Interviews Perfumer Luca Maffei Talks About the New Jul et Mad Fragrance Secrets du Paradis Rouge

Perfumer Luca Maffei Talks About the New Jul et Mad Fragrance Secrets du Paradis Rouge

11/09/16 09:57:11 (One comment)

by: Miguel Matos


Luca Maffei

Orange Blossom is the ingredient that opens the doors to another chapter within the Jul et Mad perfumed love story. Luca Maffei has worked on this new fragrance called Secrets du Paradis Rouge and I met him in Florence in the context of Pitti Fragranze where the fragrance was launched in September. Secrets du Paradis Rouge is a very rich scent of sweet and gourmand tones. It's not as groundbreaking as the Art and Olfaction Award winner Néa but it has the power to seduce.


Miguel: The Art and Olfaction Award was a sign that you are doing things right with Jul et Mad. Were you expecting it?

Luca: It's funny. When I was working on the project for Néa I always tried to present two proposals in order to give Julien and Madalina a chance to chose which one is the best. And I was pushing another fragrance instead of Néa because I was scared that it was too gourmand, too oriental, too particular. But they liked it. When Madalina called me and said that they were in love with Néa I said “no!”


Miguel: So you were wrong.

Luca: I was wrong. But the world of perfume is a world of creation which is so subjective...

Madalina and Julien

Jul et Mad owners: Madalina and Julien Blanchard


Miguel: Can you describe the perfume you were pushing instead of Néa?

Luca: It was different. Less characterized, less opulent.


Miguel: Néa is very opulent, rich, dense and thick. Maybe next time you'll do that one.

Luca: Yes. And a year after, Néa won the award so they made the right choice after all. When you create a fragrance, sometimes it's difficult to be detached from it. For example, I love to work with an evaluator because it can help me to get advise.

Jul et Mad line

Miguel: So, after this success they chose you again for the new fragrance: Secrets du Paradis Rouge. Tell me about it.

Luca: Julien and Madalina work around places that are very important for their story. For Secrets du Paradis Rouge they thought about Marrakech where they spent their honeymoon. Madalina gave me a mood board which was very particular. It represented a beautiful garden inside a Moroccan riad. Behind it we could see, in the landscape, the mountains. It was very nice. It had the wild aspect of Morocco, the rich aspect of flowers in the garden... I decided to work around orange blossom, because it is very representative of Morocco, which is one of the biggest producers of this material. And also because orange is one of the few plants of which all parts bring a different smell. You have the orange fruit, you have the neroli through steam distillation of the flower, you can obtain orange blossom notes from the solvent extraction of the flowers and also petitgrain. I decided to build the olfactive pyramid around this. So you have orange blossom and tangerine to give a citrusy and sparkly element to the top notes.


Miguel: There is also davana, just like in Néa.

Luca: I really love davana because it is very useful. It's has an aromatic structure but it's also very fruity with a reminiscence of apricot and peach jam, and it can also be used for alcoholic accords. It seems like something you could drink. I tried to use it in different accords and notes and it makes the fragrance very rich.


Miguel: I also smell a lot of beeswax.

Luca: Beeswax is very important in this fragrance because it's the link between the middle and bottom notes.


Miguel: And it makes a connection with the benzoin, doesn't it?

Luca: Exactly. The orange blossom is very flowery but it has also a honeyed element which blends very well with beeswax. It gives a lasting power to the flowery part and links to the base. The backbone is neroli, davana, orange blossom, beeswax, vanilla and benzoin. It starts fresh, but becomes sweet and spicy because it has clove which blends well with the rose essential oil. Another very interesting note in the fragrance is the presence of ambrettolide which is an aroma chemical that gives the impression of natural ambrette seeds so it's very musky but it also has the fruity aspect of pear. It's very important because it remains on the skin and has a velvety aspect.

Orange Blossom

Miguel: It's a bit of a traditional fragrance composition, isn't it?

Luca: Yes. The ones that love orange blossom will love to smell this. I was a little afraid because sometimes when you think of orange blossom you think about babies and eau de cologne. This time it is very feminine, very sensual, a bit carnal.



Top notes: artemisia (davana), cloves, mandarin orange, neroli and orange 

Middle notes: damask rose, honey, almond and orange blossom 

Base notes: amber, benzoin, musk, patchouli, vanilla and woody notes

Miguel Matos is a Portuguese journalist obsessed with perfume. Miguel likes to see himself as a fragrance curator, investigating perfume as contemporary art. He directs his own cultural magazine, Umbigo, and he has a background as an art critic. He is a vintage perfume collector and organizes regular talks called Vintage Perfume Sniffing and is an honorary member of the International Perfume Bottle Association. He writes on beauty and grooming for Miguel is a Fragrantica writer, translator and editor of

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Angela Agiannidou
Angela Agiannidou

Luca Maffei has described a beautiful and mesmerising juice. Perfume, like books, tell a story, give a feeling, and the use of a riad and all its associations make this exotic scent a must for me, especially with the spicy, sultry and animalic aspect being prominent. Another one for the Want List (am running out of space here....!!!!!).


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