Perfumer Nicolas Beaulieu of IFF surely makes a fine portrait of a man who is extremely keen on wine, cookery and history
Certain encounters can change your life and for perfumer Nicolas Beaulieu, this holds true. When he was only fourteen and wanted to become an archaeologist, a career guidance counsellor suggested that Nicolas Beaulieu follow an olfactory path – an indication that suddenly became resoundingly obvious.
Brought up in a house with a large garden, young Nicolas spent his Wednesday afternoons cutting the grass or watching flowers grow, lulled by the operas his parents loved so much. However, neither his family circle nor his Parisian suburb environment predestined him to become a ‘nose’. “I spent most of my time smelling the things around me,” he remembers. “The fragrance of the garden, my mother’s too but also the enveloping smell of my grandmother’s house redolent of Arpège by Lanvin.”
Having never heard of perfumers, passionate about ancient monuments and history, he decided to become an archaeologist until the day he met the guidance counsellor who told him about ISIPCA, the French school of perfumery. Nicolas then visited an open day at the school and came out wanting just one thing: to become a perfumer.
Studying towards his dream
As a student at ISIPCA, Nicolas worked a chain of olfactory experience internships at IFF. Just after he obtained his diploma, he left France to go to Ireland as a raw materials quality controller for IFF. He then joined the IFF perfumery school and settled in Holland where he learned the language of washing powders and textile softeners.
“The restrictions of functional perfumery are far more important that for fine perfumery”, says Nicolas. “You have to master a formula from the opening of the bottle in a store right up to when the clothes are ironed and put away in a wardrobe, not forgetting taking damp clothes out of the machine, all the while trying to reduce the prices.” This method, he still uses on a daily basis. Expatriated to New York, then to Shanghai which he remembers as very exuberant, Nicolas Beaulieu returned to Paris in 2008 to embark on new creations.
A love for all things sweet
As a child, he made cakes and mixed spices according to his whim. Since then Nicolas has always continued to cook. “I love marinated raw fish but I also like to try out new dishes like coubiliac for example, a Russian dish which is a millefeuille of rice, dill, salmon and cream in a crust of flaky pastry!” Gourmet that he is, his face lights just by reading out the recipe.
Greatly influenced by his training at the Laboratoires Monique Rémy (LMR, an IFF subsidiary), Nicolas Beaulieu remembers well the rose harvests in Grasse, or the narcissus ones in Lozère as unforgettable experiences. But this doesn’t prevent him from adoring synthetic materials like aldehydes or others that remind him of raw nature – sharp, harsh greens, from violet leaf to scented cut grass, from galbanum to triplal that he uses with extravagance. “I’m fascinated by powerful fragrant trails, short and simple formulas which get straight to the point.”
SOME OF HIS PERFUMES:
Simply You for Men by Esprit
Fun Sensation by Adidas
Siam Flamboyant by ID Parfums
With You by Sergio Tacchini
Instinct sport by David Beckam