“I created Smoke by accident.” The musings of perfumier Kathleen Currie are as thickly poetic as the opulent fragrances she blends. Smoke, her first commercially available scent and current infatuation was created after a period of experimentation with various essential oils for personal use. Currie says, she “loved the way the vetiver base enveloped me.” Vetiver, a grass native to South India but widely cultivated in Louisiana and other Tropical regions, has an earthy, fresh quality. Smoke’s citrus beginnings gradually shift to reveal a passionate, almost spicy finish. InvadeNOLA sat down with Currie after the unisex perfume oil’s launch party to ask a few questions about the business of making people smell sexy.
First off, can you give us a hint as to some of the elements that comprise Smoke? The grassy vetiver base is a strong presence, but there is so much more texture there.
Sorry, I’m really possessive about my recipe. I prefer to let the fragrance speak for itself. One thing I’ve always loved about the world of perfume is that the carefully guarded recipes add so much to the magic of such an intangible art.
How long did it take to perfect the blend?
I’m not sure exactly how long it took…the whole thing was very organic. I began by mixing drops of various essential oils for my own use. Definitely at least few months of tinkering to come up with the current recipe.
Does your studio look like a witch’s lair with bottles of brightly colored liquids and dried flowers everywhere?
Ha, I wish! I actually make Smoke by hand in the tiny kitchen of my studio apartment in the French Quarter. So when I’m not mixing the scent, the supplies get shoved on a shelf so I can cook. I do have daydreams of a witchy space one day, complete with potions and beakers.
The cyprus packaging is so elegant and modern; how did you decide on the design?
I always envisioned Smoke being packaged in something exquisite and unique. I could not have realized this vision without the help of my incredibly talented team: Lisa Cohn who created the logo and helped design the wooden vessels, and Matthew Holdren who not only helped us realize what was actually possible, but also sourced the reclaimed cypress and built each one for me. It was a really fun collaboration… lots of trial and error to get to the final design!
Smoke is available for purchase at Defend New Orleans, Friend, Blue Dream Vintage, and SOPO.