerôme explains to me that the starting point was the formula of Carven pour Homme (Carven for Men); a fragrance I know very well and that I wear when I find myself going to a party. Simplicity and elegance concentrated in a single spritz.

If L’Eau Intense takes its inspiration from that, I already know that I will love it… and buy it!

A story, an inspiration.

L’Eau Intense is thus a continuation of Carven pour Homme. “The idea was to find a way to bring a new contrast, to create a new story and to bring that story to a different olfactory universe, all while keeping the central theme in line with the original.”

Pushing this contrast to the extreme, L’Eau Intense is enveloped in graphic simplicity—a crisp white front like a button-down shirt with transparent sides—all while keeping the same refined, masculine shape of the other Carven bottles.

It’s all a question of balance.  

The fashion style of Carven, is all about the ambivalence between dynamism and relaxation. On the fragrance side, there is a duality of freshness and intensity. “The trick was to create a balance, a better way to express a single message in a harmonious way.” Was this goal achieved? Without a doubt.

Pssscht (I hear as Jerôme sprays a sample). I discover the new cologne. Jerôme looks at me. What do you think? He asks. It’s good…very good! I respond and we laugh.

I learned that the development process of a fragrance can take months or even years before it is ready; depending on the degree of creativity and the challenge to deliver the end result.

With Francis Kurkudjian, the goal was to create a fragrance that was fresh and yet intense with a strong, intriguing wake. A task that took nearly 8 months to realize. “The difficulty was in finding a balance, as it is quite easy to overwhelm the senses…Finding the adequate dose so that the new aromas present themselves without the base overpowering them and vice versa.”

The olfactory oxymoron.

Grammatically speaking, an oxymoron is a figure of speech which pairs two contradictory words. To the nose, this is expressed by a note of grapefruit “with bitter, zesty facets” of Italian lemon, mint and aldehyde (such a pretty word) that give a cold effect, almost glacial “that’s for the freshness”.

For the intensity, we work with an elegant woody aroma associated with cool spices like cardamom and ginger “who round out the signature scent.” I understand that these are two very different concepts that react to create the desired olfactory oxymoron. I’m smarter now than I was in high school 🙂 Check and mate !

 

A solar perfume for a daily use

The personality of Jerôme Di Marino reflects that of his fragrance: fresh, intense yet subtle.

I ask his advice for the fragrance, the ideal moment to wear it. For the young perfumer, L’Eau Intense is a day-time fragrance, suitable for daily use, distinguished yet accessible. “That’s what gives it its charm.”

Contributor photos Jérémy Guetté