THE PERFUMER: Frank Voelkl
THE MOLECULE: Helvetolide®
Part of the latest generation of synthetic musks (the oldest one goes back to 1888), Helvetolide® is particularly valued for its delectable pear note, reminiscent of ambrette, a vegetal musk extracted from hibiscus seeds. It was patented in 1991 by the Swiss company Firmenich, hence its name, derived from Helvetia, the Latin term for Switzerland.
THE SCENT: Zero Gravity Musk
Helvetolide® gives off a softly enveloping, long-lasting aura; an otherworldly feeling of stillness and weightlessness. Rather than using Helvetolide® in a “classic” way to enhance other notes, Frank Voelkl boosts its ethereal vibe in a futuristic composition that seems to conjure the scent of zero gravity. A pink pepper comet brings out its fruitiness. Cool, metallic iris underlines its affinities with ambrette (which has an iris facet). A nebula of vanilla, tonka bean and ambergris underline its sensuousness. In German, adrett means “neat” or “dapper”: in this spare, smartly trimmed scent, each element is essential – as it would be in outer space.
A consummate cosmopolitan whose first calling was diplomacy, the German-born, New York-based Frank Voelkl grew up in the Netherlands and France. It was in his grandfather’s farm in Germany that he discovered the scents of nature. During his teenage years in Paris, he was drawn into the world of fine fragrance, spending all his weekends happily sniffing away in a parfumerie on the rue de Rivoli. But it was his wife’s birthplace, Tahiti, which inspired his first composition in 1997, Tiaré by Chantecaille. Frank, who has been working for Firmenich since 2005, thinks of scents in terms of colors, melodies and musical movement. In his compositions, he strives for “perfect imperfection”—to him, it is those very imperfections that yield beauty and emotion. For Nomenclature, he signs adr_ett, efflor_esce, lumen_esce and holy_wood.