THE PERFUMER: Frank Voelkl
THE MOLECULE: Violettyne®
*Named after the lumen, the unit of measurement of light.
Capturing the scent of violets in a lab was one of the earliest triumphs of fragrance chemistry and ever since, ionones have been a pillar of perfumery. Violettyne® is the 21st century’s answer to their wistful, powdery fragrance: a preternaturally bright violet with a metallic vibration, edged in fluorescent green. Patented in 2000 by Firmenich, the cutting-edge captive molecule turns scent into light with lumen_esce.
THE SCENT: Electric Violet
It is the color of majesty and mysticism. Of mystery and magic. Of inspiration and harmony… Associated for millennia with the most elevated states, violet is also the highest frequency of visible light. In lumen_esce*, Frank Voelkl plays on both meanings of the word, expressing the color’s radiance by exploring the full spectrum of the flower’s scent. Boosted by a cool-as-cucumber essence of violet leaves, the sizzling Violettyne® shoots high-voltage current from bloom to roots. Petals aquiver, the flower scatters scented powder on a springtime posy (freesia, jasmine, iris and rose). Patchouli Prisma, a high-tech natural ingredient distilled and reassembled to enhance its woody warmth, sheds black light on the radiant bouquet.
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.