Interviews An Interview with Perfumer Viktoria Minya

An Interview with Perfumer Viktoria Minya

03/18/13 05:37:49 (5 comments)

by: Sandra Raičević Petrović

Perfumer Viktoria Minya has had a very "out of  the ordinary" career. Before devoting her talent to perfumery, she obtained diplomas from the famous Oxford Brookes University and the New York Advertising Agency, plus she worked in HR Management. She then learned the basics of formulation at the Grasse Institute of Perfumery, in the South of France, where she excelled in her studies. Later on, she worked for various perfume creation companies and finally decided in 2011 to follow her own heart and created PARFUMS VIKTORIA MINYA. The company launched the first of a series of fragrances, called HEDONIST.

What did you do in the past?
How did you become a perfumer?
Viktoria Minya: My career is indeed very out of the ordinary! As a teenager I was oriented by my parents to study business, but while still in business school, my need of creation and self-expression became more and more important. I tried myself in various artistic fields, such as acting, dancing and singing. On my quest of finding my true profession, I literally stumbled upon perfumery. Looking back to it was just a moment of “enlightenment” when all my unconscious preparations for this job since the age of six simply became conscious. Suddenly, everything made sense.
 
What do you mean?  What were the “signs” of you becoming later a perfumer?
Viktoria Minya: I remember clearly one fine day, when I was a child, and in our garden, my father would pass the mower on the grass, and I was just so happy and contented because of the beautifully green scent mixing with a summery cold breeze. I decided to capture this moment in a bottle, and started to squeeze the freshly cut grass. I poured it into the bottle and decided to keep it forever with me. Of course the juice was rotten just after a few hours… Little did I know about the fact that I just re-invented an extraction method!

Later, as a teenager, I had this intense need of smelling, so perfumes became early a true passion of mine. While other fellows spent their pocket money on candies, cinema and games, myself, I spent all my pocket money on perfume samples. Whenever hanging out with my friends, they knew already that at some point in the afternoon, we will have to pass to a perfumery, so that I can satisfy my strong desire to smell. When my friends had enough of spending time with me among perfumes, I just ended up sniffing shampoos and fabric softeners in grocery shops, just to smell something…

Once out of university, I realized that I would need quite a lot of money to study perfumery and so I got a job as a HR Manager. I was working there for three years before I was finally able to start my scented journey in Grasse. I did actually spend most of my lunch breaks for those three years at the perfumery shop nearby my workplace, smelling every perfume at least a hundred times, doing my own classification, trying to guess raw materials and memorizing fragrance families.


Panoramic view of Grasse, France

Tell us more of the process of the creating your own perfume house?
Viktoria Minya: While I gained experience at perfume houses in Grasse, learning the tricks of the trade, I realized that basically all creation companies have price restriction from their clients. I was longing for using all the noble raw materials, while I had to make sure that the compositions doesn’t surpass a certain cost. At that time already, I used to think of PARFUMS VIKTORIA MINYA, as the Canaan of perfume creation, where I can treat myself and use all the finest and most expensive raw materials I want, and decided that I will never compromise for the cost efficiency.
 

HEDONIST is finally awailable now. Our readers and I, of course, want to know more about your story and the vision of your first perfume. Please, share your inspiration and thoughts with us, and tell us more about the idea of the and the glamourous and sparkling crystals inside it.
Viktoria Minya: I still spend a fair amount of time in perfumery, and I became very much disturbed by the quality of perfumes present on the market; their unmasked, sometimes openly obvious resemblance, and even the quality of their packaging. So, slowly the concept of creating one uncompromised and original scent with extraordinarily eye-pleasing packaging became more and more my goal. I really don’t like the idea of a let’s say "everyday" perfume or perfumes for sport or even I heard recently about "work-perfumes"… Impregnated of Grasse’s spirit, in the cradle of perfumery, I thought a perfume should be a celebration, it should be crowning your day, and it should be a moment of pure joy. I created Hedonist according to these values in my mind. I wanted it really to be a piece of beauty; not only an enchanting olfactory experience, but an overall celebration of the infinite delight of the senses. Therefore, Hedonist is presented within a beautifully crafted bottle; it is filled with hundreds of genuine Bohemian crystals that sparkle brilliantly. The bottle itself is enclosed within a handmade wooden box, fashioned to capture the sleek look and feel of snakeskin leather.

Adding crystals inside the perfume bottles was inspired by the jewelry company Candori, whose owner a few years back asked me to create a private label perfume. I first filled my mother’s transparent portable perfume recharge with crystals, and we were so impressed, I thought it was worth experimenting more. So I found a provider of genuine Bohemian crystals and the rest is history… feedback of women all around the world are confirming this bold decision, the sparkling crystals inside the bottle are just simply exquisite and creating a very unique perfume experience. It all just crowned my original idea of making a ceremonial perfume.

Interior of Opera house in Odessa, Ukraine

How is this perfume and its notes connected to your inner world?
Viktoria Minya: I tend to like rather masculine woody notes with very feminine flowery notes, so Hedonist contains beautiful ingredients from both families, such as Haitian vetyver oil, patchouli oil from Indonesia, Virginian cedar oil, as well as Indian jasmine absolute, Tunisian orange flower absolute. All these twisted with a wink to other addictives, like sophisticated cigar-like smokiness, and honey-like Rum CO2 extract that gives a very special depth to Hedonist.
 

If some emotions could describe the composition, what would they be?
Viktoria Minya: The perfume is ceremonial, indulging, deeply satisfying and very sophisticatedly sensual.
 
What is the specialty of your perfume?
Viktoria Minya: Well, apart from the crystals, I had this very interesting and surprising feedback from many women wearing and testing Hedonist: they all liked the perfume, but their boyfriends/husbands were actually going crazy for it and begging their wife/girlfriends to wear it. I still cannot really find the explanation to that, but it is a rather amusing and promising mystery!
 
As a perfumer, you find the greatest energy and inspiration for your new creation in various raw materials. What are your favorites? Tell us more about your favorite notes in perfumery.
Viktoria Minya: I am very much impressed by most of the natural raw materials, but I especially like to work with orange flower absolute. This raw material has a certain duality, depending on the cultures. It is representing cleanness (in the Mediterranean, it is traditionally used in refreshing colognes for all ages ) or deep sensuality (like in North America ). I like this contrast, and I think of orange flower as a humble and fresh femme fatale. Of course Hedonist contains a fair amount of orange flower absolute.
 

The fact that your nose is very sensitive makes you react how to "bad" smells?
Viktoria Minya: I have great curiosity to any given smell and I guess I think of "bad” smells differently than perhaps a person with a less trained nose. I happen to consider some of the “unpopular” smells interesting, while I am very much disgusted from certain “nice” scents, like freshly cut tarragon for example…
 
From the perfumer's view tell me your opinion of modern/contemporary perfumes and how you see them?
Viktoria Minya: While some of the fellow niche perfumers’ works amaze me, having had valuable experience in creation—I can tell by a sniff an approximate cost of a perfume—it makes me sad to see that some niche companies are not selling original creations, but twisting already existing classic perfumes and they add a high price tag. Also, multi-nationals taking over some old niche house will just really change the old charm and authenticity. Unfortunately, as a result, the customers are getting just as lost with niche perfumes as they got confused with mainstream launches. I do believe a lot in the education of the customers, though, and I do think we should allow them to have a deep look inside our work. This is why I have created various services around this idea. I do think that sharing with the customer the creation process is highly increasing the value of any perfume, hence custom-made perfumes or informative perfume sessions are meant to be more and more popular.
 

HEDONIST by Viktoria Minya
offical notes

peach, rum, bergamot
jasmine, orange blossom, tobacco
vetiver, cedar, vanilla

 

We already published the announcement and review about the first fragrance by Viktoria Minya, Hedonist, in our news.

HEDONIST is available at the official site in 45 ml EDP bottles for the price of 130EUR. You can also order samples for testing on this website.

 

 

   


Author: Sandra Raičević Petrović
(
sandrina_bambina)


   Fragrantica Executive Editor, Writer and Designer

 

[email protected]

 

 

 






 



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Lutrish
Lutrish

wow! riveting! I am already dreaming of getting a bottle!

Mar
22
2013
Euse
Euse

Great article, thank you, Sandrina! The whole interview has this very "natural" approach, I really felt part of the conversation.

I found Victoria's creating process very inspiring. I personally have enough of some huge coporations trying to present themselves as "niche" brands! What they miss is exactly Victoria's brand's authenticity and hence the real charme of a nihce-perfume.

Mar
21
2013
Sampat
Sampat

I share the same belief as evesoho about music. I used to be a musician who would play in pubs and concerts. When I felt like composing my own type of music, I was confronted to distributors who pushed me out of my passion by guiding me towards industrial music that sells quickly and then vanishes out of the market, forgotten by the masses.
I left this whole business and went back to my own humble studio to compose my own music without any constraints.

I do understand the point of Viktoria Minya when she said that working in corporations brings constraints to one's passion...
Good work for your beautiful perfume!

Mar
20
2013
evesoho
evesoho

This interview shines a light on an intelligent and deep person. I'm a musician, and I feel the same way about recording an album as Viktoria feels about perfume: "I was longing for using all the noble raw materials... and decided that I will never compromise for the cost efficiency."

I agree with Viktoria's assessment of the niche sector. I wonder if Viktoria has ever tried the niche perfume house of 7 Virtues. This is the niche perfumerie I'm impressed with the most. Beautiful and unique scents that are also simple, and far-reaching. While Viktoria offers much in the way of perfume education (I'd love to attend a course!) so that customers aren't tricked into spending their money unfairly on bad perfumes designed as cash cows, 7 Virtues is a fair trade organization that only buys supplies from rebuilding nations; their "goal is to encourage other businesses to do trade with business people in Afghanistan, Haiti, The Middle East and other nations experiencing strife as a part of the solution to building peace". Both of these perfumeries are doing good in the world!

Mar
19
2013
Vickalena
Vickalena

Viktoria Minya is a person with multicultural background and rather unusual route into her profession. But - first of all - she is a beautiful woman with an exceptional taste - this flacon really looks like a jewel!

It is great that we live in a time when perfumes have become more accessible and affordable. But, as a mass product, perfumes have lost to some extent their essential poetic nature - a mystery, bordering on magic... It is true, "a perfume should be a celebration, it should be crowning your day, and it should be a moment of pure joy". A fragrance created according to these values and with so much love, must be a magic...

Sandrina, as always, a great article and beautiful pictures - thank you!

P.S. There is a misspelling under the image of Opera house in Ukraine. Must be Odessa.

Mar
18
2013

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