ParfumPlus talks to a perfumer whose journey is an inspiration, Thomas Kosmala shares his love and passion for all things fragrant...
An independent perfumer with a desire to distinguish himself in the perfumery industry, Thomas Kosmala is like an alchemist of scents. Unabashed and relentless in exploring the capabilities of smell, Thomas Kosmala was born with a creative spirit after his revelation on how scents can be used to express one self.
ParfumPlus (PP): How did your love for perfumery begin?
Thomas Kosmala (TK): I’ve always been an artistic soul, and needed a channel to express myself. I used to do weekend jobs with someone working with essential oils and it’s when I realised how scent can be used as a form of expression. Later, I trained professionally in Paris for two years, and set up a laboratory in the South of France. In this laboratory, I usually experiment with diverse raw materials and components before determining a scent I am drawn towards and creating something magical. It may seem like a swift and quick process when you hear the story, but it was a ten year journey.
PP: What is your earliest scent memory?
TK: I’ve always been surrounded by scents and smells from a very young age and I’m one who smells before speaking, or even thinking. I would say my first strong experience with smell was in my mum’s herbs garden, with the mellow smells of raspberry, tomato leaves, basil…
PP: What does a perfume mean to you?
TK: A perfume is a form of expression. For me, wearing a certain scent represents your mood and energy at that specific moment. It reinforces your energy, gives you confidence. So there’s this sort of mystical side to fragrances, and it’s very strong and powerful.
PP: Elaborate a little on the creative process that you follow while making a fragrance.
TK: It truly is a lot of work. Before you even start thinking of your creation, you must have knowledge about the raw materials you want to incorporate, you need to visualise the final product before you create it. It is a process, and the hardest part is to understand raw materials. There are several layers to it and comprehending the many layers and notes of raw materials before creation will help achieve the final vision. Also, raw materials may differ from manufacturer to manufacturer; hence research is vital in knowing the exact type component you want.
Perfumers are not like fashion designers who have fabric to touch and play with, we need to visualise our work before we can smell it. It is beautiful yet challenging. It takes approximately 12-18 months to create a fragrance. Earlier the perfumery industry was locked and hard to penetrate, however in recent times they have become somewhat more welcoming to young talent, which is great as we have fresh ideas and creations.
PP: Tell us about your journey till now in perfumery.
TK: Like in every creative sphere, the journey is always a long one. From a very young age, I’ve always had a strong imaginative vision, across many aspects of life. It was when I moved to London as a teenager, when I began exploring the possibilities of being creative and when I started working with essential oils, it was my moment and I understood I was destined to be a perfumer.
The next natural step for me was to move to Paris, and get a training: a very creative, unique and one-on-one experience that taught me to visualise the different facets of raw materials through music, shapes, and colours. Then Thomas Kosmala Parfum came and with it my first line, the Oud Collection which celebrates the qualities of the essence of the oudh from Laos, with skilful infusions of raw materials in new combinations, thus to make the traditional, innovative. This also comes through with my new Signature Collection, a celebration of my personal best-loved raw materials, which will be launching this September.
PP: Which is your favourite ingredient and why?
TK: Oudh is definitely one of my most preferred raw materials. I find it enchanting, the entire process of how it is made, its energy, its scent, its significance in the Arab culture. Oudh is an undiscovered art, it is almost sacred as it is untampered when found in its raw form.
Oudh is extracted when a tree if infected by a fungus, as the tree tries to fight the fungus, the process creates oudh. The struggle to get rid of the fungus is such a beautiful process and the final creation of oudh is magnificent.
PP: What is one signature trait in all your creations till date?
TK: I think it’s that innovation/traditional balance that I always try to strike with my creations. And I reckon that’s also what makes them so unique for the Middle Eastern clients, with whom I’ve been connected for the past 10 years.
PP: Tell us something about your upcoming Oud Collection and how it will cater to the likes of the Middle East perfume lovers?
TK: The Oud collection is made of two perfumes, Black Oud and White Oud. Although both fragrances have a very prominent common denominator, oudh, they are very distinctive.
White Oud pays homepage to the rare essence of oudh, it is evocative and pure. It reminds one of the magical summers days, with vibrant floral accords such as white rose, jasmine and gardenia quiver. It is musky, yet refreshing and light. Black Oud is more mysterious and bold. It is strong, lavish and refined with fruity notes of blackcurrant and peach, as well as floral hints such as freshly picked jasmine, peony, osmanthus and magnolia with a delicate balance of wood.
PP: Any upcoming creation(s) that you are working on and would like to share with our readers…
TK: I have recently developed my signature collection that I showcased during Beauty World 2016 in Dubai. Rose Absolute, Purple Iris, Amber Sensuous and Vel Vetiver make up the signature collection and will be launched in September 2016.