Monday 30 November 2015


The boy who famously pestered Robert Guerlain into giving him a job, Roja Dove has never lost his passion for fragrance. After twenty years he left Guerlain to open his Haute Perfumery in Harrods, selling only the fragrances that he loved, before finally starting to create his own. What would he make of "Stephan's Six"?

What is the first smell that you can remember?
I remember the grounds at the rear of my grandparents, there was a woodland which became carpeted with bluebells. The contrast of the undergrowth, with its earthy scent of decay, and the odour of the fresh, sweet flowers is one I still cherish.

What perfume do you remember your mum or dad wearing?
My mother had an array of perfumes which she kept in a cupboard by her bedside. I used to steal into her room and un-stopper the bottles, inhaling their aroma in secret. My mother was a wonderful woman and she is the sole reason that I do what I do. When I was very young, maybe five or six years old, I was in bed and my mother came to kiss me goodnight. I remember her standing at the entrance of my room in her golden cocktail dress. The smell of her scent together with the one of her face powder pervaded me, and it was at that moment that my life's pathway was laid out before me. (That memory was the inspiration for A Goodnight Kiss).

What was the perfume of your twenties?
Mitsouko, one of the most perfect harmonies the perfumery world had ever smelt. I wore the scent every day for 30 years but then one day, as I started a new bottle, I sprayed it on myself to find that it did not smell the same – the formula had changed. (Thierry Wasser has now thankfully restored it).

You can only choose one perfume, what would it be?
As big-headed as it may sound, I would choose my own perfume. I created it for myself using all the ingredients I love the most. It is a deep, rich, resinous Chypre which goes by the name of ROJA, and to me this is the epitome of how I like to smell.

What was your biggest perfume mistake?
I wouldn’t say anything is ever a mistake, just a learning curve. Something you may think was great when you were younger you look back on now and grow from it. It is all part of the journey of scent throughout one’s lifetime. 

What perfume should I try?
Scent is subjective, so far be it from me to tell anyone what they should or shouldn’t wear. All I will say is it is important to avoid buying into the latest craze and purchasing a scent based on the bottle, an endorsement or a marketing brief. Try as many as you need to until you find the one that is truly ‘you’.

Roja has just opened his new boutique in London's Burlington Arcade, where the full selection of his incredible perfumes can be found.

No comments:

Post a Comment