Interviews Interview with Santiago Burgas Bou of Santi Burgas

Interview with Santiago Burgas Bou of Santi Burgas

08/02/16 07:33:05 (One comment)

by: Evgeniya Chudakova

Santi Burgas's new fragrance ÔIKB, inspired by International Klein Blue - a deep blue hue, used by French artist Yves Klein - was presented as a part of the White Collection at Esxence 2016 show in Milan. I would say that this one was among the loudest releases of this year, especially interesting to understand when you get to know its author - the calm and even shy, charming brand founder and perfumer, Santiago Burgas Bou.

Santiago Burgas Bou at Esxence 2016

ÔIKB is the very portrait of Yves Klein and his famous monochrome blue painting - the same straigntforwardness and brightness, the same loud and sometimes inappropriate character that seems to be a pure provocation, but in fact is just an attempt to send a clear message of free will.

Some people (like my sister) consider it impossibly animalic, others (I do believe that our Miguel is among them) would not find anything too challenging in it. For me it's just a fragrance for certain days and moods, but considering the idea that is behind it, it's amazingly well made, both on an intellectual and tactile/olfactory level.

First of all,  I would warn to be careful with the dosage as just one spray is enough to smell ÔIKB for nearly ten hours on your skin. The fragrance is quite simple in it's development, but the complexity of the formula is not its main value - this fragrance makes an impression with its clear and straight accord that is formed on the skin within the first seconds after spraying, and then stays on it like a thick cover for many hours. 

International Klein Blue

The first thing to notice in ÔIKB and the brightest note of this fragrance's start is iris - bold, loud, a bit wet and dusty, with a clear buttery structure. It mixes rather quickly with leathery and hyraceum notes that form the central accord of ÔIKB, recalling so much the leathery-animalic heart of Knize Ten. But here it's uplifted a bit with the light coldness of pepper and cedar, making the entire fragrance slightly colder than Knize Ten.

In general - you wont find Klein Blue here if you're looking for coldness, no, in this creation this beautiful color is described focussing mostly on its deepness, thickness and brightness, on the way it impresses the one looking into this vortex of color (and at a certain moment you realise that you don't perceive the color itself, you perceive only its texture, not on a visual, but on a tactile level). With the notes of lavender and iris, it only catches your mind where the blue shades of these flowers would merge into this Klein Blue, while later on a leathery-animalic accord with woody hints translates a certain kinesthetic feeling of the picture and the color into smell. Hyraceum (which is added here in a rather big way for modern day quantities), to me, plays the role of this dare of dada art and of Yves Klein himself.

Yves Klein

This is as far as my personal impression of Santi's latest work goes, but now let's hear the author himself talking about ÔIKB.

Evgeniya: Hello Santi! First of all, my congratulations on the amazing new scent ÔIKB. It really came out very good! I would like to hear more about what lies behind it; the first four fragrances within the White Collection are Egnaro, inspired by a Mediterranean trip, Miss Betty Vair, made as a tribute to women, Flaming Red, which was inspired by a true passionate love, and Oud, consecrated to an impossible love - all universal or common notions and things. But later, with Eau DadÀ and the last launch of ÔIKB you turned to modern art. What does this period and type of art (dada in particular) mean to you and how did you come to explore it in your work?

Santiago: Thank you so much for your words, Evgeniya. When I was in high school, I was extremely impressed by French art that appeared to me to be very different from the classical art. French artists broke all the rules and I wanted to do the same with the White Collection perfumes. I think that another reason for my obsession with French artists is because of my closeness to this country. I live near the French border, one hour by car, and I frequently travel there.

Evgeniya: What do you mean when you say "breaking the rules" with the White Collection? And is it just about breaking the rules? Or do the ideas of Yves Klein and Marcel Duchamp play a part as well? Which ones touch you the most and which ones did you want to highlight in your perfumes?

Santiago: My intention of breaking the rules was nothing more than feeling free to make the fragrance that I really wanted without being forced to follow the last perfume mainstream trends. In my opinion, Tristan Tzara and Marcel Duchamp’s Dadaists, and the Neo-dadaist Yves Klein, are the summum of freedom of expression. Nowadays, we don’t realise that these movements still are as important as they were at the end of the XIXth, beginning of the XXth centuries, the moment in which they broke with the strict established rules, which was really a challenge.

Added to that, I also want to express through my perfumes the feelings and experiences I myself have lived, as well as my life values.

Evgeniya: So do you think you'll continue with exploring modern art within your perfume works?

Santiago: Yes! I’d like that. Maybe in the future, I'll separate perfumes based on my experiences from the tributes to artists or art movements, as they are different. It's beautiful to bring them back to the surface, to remind people of them again, to make people know more about artists that have influenced my professional path with their ideas.

Evgeniya: What about the technical side of creating ÔIKB?

Santiago: I chose Iris, both for its blue colour and for its powdery smell. It creates the same kinaesthetic feeling as the pigment used by Yves Klein. Iris had to be the main ingredient, and from this, I started creating the formula following a pattern of numbers.

Taking as a reference the Pantone number reference of the colour International Klein Blue, which is 286, I followed in scale, for each 100 gr, 28.6 gr are of a part of Iris absolute with Iris concrete, 28.6 gr of lavender and ambroxan, 2.86 gr of leather notes, 2.86 of black pepper and so on, and to finish my animalic signature, 0.286 gr of hyracerum (Pierre d’Afrique), which is the unifying thread of the entire collection.

Evgeniya: To me, the pyramid looks very logical: iris and lavender for the colour itself, cold spices for its coldness and leather and hyracerum for the thickness and deepness of the colour...

And what about the graphic symbol? I really did not understand what this skeleton and a hang-glider means. The iris on top, ok , but...[laughing].

Santiago: This drawing recalls Klein's jump into the Void and his theory. Iris and lavender flowers pull the hang-glider up, which is flown by a skeleton. The reason for it being a skeleton is that it’s a generic figure, as it is a unisex fragrance. I didn’t want to label it as masculine or feminine at first sight.

Yves Klein - Leap into the Void, 1960

Evgeniya: As far as I remember, you did some of your fragrances in collaboration with certain perfumers and others you did by yourself... like Oud de Burgas, didn’t you?

Santiago: Yes, concerning Oud de Burgas I worked together with Chris Maurice who is very experienced in working with oud. And I also worked with Rosendo Mateu for Eau Dadà.

Evgeniya: And what about ÔIKB?

Santiago: I did it by myself. As always, I had some advice from my friend Chris Maurice.

Evgeniya: Wow, it's very good!  On a different note, looking back at our first interview where you were talking about your first perfume collection - Lôant - do you feel yourself growing up as an artist?  What helped you on your journey? And of course - what are your plans for the future?

Santiago: I am not sure if I have grown up as an artist, morphologically speaking it is certain I have, ha, ha… What is true, is that the Lôant Collection departs from a concept and a way of formulating that is much more technical than the White Collection, which is more intuitive, without previous planning, where chance frequently takes control.

Nowadays, I’m working on a special edition in the White Collection, a limited edition which will be numbered and signed.


So, hopefully, this September in Florence we will be able to meet Santiago's new creation!

Evgeniya Chudakova

Columnist & Photographer

Evgeniya studied French and English phylology in Linguistic University of Pyatigorsk. 

In 2013 she joined Fragrantica team as an author and editor. In 2015 she became an Executive Editor of

Now Evgeniya resides in Moscow.

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I love iris so I may have to try this one, but not sure about those animalic notes. Great interview as always.


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