From an outsider’s perspective, perfume making has long been considered mysterious, a secret practice among a handful of initiates, more akin to alchemy than art or chemistry. But over the last decade, as the independent perfume market has expanded and connoisseurship has spread, people have taken greater interest in the craft. This talk throws open the curtains that have concealed — sometimes intentionally — the profession. How does one become a perfumer? What does the work involve? How do perfumers think and smell? How do they judge their creations?
Mark Buxton was born in Derby, England. When he was eight, his family moved to Germany, where he completed school and began studies in geology. In 1985 he enrolled at the perfume school of Haarmann & Reimer, in Holzminden. In 1988 he relocated to Paris, and in 1997 he joined the company Creations Aromatiques (known as Symrise after 2003). In 2011 he founded his own company (Mark Buxton Perfumes/Perfarium), and for 2012 he plans to open a niche boutique in Paris. Buxton has created perfumes for the world’s most renowned fragrance and fashion houses, including Givenchy, Jil Sander, Joop, Paco Rabanne, Versace, and Van Cleef & Arpels. About Buxton’s fragrance 2 Man, for Comme des Garçons, the perfume critic of The New York Times wrote, “This perfume is not just extraordinary. It is perfect.”