Monday 24 February 2020


Didier Gaglewski was born in Grasse and, very quickly, became fascinated with the world of perfumery. Being brought up the spiritual home of fragrance meant that a career in the industry was inevitable and it led to debut collections being presented in Paris, Germany, and Switzerland. I met Didier at his beautiful boutique in Grasse to discover his scented secrets during “Stephan’s Six”.

What is the first smell that you can remember?
My grandfather and my father all had gardens, so I have a vivid recollection of the smell of lilies. It was so impressive, so incredible, and I have many memories of that. Also, my grandmother cooked a lot which could easily be compared to being a perfumer. These early childhood memories are very important to me.

What was the first perfume you remember your mum or dad wearing?
I remember my mother had a perfume but I don’t remember the name. I have a memory of us being in the car, and in that small space it really was too much. It’s funny that I remember that but, for me, it was not a very good souvenir. I wish I could remember the name of the perfume.

What was the perfume of your twenties?
My twenties are a very long time ago, but I remember being very curious. I would change fragrances a lot but it was always in the direction of fresh perfumes. Later on I discovered the woodier notes, so it was a very different style, but at this time I was definitely choosing something sportier.

What was your biggest perfume mistake?
I had a mistake with a perfume that I was making. It was very nice, I liked it a lot, but you really should wait a few months before you make a final decision because, as the ingredients mix together with alcohol, the scent will change. I didn’t let it rest and it went straight into production. The finished perfume wasn’t what I had intended and I was disappointed. So afterwards I reworked the formula, and this time I waited.

You can only choose one perfume?
When I first smelled Féminité du Bois by Serge Lutens it was a shock, it was very new for me, and I enjoyed it a lot. Some people fear to compose something that could be strange, could be different, but here was a fragrance that was just that. I also love the smell of raw materials, for example incense, because they’re like perfumes on their own. They’re just complete. Ingredients that are mysterious, for example opoponax, tolu, or benzoin, feel spiritual and also last very long. Yes, I love that kind of ingredient.

What perfume should I try?
I love all of my perfumes so it would be like choosing a favourite child. They all have their own character. It’s always worth remembering that every fragrance is interesting but not all of them will be interesting to you. So, my work is to try and find something that you would like. I’m going to suggest Cambouis. It was inspired by the scent of a mechanic’s garage and is very masculine and a little rough. I actually went into a garage to work on that and you’ve got cade, birch, and cedar sitting atop hydrocarbonic and smoky notes. It’s everything that I like also in perfume.

For more details about Didier Gaglewski and his full perfume collection you can visit his website at

[Photograph of Didier Gaglewski © Rebecca Marshall]

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