Perfumer Jonathan Ward talks fragrances, figs and floral notes

With its dark, evocative notes of cassis and liquorice, to fresh, floral notes of sandalwood, rose and jasmine, the perfume range by Jonathan Ward is simply irresistible. The beautiful collection comes to ACHICA this weekend and in preparation we've been filling the room with fresh fragrance and chatting to the master perfumer himself...

How did you become a perfumer?

I originally worked in fashion and it was my life. But I dislike the transitory nature of fashion, which I feel is in conflict with style. Fashion is about constant change but style is timeless and so is fragrance. Originally I created my collection as a vehicle to capture moments in time and resurrect them, allowing them to be enjoyed again in the present. This ethos has formed the foundation for the work that I do. It's like an olfactory story book...

Do you have a particular type of person in mind when you create fragrances?

I really don't. I focus on the scent first. Scent is like colour in a way, one person prefers red and another blue. Scent can't speak to everyone in the same way.

Who would you like to create a scent for?

Stephen Fry. I think that the conversation would just be the most inspirational hour I could ever spend.

What gets you through the day?

Laughter, friendship and my naughty little feline "Noah"

Last thing you bought?

Tomatoes and Mozzarella cheese.

What one scent would you would love to capture?

I don't know if there is one particular scent, but I would love to travel back to the 1930s or the 1920s and be invisible at a party where decadence, privilege and notoriety are rampant. The air would be filled with traces of blush and powder, Champagne, French perfumes, fine gentleman's colognes, aromatic rare liquors and tobacco.

Tell us a little about the Fig Ultimatum scent.

We basically deconstructed the fig aroma and built it back up again. We ripped figs apart and talked for hours about the complexities of the vegetal aroma that permeated from each tare. We created the base by looking at warm peats and earth with wet woods and honey. By adding Iris and jasmine buds we hoped to recreate the much loved fig aroma in a fresh innovative way.

What's the last book you read?

Virginia Wolf's "The Waves" - 5th or 6th read.

Favourite restaurant?

Roca on Charlotte Street. Sushi is my favourite food.

How do you like to relax?

As I've grown older, I like to spend time at home. I really value peace and not being pulled in every direction. My perfect relaxing afternoon would consist of fresh coffee, fresh sheets and a classic Poirot!

Favourite movie quote?

"Did somebody eat an onion bagel?"  - The Devil Wears Prada

What are you coveting at the moment?

A new bag. All my bags have been investments. So when I splurge it's a serious decision!

What’s your vice?

Seeing the good in people against my inner voice that says "No! Run for the hills".

What’s the one thing you want to cross off your ‘to-do’ list this summer?

Working through the mass of paper crying out for my attention.

Highlight of your career so far?

Reaching the point in my career when our products are positioned against the world's powerhouse brands in high-profile magazines.

What are you working on at the moment?

Our new winter fragrance "Scarlet Te". A blend of rare Oolong teas and Asian mystery.

Dessert - chocolate or cheese?

That's so tough. I'd have to say cheese I've been losing my sweet tooth as I have gotten older.

What’s your party trick?

Making people laugh. I can turn into quite the entertainer when needed.

What’s your most treasured possession?

I don't hold a lot of stock in possessions as they come and go. I'm going to opt for my cat Noah. He's so unique but I don't really possess him. He possesses me.

The Jonathan Ward promotion at ACHICA, featuring candles and diffusers, starts on Saturday 15 June. 2013.

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Keya Modessa, ACHICA Features Writer

View all posts by Keya Modessa, ACHICA Features Writer