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Q&A with Harry Frémont – Estee Lauder Master Perfumer, Firmenich

By Liz Hancock

Q&A with Harry Frémont –  Estee Lauder Master Perfumer, Firmenich
We speak exclusively with Estee Lauder Master Perfumer Harry Frémont about the latest fragrance Modern Muse.

What inspired you to develop Modern Muse?

The modern woman is most inspiring:  spontaneous, chic, clever, unique.  She is more authentic than ever, more fascinating, and yes more complex.  As a perfumer, nature and women are my most influential muses.

My desire to connect with nature is part of who I am as a creator; my own garden that I cherish is that connection brought to life by the flowers that bloom there.

Estée Lauder’s vision of inspiring women was fundamental.  I’ve spent years trying to understand what women are searching for and what it is about fragrance they want in order to enhance their life and style. Women have many layers, all of which they want to express.  I envisioned this fragrance fulfilling the desire to enhance their beauty.  Each material was selected to reflect one of her many special qualities.

As a perfumer, what was special about the development of Modern Muse?

The development of a fragrance is an exciting journey.  You start with an idea, but you never know exactly where it will lead you.  What was special about the development of Modern Muse was the unique opportunity to use the perfumery palette to its full potential.  Using the best quality ingredients, we worked very hard to find the perfect balance between the lush floralcy of the Jasmine Sambac China Absolute and the luxurious woodiness from a blend of Patchouli Coeur and Patchoulol Cryst.  That balance, from the top all the way through the drydown was key in perfecting a fragrance for the modern woman.

How is Modern Muse a “dual impression” fragrance and what makes this unique?

How you connect emotionally with a fragrance can be different from one person to another.  I like to say that this is a “dual impression” fragrance because one woman may fall in love with its lush floral dewiness, while another woman may experience the woody, musky aspect first.  Someone might connect right away with its sparkling floral quality, while another may be attracted to its warm, rich woody signature.  Modern Muse celebrates this creative tension between the florals and the woods.  It’s what makes the fragrance interesting and intriguing.

You’ve had a long successful career as a perfumer; can you tell us why the development of Modern Muse is a high point in your career?

It is every perfumer’s dream to develop a fragrance for Estée Lauder.  Being able to express my appreciation and love for women through Modern Muse is definitely a high point in my career.  I have used everything I know today, after 30 years in perfumery, to achieve this unique experience using the best quality materials available.

Describe your partnership with Estée Lauder and why it’s unique. 

Our partnership with the Estée Lauder team is unique because we work hand-in-hand, from concept to launch, to create an idea that is a perfect match for the brand and the market. Estée Lauder always has a vision of where a new fragrance idea should go in order to create something truly special.  It is a long and often challenging process to find the right balance, but when women wearing the fragrance experience exactly what we wanted to achieve, it is a dream come true.


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