Interviews The Smell of God: An Interview with Lithuanian Perfumer Aistis Mickevičius

The Smell of God: An Interview with Lithuanian Perfumer Aistis Mickevičius

09/12/16 07:53:46 (10 comments)

by: Lina Radvilavičiūtė


Aistis Mickevičius is the first professional perfumer of independent Lithuania and the creator of "FUMparFUM" perfumery brand. His creations are well known in the Baltic countries. Lately he has been focused on his personal project "The Smell of God" for which he explored the scents of different Italian churches. This led to the creation of 6 different scents inspired by the visited churches. 

Aistis Mickevičius

Lina Radvilavičiūtė: What does God and religion mean to you, Aistis?

Aistis Mickevičius: Despite the fact that I am an absolutely irreligious person, all religions are very interesting to me from an anthropological or exploratory point of view. The phenomenon of God, religious structures, stories of saints arouse curiosity. Undoubtedly, religions are а source of inspiration for the world of perfumery.

LR: What differences and similarities in scents did you notice while exploring the smells in different houses of prayer? What versions or explanations come to mind when trying to understand certain historical settings?

AM: Surprisingly, every house of prayer has a subtle, unique aroma. While collecting materials for the project "The Smell of God”, I visited around 60 different churches in Rome, Assisi, Perugia, the ceramists’ town Deruta. They all smelled different! Of course, generally speaking, they all smelled like churches. However, the impression of significant differences and individuality is caused by various details: what kind and how often resins are being incensed, when the building was built, what construction materials were used for the building, what kind of natural and human interference it has gone through. Even the church’s layout matters for the “acoustics” of smells! All these details are very significant.

Assissi BasilicaAssissi Basilica image from travel-wonders.com

LR: What professional and personal discoveries did this creative project bring you?

AM: Like for everybody who creates perfumery, this “church” theme is a great inspiration. Nowadays, it is hard to find a perfumer who has not been influenced by this in perfumery motifs. For the past ten years, “church” fragrances have been a significant trend in niche perfumery. For this reason, some of my “church” compositions will be turned into my brand’s perfumery products.

Kvepalai bookImage of Kvepalai (Perfume) from www.15min.lt

LR: In your book "Perfume: The Olfactory Stories" you mentioned that every self-respecting woman must have at least one “church-type” perfume. Why? How do you recommend to wear a “church” fragrance for a “non-religious” personality?

AM: Of course, the choice of perfumes depends on a person’s common olfactory knowledge. Therefore heavy and complex “church” combinations can be best appreciated by perfumery gourmands, the ones who are able to evaluate not only the perfume, but also the author’s creative idea and the interpretation of the theme. On the other hand, from a consumers’ perspective, “church scents” is a broad concept and sometimes we wear this kind of perfume as an evening perfume without even knowing it.

Aistis Mickevičius

LR: Which specific “church-type perfumery creations would you recommend as worthy of attention?

AM: Everybody finds their own favorites. I am personally impressed by the creations of Comme des Garçons, dedicated to different religions of the world. It’s Series 3 Incense - Avignon, Kyoto, Jaisalmer, Quarzazate, Zagorsk. I would also mark N-Cigale Pin Mystic and Jovoy La Liturgie des Heures.

LR:“Church” aromas can be perceived by society as old-fashioned “grandma-like” scents. How might we avoid this labeling and criticism?

AM: Society still lacks olfactory knowledge. It is all about stereotypes. Perfumery is a deeper and more complicated science, therefore, any shallow judgments are debatable.  It is impossible to avoid criticism; it is only possible to be understood and accepted by people you aim at. There will always be people who do not like perfumery “kompots (by this name Aistis ironically refers to simple, cliché, fruity perfumes made for mass consumption), and there will always be the ones who have their own reasons to dislike “church-type fragrances.

Top image from FumparFum.com; final image by Lina Radvilaviciute

Lina Radvilaviciute

Writer

Lina is a young chemist from Lithuania. Her early passion for perfumes defined her choice of studies and further career vision. In 2016 She came to Paris to continue her chemistry studies and joined Fragrantica team as a news reporter.

 



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The Phoenix
The Phoenix

I would love to get my nose on his church creations...

I absolutely love myrrh, sage, incense blended with woods.. reminds me of Fahrenheit Absolute actually (without sage). Lovely fragrance, but you have to be in the "churchy" mood...

Sep
13
2016
Kasozo
Kasozo

Finally written about this great parfumer! I love FUMparFUM.

Sep
13
2016
Laurdess
Laurdess

Very well written.

Sep
13
2016
sarahpae
sarahpae

what a GREAT interview... it's very impressive to hear how AM thinks. I really like to try the perfume of God. Thanks Lina!

Sep
13
2016
KajiraSuzanne
KajiraSuzanne

I would love to read more details about his creations.
Other than that, this is a superb article, and he is clearly a brilliant and creative perfumer.
As someone with Lithuanian heritage, I know that our people have a superb sense of smell (there is a reason Thomas Harris chose Lithuania as the homeland for "you-know-who"), hence I am thrilled to see Lithuanian involvement in the world of perfume!

Sep
13
2016
Calvini
Calvini

Details of the 6 fragrances?

Sep
12
2016
NebraskaLovesScent
NebraskaLovesScent

What a great interview! Thank you, Lina, for introducing us to this very interesting perfumer. I love a good churchy incense perfume. The Smell of God is surely going to be divine. (No pun intended.)

Sep
12
2016
perfumecritic
perfumecritic

Great interview and intriguing premise for fragrances. I'd really like to try them!

Sep
12
2016
Islandaromatika
Islandaromatika

Wonderful interview. This man totally "gets" it! Cam't wait to try his range.

"Society still lacks olfactory knowledge. It is all about stereotypes. Perfumery is a deeper and more complicated science, therefore, any shallow judgments are debatable. It is impossible to avoid criticism; it is only possible to be understood and accepted by people you aim at." Amen.

Sep
12
2016
lilybelle911
lilybelle911

I enjoyed this interview with Aistis Mickevičius. Thank you! I don't know his fragrances but I look forward to being introduced.

Sep
12
2016

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