This is the first Fragrant Hommes interview on Megan In Sainte Maxime. Let’s hear it for natural perfumer Hiram Green. His star is on the rise. With a small but incredibly well received collection of four fragrances in total (Moon Bloom, Shangri La, Voyage and Dilettante) Green appears to be an adherent of the slow perfumery philosophy where time is taken to hone his fragrances before releasing them to the world. He doesn’t bombard us with a slew of new releases. This is a good thing as it means that each perfume is highly anticipated. Dilettante the most recent release is devastatingly beautiful. If you love orange centric fragrances then this is simply a must try. It’s one of my favourites this year and a review is forthcoming. Green’s earlier perfume Voyage, a limited edition was likewise fabulous and made it onto my list of 2015 Perfume Favourites. Voyage is no longer available on his website but you may be able to track it down at one of his retailers.
One thing you’ll note when you look at his website is the great design. Green recently updated his bottles and logo lending the perfumes a sleek definition, that also makes the brand more cohesive in look and feel. In fact when I think of natural brands in general, great design doesn’t often spring to mind. I like that Green is moving things along here.
I emailed a list of questions to Hiram and he graciously answered. So not so much a face to face interview but nevertheless I think you will learn more about Hiram, his brand and perfumery. Without further ado, let’s find out a little more about Hiram Green.
What lured you into the world of perfume?
I needed a job….
I studied fine arts in Toronto Canada, where I grew up. After my studies I moved to London with the idea of becoming an artist. I quickly learned that I would also need to get a job. By chance my first job happened to be in a perfume shop. Perfume quickly took over my interests and several years later I opened my own perfume shop in London.
What are your favourite smells in nature?
Although it is hard to pick a favorite smell, most flowers are very high on the list of favorite smells.
You create natural perfumes. What made you choose to create natural perfumes and what does ‘natural’ mean in your creations?
Once I opened my perfume shop, I began asking perfume companies what percentage of their fragrances where natural. I never received clear answers. At the time, it was also very difficult to find entirely natural perfumes. I felt there was a gap in the market for natural fragrances and decided to learn how perfume was made and see if I could make nice smelling perfumes without the use of synthetic ingredients.
Entirely natural in my creations simply means that they are made without the use of synthetic ingredients.
When you make a new perfume, what is the process you go through? Does it always follow the same path, or does it vary?
The process is relativity straight forward. I have an idea of a smell I want to create and I start mixing fragrant materials to try and achieve this smell. Sometimes the process takes very few trails before I am happy with the results, but most of the time it takes many trias. It is not on common for me to have made several hundred trials before I am happy with the result.
How long does it take to create a Hiram Green perfume? When do you know a scent is finished?
This varies depending on how many trials I make. There are some fragrances I have been working on for several years and I am still not entirely happy with them.
It is hard to say when a fragrance is finished. Most of the time I get a feeling and I know it is right.
Where do you work? Is at your home or in another space. Could you tell us what is in your work space. What are your essentials?
I have a dedicated space that I work in. My essentials are the fragrant materials, alcohol, a scale and a notebook to write everything down. You do not need very much.
I’ve read that you were London based but now live in the Netherlands. In what ways is your new home having an impact on your creative process?
This does not have an impact on my creative process.
Where do you find inspiration?
Anything and everything….
Your most recent release Dilettante is really beautiful. It’s one of my favourite orange centric fragrances. I see this as quite a bright, fresh, green and also narcotic scent. What three words would you use to describe it?
I like your words. I find it difficult to describe my own fragrances.
You release a perfume on an annual basis. What are your thoughts behind this practice?
This is just coincidence.
Hiram Green perfumes is a relatively new venture. What are the challenges involved for a new perfume brand operating today?
There are of course many challenges. Some are more exciting than others.
Building brand representation is often a struggle for a new perfume brand today. There are just too many new perfume brands introduced every year.
How do you judge success in your work?
I judge the success in many ways. However, ultimately the success must be judged by sales. Without people purchasing my fragrances I cannot carry on.
Which perfume of yours do you feel closest to or like the most and why?
I enjoy them all. At the moment I wear Dilettante most often. I really like orange blossom fragrances.
Are there perfumes and perfumers that inspire you? Natural perfumers?
I tend to like a lot of the ‘old school’ perfumes. There is not one perfume or perfumer that inspires me in particular.
How do you see your range evolving?
Slowly adding more fragrances while building a loyal following.
Thank you so much Hiram for answering these questions and I’ll be writing my thoughts on Dilettante this week too. So come back and check in.
Have you tried any Hiram Green perfumes? Any favourites?
Notes : Images : Featured : Hiram Green : Image from Hiram Green website : Dilettante by Megan In Sainte Maxime with artwork by Annick McKenzie