Monday 26 July 2021


The meticulous way that a fragrance formula is put together means that the links between science and perfumery are clear to see. So, when Ilyas Kakis swapped a career in research for one in perfume it wasn’t too much of a surprise. With a collection of three fragrances now available, I thought it was time to learn a little more about the man behind Ilya Parfums and ask him “Stephan’s Six.”

What is the first smell that you can remember?
Growing up in the Mediterranean I have vivid memories of the huge jasmine bushes. When they’re exposed to the scorching sun for a long time the oils in the jasmine tend to oxidise. That smell around during sunset is definitely one that is stuck in my memory. My favourite memory though would be my grandmother's vanilla cake with orange shavings. Every time that she would bake it, the whole block would smell of vanilla and orange. I’m working on a formula that’s inspired by that memory and that cake, so it will come at some point in the future.

What perfumes did your mum and dad wear?
My mum used to wear J’adore by Dior and every time that she would hug me, or come and pick me up from school, I would smell it on her. It’s interesting that on her the amber notes were more prominent on her skin than the floral ones. I haven’t got any fragrance memories from my dad other than cigarettes and regret; we’ll leave that there.

What was the perfume of your early twenties?
The fragrance that introduced me to the world of perfumery was the original Burberry London by Antoine Maisondieu, which I believe launched in 2006, but when it comes to my early twenties I would say that Nüwa by Roja Dove was the one that I constantly reached for. It was a really interesting find for me and, because I’m a very big fan of soft ambers, I still absolutely adore it.

What was your biggest perfume mistake?
I don’t think there are any real mistakes, it’s always about trial and error and discovery, and everything is a learning curve. So there’s nothing I would classify as a mistake or a disaster. However, I have dropped a few very expensive oils over the years and seen them smash on the floor, so that’s one perhaps, but more from the business side of things.

You can only choose one perfume?
This is a hard question. I love Calyx by Sophia Grojsman, who I absolutely adore and would love to work with, but I would probably pick Musc Ravageur by Maurice Roucel. I think it’s an olfactory miracle. It’s gorgeous. The reason I’d choose this one is because it was a perfume I was wearing for a very long time, and someone special also used to wear the same perfume. So when I had it on it was also reminding me of them.

What perfume should I try?
I would say that you should try our newest launch, which is called Santal Fatal. It’s inspired by the world’s greatest monument of true love, the Taj Mahal, and the story behind it. It’s a very unique blend because it’s very rich at the same time as being very tender, and it’s so evocative. If you love spicy gourmand ambers mixed with precious musks and Indian jasmine, then that would be the one for you to try, definitely.

For more information about Ilyas and Ilya Parfums, or to discover his full range of fragrances, you can visit the website at

No comments:

Post a Comment