Interviews Neroli Animalis: Blooming In A Stable

Neroli Animalis: Blooming In A Stable

09/16/16 14:04:39

by: Sergey Borisov

I'd like to start my report about new fragrances from Pitti Fragranze 2016 with a perfume which combines two of my favorite features, – citrus flower and animalic accord – it is Neroli Animalis by Maison Incens. Horse and flower.

At the Maison Incens booth, I sprayed the fragrance on my skin and at a paper blotter, and asked Philippe Constantin about his new creation.

Sergey Borisov: The name of your new fragrance explains itself – Neroli Animalis – and says also about its structure, with neroli in the top over an animalic base.

Philippe Constantin: Yes, neroli oil, fleur d'oranger absolute, petitgrain and bergamot oil, a lot of citruses in the top notes.

Orange blossom flower

Sergey Borisov: And then something animal-like, oud-like smelling in the base notes.

Philippe Constantin: It is an ambergris accord, Ambroxan, of course, and the Animalis base.

Sergey Borisov: Do you mean that the famous Animalis base known for many vintage perfumes is still in production?

Philippe Constantin: Yes, Synarome produces both of the Animalis bases.

Note: A perfume base is an accord composed of natural and/or synthetic materials and made to simplify the process of perfume creating. Usually, a perfume base costs less than a pure material. For example, a jasmine base is much cheaper than a jasmine absolute. The Synarome company has two bases under the name Animalis, but with different ID numbers and odors. The first is Animalis 1745-03, it smells like tonkin musk, warm and round, with balsamic, leather, costus and civet nuances. The other one is Animalis 5853, it possesses a woody musky odor, quite dirty animalic, reminiscent of a horse stable.

Sergey Borisov: Neroli Animalis smells like a citrus cologne from the 1950-60s, a very fresh citrus fragrance with a huge woody musky trail; as if we traveled in a time machine and took a new one from the time after WW II.

Philippe Constantin: You are right, except for the time machine. Our Master Perfumer, Jean Claude Gigodot, is a time machine by himself because of his vast experience in perfumery.

Sergey Borisov: I also feel like the neroli-fleur d'oranger part of the perfume is created in the air of Au Pays de la Fleur d’Oranger, for which Jean-Claude regularly creates. So I have a mixed impression of both a modern cologne and vintage perfume, say, Neroli Blanc EDP by Au Pays de la Fleur d’Oranger mixed with a vintage Mais Oui Bourjois.

Philippe Constantin: But on the skin it is totally different. In the beginning you smell the fresh but sweet Neroli, and then, later comes the warm and dense Animalis. And in our case it’s a woody Animalis base, not the Tonkin musk Animalis base.

Philippe Constantin , the art director for Maison Incens

Sergey Borisov: I also smell caramel in here...

Philippe Constantin: It comes from the benzoin and plum accord, as well as the fleur d'oranger part of the Neroli base created by Jean Claude Gigodot. The sweetness is definitely not from the Animalis base which is more like a horse smell.

Sergey Borisov: So there is more than one base in the fragrance?

Philippe Constantin: Yes, we started by creating the fleur d'oranger base, and I wanted something more complex for Maison Incens perfumes. So we took the fleur d'oranger base and we started doing something totally different. So we had some different ideas to try – first, we worked on Ambrarome, second, we worked on Animalis, and third, we worked on a hard leather accord with castoreum, and some others. All of them were interesting, but I found this one was the most elegant perfume of them all, more chic, as you said, it more reminds me of the 1950’s and the idea of Belle Epoque.

Sergey Borisov: And you told me before, that the perfume reminds you of your childhood?

Philippe Constantin: Yes, it smells of Marrakesh and Maroc – all those horses, camels and caleches (well, carriages), and blooming orange trees, and dust, and a lot of people… and the fragrance is very HOT, in the meaning that it smells like hot skin. For me Neroli Animalis smells very Maroc-like. I am inspired by Maroc a lot, because I was born and raised there.

Market place in Marrakesh

Sergey Borisov: Are there any links to the previous story of Maison Incens? The legend of fantasy, those dragons and mystic trees, and the magic power of smells?

Philippe Constantin: Yes, this is the perfume of Amazons, the warrior women, the women soldiers.  They are beautiful and dangerous, they are horse riders and they fight for their freedom with anybody who wants to limit their freedom.

And those Amazons just fight for their right to be as well-respected as men are, to be equal to men. So they should be strong and powerful, but they are not aggressors like men are. And we could imagine Amazons as beautiful, independent women.

Sergey Borisov: Does the fragrance have any links with Au Pays de la Fleur d’Oranger? As you work for both brands…

Philippe Constantin: No, there’s no links, the perfumes are totally different and the emotions are different as well. Well, the evident things are Neroli and perfumer Jean Claude Gigodot – we share that with Au Pays de la Fleur d’Oranger. But the thing is Virginie Roux (the art-director for Au Pays de la Fleur d’Oranger) would never choose this perfume for her collection, it’s too heavy, too animalic and too dirty for her French brand.

Neroli Animalis Maison Incens

Top: bergamot, petitgrain, orange blossom;
Heart: neroli, geranium, floral notes, woody accord;
Base: benzoin, ambergris accord, marine notes, Animalis accord


Sergey Borisov has been involved in perfumery since the early 90`s when he had his own perfume-devoted program “Close to Body” on Krasnoyarsk radio (1993). As a perfume enthusiast (known as moon_fish), he became famous in Russia for his translation of  Luca Turin's Perfume: Le Guide. He collaborated with GQ, Vogue, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Interview, Forbes, Allure, Robb Report, Flacon, Departure, RBC-Style, TSUM-Magazine (2008-2016). His own online columns for,, and (2006-2015) have earned him international recognition and an invitation to be an editor for the Russian edition of “The Little Book of Perfumes” by Luca Turin & Tania Sanchez.  In 2013, Sergey joined the Fragrantica team.


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