Oliver Valverde of Oliver & Co. Artisan Perfumes
February 22, 2012

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Interviewed by Bettina d'Onofrio
EDITORS NOTE: The Perfume Magazine always welcomes the opportunity to introduce our readers to new faces of the niche perfume industry. This month, Bettina d'Onofrio speaks with artisan perfumer Oliver Valverde from Spain.


Bettina d’Onofrio: Oliver, thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us. Can you tell me when you launched brand?

Oliver Valverde: The project began in 2008, but the final brand launched in May 2010. It takes almost one year to create a good wax blend for the candles :-)
BdO: Your website says, "everything must be done by hand." So, exactly how many hands are doing all the work?

OV: At the moment, I am alone. I am doing everything from creating, bottling, packing, and shipping.

BdO: You say that you are an autodidact and a self taught perfumer and you describe the creation process with the words "drop by drop". So do I have to imagine you sitting there with pipettes and then really doing a trial and error?

OV: Yes! Like an old alchemist. I do not have a degree in either pharmacy or chemistry, but I trust my intuition. For me it is more important than the formative years.

BdO: How long did it take you to develop each fragrance until you felt it was perfect?

OV: Sometimes it only takes 2 trials, other times it can take 20 or more trials. Next year I will launch a formula that was perfect for me in the first trial.

BdO: At present your creations include one Eau de Cologne (La Colonia) , 3 Eau de Toilettes (Dunard, M.O.U.S.S.E and Gincense) and 7  candles. With which creation did you start your work? 

OV: M.O.U.S.S.E was my first perfume, but I originally started with 5 candles: AMBARINA, TUBEROSEN, MUSKAL, SANTALUM, and TERRALIUM.

BdO: In describing your company’s philosophy, you have said that "The intention is being able to create perfumes with awesome ingredients and all the ingredients must be of the highest quality. And everything must be done by hand".

I noticed that the 3 of your fragrances are limited editions with 133 pieces. Are these 3 fragrances limited due to the quantity of the raw materials?

OV: Yes and no. I’ve used several ¨hard to find¨ ingredients. It´s true that some of them may not be available for the next year, or not in the same quality. Also, the other part of it is that I think I am still a young perfumer to have a big collection. So, I will see after the limited edition. At the moment, I will produce M.O.U.S.S.E for the permanent collection along with LA COLONIA.

BdO: This leads me to the next question: at some point these 3 fragrances will be entirely sold out. Are you already working on new fragrances for your line?

OV: Yes, I am preparing new fragrances in order to create a permanent collection. I think 4 or 5 perfumes.

BdO: Do you create fragrances based on emotions or memories?

OV: My typical work method is not to work around these usual feelings. I tend to start a creation with no feelings in my mind; just selecting the ingredients and, in an abstract way, giving shape to the formula.

BdO: Your fragrances are made of 70%/80% natural ingredients and 20/30% synthetic ingredients. Is this a ratio with which you achieve the best results in a fragrance?

OV: Yes, I use naturals for the main notes and then I add depth and other dimensions with the synthetic ingredients.

BdO: At present your creations are sold in Spain and in one location in Portugal. Are the majority of your customers from Spain and Portugal?

OV: Spain for sure.  I don´t have any point of sale in Portugal anymore. They didn´t seem to respond to my products. I don´t know why... I have to explore other markets.

BdO: Do you see social media outlets such as Facebook as an important instrument for you and your work to get exposure to a wider number of fragrance lovers all over the world?

OV: For sure. I know the potential, but I must say that I tend not to be a very active member of those networks. I definitely need to change that.

BdO: Do you have plans to sell your fragrances in the niche perfumeries in the rest of the EU and the US?

OV: I am so happy, I am working with a distributor in Italy and Germany. I think I will be able to sell in the EU within the next year.

Thank you so much Oliver for taking the time to answer the question. We wish you much very much success for the future.

Oliver's line currently consists of 4 fragrances: Dunard, M.O.U.S.S.E, Gincense, and La Colonia and 7 candles: Ambarina, Henolia, Santalum, Tabacle, Terralium, Tuberosen and Fig Pulp.

All products can be found on his website: www.oliverandco.es.