Nose talk : Julie Massé

Julie Massé has been a perfumer at Mane since 2010. She didn’t grow up in Grasse but in Japan, where she lived until she was 5. A graduate from the ISIPCA school in Versailles, she started her career head first in raw materials, at Firmenich’s Quality Control department. She was then a junior perfumer there, under the mentorship of Pierre Bourdon, before she joined Mane’s Fine Fragrances department, where she was able to develop her creativity by the side of Christine Nagel. Julie Massé has just created Blanc de Courrèges, a juice that milestones the rebirth of the house’s olfactory creations, as well as the spread of wings of a young (and lovely) perfumer.


In everyday life, do you trust your flair?
I am a wholehearted person. I tend to completely trust my instinct, my feeling. They rarely get it wrong. I follow my intuition, and it gives as good as it gets.

Which fragrance(s) do you wear?
My skin is the main tool I work with. I only wear the fragrances I’m working on. Living with my creations allows me to follow the way in which they evolve, and to get feedback from my circle of family and friends.

Which place in the world left your nose the best memory?
With each of my travels, I always bring back olfactory memories. The first that comes to my mind is the intense, solar smell of frangipani flowers I could smell in Sri Lanka.

What is the worst thing you’ve ever smelled?
The worst thing I’ve ever smelled also brings me back to one of my travels. During a vacation in Indonesia, I found a market in Bali where all the different smells made up an unbearable whole. Rotten meat, dust and dirt mixed in the ambient mugginess. A rather unpleasant olfactory memory!

What is your nose most useful for when you are not working?
My nose is useful everyday, to smell new things or enjoy new tastes. Each new olfactory discovery is followed by a new emotion, even sometimes a new inspiration for a future creation! That’s the very magic of smell!

What are the smells that bring most memories to your mind?
The smell that comes to my mind is that of the tatami. I have spent my childhood in Japan and this smell brings me back to the house where I used to live with my family. A very natural, slightly dry, woody smell, which I am attached to.

What does your place smell like?
My home has a sweet smell of orange blossom and Orcanox®, an ingredient developed by Mane which smells of ambery wood. This fragrance spreads all over my apartment thanks to a few candles I put here and there.

Can the smell of someone influence the way you feel about them?
It’s actually the opposite. The way I feel about a someone will influence my opinion on their perfume. All it takes for me to like a fragrance is to smell it on a person I love. That person and their fragrance will then make up an indivisible whole that I stay attached to.

What is the worst olfactory faux pas?
As a perfumer, I try not to have preconceived ideas on olfactory tastes, so that I always surpass myself, try new blends, new olfactory associations. The key is to always dare and never fear that the result won’t smell good. This can lead to good surprises.  

And what does your nose tell you about the future?
For now, the future smells of iris and patchouli, the main notes in Blanc de Courrèges! Who knows what it will be later…!





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