Interview with Frederick Bouchardy of Joya Creator of “Ames Soeurs”
April 23, 2012
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By Lynn Morgan

How did you meet M.J. Rose?

I didn’t know her previously. We were relatively new to one another when this began. Business friends introduced us.

What was your initial response to The Book of Lost Fragrances?

I loved it. I read it very quickly and it just flew by! There aren’t many books in this vein dealing with perfume. She uses history as a backdrop for the story she is telling. The Book of Lost Fragrances is basically a mystery, and creating a fragrance is like solving a mystery: assembling a puzzle, discovering the pieces that will make it come together.

How did Âmes Soeurs come about?

I worked exclusively with one perfumer: Raya Vega, who has created many fragrances for us. We used the book as inspiration. We selected scents that had a religious or ritualistic flavor, and then we had our way with them! The top notes are  tamarind, Cyprus and grapefruit; the middle is rose bulgur, ginger and orange blossom, and the dry-down is cedar wood, incense, amber and sweet musk, so the overall effect is orange blossoms, wrapped in smoke, incense and musk. It comes as oil. That gives it an intimacy, and a sense that the oil will change and evolve on your skin over time. It doesn’t have the same effect as spraying it on from a bottle; you have a much more intimate relationship with it.

How did you begin making perfumes?

A. Backwards. I started with a home fragrance company. We had a collection of candles and diffusers called “Perfume in Porcelain”. We started adding more fragrances to the line, and because our customers responded to the tactile nature of the products, we decided to add body products to the line. Perfumes evolved from there.

Is Âmes Soeurs the first perfume you’ve created that was inspired by a novel? What are your usual sources of inspiration?

It’s our first collaboration with a writer, but it won’t be the last. We’ve collaborated with designers- fashion; furniture or industrial- and artists before.

What do you find inspiring?
Music inspires me. Design. History. Food. My friends’ art work and art by others I admire.

What are your favorite scented materials to work with?

The range of possibilities gets me excited! I’m not overly fond of sweet scents. When you get a really good, high quality jasmine, it’s not that sweet. I don’t like gourmand scents very much. I produce a lot of different kinds of perfumes and different products have different requirements. I’ve always thought that one of the most attractive things about perfumery is that it allows people to go their own way and explore their own ideas.

Orange blossoms, jasmine, frankincense and myrrh- how did you select the notes that comprise Âmes Soeurs?

We were guided by M.J. Rose’s description in the book, but we didn’t follow it exactly. It’s a little like cooking: a chef doesn’t always follow a recipe to the letter. We wanted a floral that evolved into something deeper, smokier and ancient.

Is Âmes Soeurs going to be a limited edition?

We’re launching it at Henri Bendel in New York. Later, it will be available in about ten stores around the country and on our website, There will be a super limited edition of solid perfume: a total of fifteen, packaged in a porcelain vessel, trimmed in 22 karat gold.

Customer response will determine the ultimate fate of Âmes Soeurs: if the demand is there, we will keep producing it.

How do you define what you do?

My creations are more about the experience than practicality!

Joya Studio
Frederick Bouchardy