ZENOLOGY’s path to creating MENDO ‘Libri’
Interview with ZENOLOGY Founder Jeroen Oude Sogtoen and In-House Perfumer Fredrik Dalman
First off: can you tell me a bit more about ZENOLOGY?
Jeroen: “After a career in fashion design, my partner and I created a concept for a boutique hotel in Amsterdam. Part of the guest experience are the hotel amenities, miniature cosmetics. I was looking for green products in a luxury design packaging and couldn’t find this on the market. Then I decided to start my own hotel amenity brand, that would later have evolved into ZENOLOGY. I like doing things on my own with a focus on credible luxury. Sure, I would need a technician, but I know I could create a car if I would want to. That’s how I am in life; I dive right in. In a short period, I founded ZENOLOGY and Maison Mona di Orio; a perfume house based on the same principles I apply in all my work. Credibility is key. Since I start working with our In-House Perfumer Fredrik Dalman on a daily basis, I realize what sets us apart from companies; we can capture olfactory stories and create a true sensorial experience.”
‘I wanted to mimic the feeling of a page between your fingers.’
‘I wanted to mimic the feeling of a page between your fingers.’
How did you establish the MENDO Libri fragrance?
Jeroen: “We started with an extensive conversation about our work and how we look at aesthetics. MENDO’s Roy and Thijs brought some books – they all contained different smells and comprised different textures. From there, Fredrik and I knew where and how to start this journey.”
Fredrik: “My aim has been to translate the full gratification of reading a book into an olfactory experience. It’s so much more than just images and words on paper and the beautiful scent of all the components that has gone in making it. It would be folly to leave out the feeling of turning a page, the weight of the book on your lap, the way light bounces of its pages. I have tried to capture all the above in my creation for MENDO. I felt early in the process that the cork absolute, one of the core notes of this perfume, would provide an olfactory way to explain the things I mentioned above. It’s a material which is both expensive and rare, giving this scent a very original DNA. The creation of a fragrance is in many ways like walking down an unknown path, full of treacherous crossroads. Sometimes you strain off the path, which can lead to a find of great importance and sometimes you have to find your way back. I keep mixing and smelling different materials, using the cork absolute as my guiding light. It’s a fascinating process of constantly trying new things and to learn the beauty of trial and error. Anyone can put different oils in a bottle but the complicated part in developing a new scent lies in finding the perfect balance. To take an already existing olfactory idea from your mind and find a way to bottle it.”
How did you come up with the idea for an ‘Ambiance Trigger’?
Jeroen: “I always saw big sprays hanging on cleaning carts in hotels, and thought: we should be there. That’s when I came up with our iconic Ambiance Trigger® – they’re our best-selling product line. Including the new MENDO Libri fragrance, there are now eleven Ambiance Trigger fragrances available. They’re all very specific. It sounds blasé, but most room sprays are of poor quality. They’re either very unhandy or too small. Our Ambiance Triggers are very practical, they’re equipped with a liter-big tank and professional spray that shoots big, perfumed clouds.”
How important is perceiving odours or scents?
Jeroen: “We are primal creatures, so smell is one of the most important senses in our lives. Most people have lost the power to interpret a specific scent. It’s all about synesthesia: one sense can trigger other senses. That’s why I think composing a fragrance is like composing a melody, or creating a sensorial story. Smells can trigger powerful thoughts and memories, which can have a huge impact on any experience. A fragrance can perfectly translate someone’s personality, or establish who someone wants to be.”
How does that philosophy construe to MENDO and the Libri Ambiance Trigger?
Jeroen: “When I smell Libri, I smell an intellectual fragrance. Because of the cork absolute, it contains the dryness of paper without losing the warmth and softness of a pleasant fragrance. I think MENDO is a very manly store, and Fredrik managed to capture that masculinity in Libri. Sometimes, constructing a fragrance can be a tough process, but because of the strong signature and vision of both MENDO and ZENOLOGY, we knew what Libri should be.”
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