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Experimental Perfume Club

Constructing scent with perfumer and founder Emmanuelle Moeglin

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Perfumery is a complex art, but Experimental Perfume Club is changing the game by putting the power of scent in your hands. A series of workshops kick-started it all, and now, perfumer and founder Emmanuelle Moeglin has distilled the teachings of her Hackney lab into Layers, an exclusive collection that allows you to create bespoke fragrances at home. Visiting the EPC Lab, we look inside Moeglin's method, in a bid to find the key to the ultimate perfume.

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Have you always had an interest in perfume? Yes, since a very young age, around my teenage years when I started to develop a fascination in collecting small perfume bottles.

What's your earliest scent memory? I can't remember being struck by a specific scent memory at a young age, but one thing I remember very well is my first weeks at ISIPCA, the perfumery school I studied at after university. For the first time in my life, I felt fully conscious of all the smells that were surrounding me. Learning about fragrance and how to smell is really a sense awakening experience and something you continue to develop all your life.

How did you learn the art of perfumery? I studied at ISIPCA; it's one of the most well-known perfume schools near Paris. Before this, I spent my summers working as an intern at fragrance companies like Givaudan. After ISIPCA, I started a career in fragrance development, where I trained with perfumers and fragrance evaluators who have been my mentors. Now, trading as an independent perfumer, I continue learning every day and take inspirations from all visitors of the lab, professional or just fragrance aficionados.

How did Experimental Perfume Club come into fruition? Originally, EPC was a project that was born out of the idea to provide an educational platform and community to bring fragrance knowledge to the general public. EPC has never been thought of as a school, and the casual and experimental aspect has always been important - while remaining very serious about fragrances of course! It then evolved into a lab where we design bespoke fragrances for companies and individuals.

What's the concept? The concept is to bring perfumery and its wonder to the public and open people's eye and noses to scent and fragrance. Creating your very own fragrance through education and experimentation is key to what we do at Experimental Perfume Club.

How does it feel to be a new brand in such a competitive market? It's quite exciting! There are lots of other brands out there, but each have their own DNA and olfactory signature, so I believe there is space for a lot of brands.

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What can students expect from the classes? To learn lots and to awaken their sense of smell - I call them nose-opening masterclasses.

Layers allows the wearer to custom blend their own scent. How does it feel to relinquish control? Well, I'd say it's something that I've done since the start at EPC: putting people in control of what they create. That's the whole concept of the EPC Lab. So, I think giving people a little bit more space and a voice in perfume creation is, in fact, very exciting!

Is there a secret to creating a winning blend? Fundamentally, I don't think so. History has showed how some fragrances have won people's attention after a few years of being around. Not everything is a hit straight away! Perfumery has changed a lot over the last few years with more spaces dedicated to niche fragrance so essentially leaving more space for the creative juices. There are certainly trends that the market follows and they are strongly driven by cultural preferences.

As a Frenchwoman, what does it mean to be creating perfumes proudly made in London? It's an interesting time to be in London because there are lots of creatives here and great ideas happening, and from what I see and the people I meet every day, I'd say the London scene and its huge creative power should not be overlooked! I'm very proud to be part of this.

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Does your environment influence your approach to scent? No, I don't think so. Time does more than my environment. I grow learning more, liking more and experimenting with new things.

How many perfumes do you own? I probably own over a hundred fragrances. Most of them are used for my work and not necessarily to wear them.

What are your favourite scents? I like subtle fragrances because I tend to be bothered by too strong scent. I rarely wear fragrance on an everyday basis because it would interfere with my day to day work, so I tend to lose the habit of wearing fragrance for pleasure. If I was choosing a fragrance to wear for myself, I like wearing the Hermès Jardins and Cologne, they are fresh citrus fragrances.

Do you have a favourite 'real world' scent? Yes, I love the smell of all the spring flowers bush that you smell everywhere in the countryside from early April through summer, such as the elderberry flowers and honeysuckle. They all have something delicate and sweet while still being very distinctive in the air.

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