Clement Gavarry

Fine Fragrance Senior Perfumer, IFF

It’s no wonder that Clement Gavarry became a perfumer; his pedigree is unrivaled. When you consider that his great grandfather was a lavender cultivator and distiller, his grandfather was a gardener in Grasse and his father, Max Gavarry, is a celebrated perfumer, you learn that Clement’s genes and early environment propelled him to his rarefied vocation.

“As a child, I was constantly surrounded by fragrance,” Clement remembers. A ritual took place each night in their Paris home, where his father invited family to sample his formulas from the day. And during his summers in Grasse, Clement discovered the fields of flowers not yet swallowed up by real estate, allowing the ever-present scent of jasmine to fill his head.

Clement’s personal version of Proust’s ‘madeleines’ consists of local jasmine, lavender and orange blossom. “In Grasse there is a type of bread made with orange blossom called la fougassette — I will never forget the smell or taster.” As he matured, Clement absorbed even more of the irresistible and nuanced smells of his beloved France. He noticed the eucalyptus that greeted him outside the airport in Nice, reminding him of camphor and body-rubs, but when touched by the sun of the Cote d’Azur, those pines took on the smell of wood and resin, a warm, welcoming odor that no one has ever managed to put in a bottle.

Today, this globetrotter, surfer and sailor explores faraway places for new olfactive materials and to recharge his batteries, equally fascinated by the landscape of Peru, the generosity of Brazil, the wilderness of Kenya and the wonderful smiles of the people of Vietnam and Senegal. In his adopted home, the American market has made him an expert in sandalwood, fruity and vanilla notes, and the luxuriance of patchouli is a prized inspiration. But his heart belongs to all the intonations of jasmine that remind him of his origins, and neroli, which before he understood it as the essence of orange blossom, was the name of his childhood sailboat.