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Penhaligon’s new perfume will make you smell like a boss

Alberto Morillas' latest masterpiece
Penhaligon’s has launched The Impudent Cousin Matthew, a new addition to their Portraits collection. And the master perfumer behind it, Alberto Morillas, tells Buro. Middle East why having an indestructible passion is essential to what he does...

With the addition of Penhaligon’s The Impudent Cousin Matthew, the fragrance world is a rich place right now. The olfactory talent that is Alberto Morillas brought this fragrance to life with his unique Mediterranean touch. With his forward-thinking, artistic ideas and strong alignment to sustainability, The Impudent Cousin Matthew is an exciting concoction. 

Can you tell us about your love story with Penhaligon’s new eau de parfum?

To create this perfume, I selected three main ingredients that I love for their uniqueness and for how they complement each other: mandarin, petitgrain and patchouli. The result is a wave of fizzy freshness contrasted with a magnificent quality of patchouli that brings depth and power to the composition. I played with opposite textures (juicy Vs. dry) and sensations (hot Vs. cold) to create this very contrasted cologne.

Can you tell us about the inspiration for the fragrance? Was there a particular way you approached this project?

To pay tribute to Cousin Matthew’s impudence and audacity, I decided to reinvent the traditional cologne structure. Although colognes usually have a more classic feel, this fragrance shakes things up, giving the cologne a brand-new personality. The fizziness of petit grain triggers a fresh breeze that is enhanced by mandarin. Dazzling and vibrant, The Impudent Cousin Matthew states its presence with its mysterious and fascinating patchouli base.

What’s the most incredible thing that inspired you for the new creation?

The brief given by the brand was the beginning of my brainstorming. I was looking for something authentic and elegant, to embody Cousin Matthew’s personality. Then, I searched for disruptive ingredients to bring audacity, boldness and an unexpected vibration to the composition. That’s why to me, Cousin Matthew as a character was really at the center of my creative process. The quest to find the perfect perfume to illustrate his impudence became an obsession!

Could you tell us more about the creative process?

Like a craftsman, I have an indestructible passion for the creation and it is necessary to have this passion every day. All of my fragrances come from this devotion for creation: for me, perfumery is an emotion. Almost all of my formulas are written by hand. My handwriting is my emotion. When I write the formula, I can smell the perfume. At the beginning, I always focus on a base accord which will be the “key” of the fragrance. It is a combination of ingredients around a strong idea that I will develop all along the project to fit with the DNA of the brand.

What’s the most outlandish detail you included in the fragrance?

Like an artist, I admit I love to maintain the secret of the perfumer! No matter the number of ingredients in a formula, the most important is that I want to share my inspiration and my vision for the brand. I like to shape sincere olfactive experiences.

Were you able to be eco-responsible in the creation of fragrances?

Firmenich is engaged in responsible sourcing of treasured natural ingredients. We source and craft the most precious, innovative and sustainable natural ingredients. This represent 150 spices, supplied by 100 producers, locally sourced in 40 countries, contributing to the livelihoods of 250 000 families.

What strong emotional memories do you associate with the fragrance? What particularly touches you about the fragrance Cousin Matthew?

Looking for inspiration and new ideas when I work on a new perfume project is the most exciting part of my job! In the brief, the brand gave a very accurate portrait of Cousin Matthew, the character for which I created this fragrance. As they said, he is educated and gallant but also surprisingly cheeky.

Do you have a favourite essential oil or ingredient in fragrances that you like to work with?

Because of my Andalusian origins, I do have a preference for ingredients that bring freshness and vitality to fragrances, such as the mineral saltiness of the air, citrus fruits and delicate Mediterranean flowers including jasmine, tuberose, neroli and orange blossom. These ingredients remind me of the sun and long summers. I also cherish using Firmenich specialties as they bring specific uniqueness in the signature. Among them, musks are my favourites. I like the purity and the abstract aura they convey.

What makes a great fragrance?

A blend of originality, sensuality, and inspiration are very often key success factors. Then, the fragrance must be in perfect harmony with the universe of the brand for the alchemy to work.

The Impudent Cousin Matthew is out tomorrow (1 March) across the Middle East

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