Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - The nose knows: Master of scent to nail down Cambodia’s essential smell



The nose knows: Master of scent to nail down Cambodia’s essential smell

Christophe Laudamiel has worked with brands such as Ralph Lauren, Abercrombie & Fitch and Clinique.
Christophe Laudamiel has worked with brands such as Ralph Lauren, Abercrombie & Fitch and Clinique. Athena Zelandonii

The nose knows: Master of scent to nail down Cambodia’s essential smell

French master perfumer Christophe Laudamiel was in the capital this week to take in some aromatic inspiration for his latest fragrance, designed to capture the scent of Cambodia

Christophe Laudamiel is kind of a big deal in the scent business. The French master perfumer has worked with brands such as Ralph Lauren, Abercrombie & Fitch and Clinique, and his work is exhibited in the International Perfumery Museum in France and the Cleveland Museum of Art in the US.

Now he is turning his nose towards Cambodia to create a signature fragrance for the luxury Rosewood Hotel, due to open in the Vattanac Tower at the end of this year.

Laudamiel spent this week taking in the aromas he believes capture the essence of Cambodia, collecting samples to take back to his lab in New York. While on a tour of the Royal Palace and Wat Ounalom, Laudamiel took in the heady smoke of incense and the perfume of the native jasmine (called malis in Khmer).

“It is a very rich jasmine, which is different from the French jasmine,” he said. “It has jasmine notes, very fresh, fruity, green and dewy, but there is a little tuberose note that is not in the normal jasmine which gives more power to the flower. It also lasts longer, which makes it perfect for beauty products.”

Laudamiel travelled to Kirirom National Park to take a whiff of the pine trees. The Kirirom pine offers a softer, lighter scent than European pines, which he says will lend a woody elegance to the fragrance.

The signature aromas of Cambodian cuisine will also play into the creation of the fragrance, opening up new possibilities of aromatic combinations.

“First when I arrived I noticed there were quite a lot of citruses, specifically lime,” he said. “Limes and kaffir lime leaves are used in cooking, it is a very interesting note, very fragile.”

Pepper is also used in a number of fragrances, and Laudamiel will take a sample of Kampot pepper with him to see how it interacts with the other aromas.

“The pepper here is quite unique, it’s quite fruity and less sharp with a nice woody twist,” he said. “But pepper makes or breaks between fruity notes and herbal notes. So I need to see how it will fit. So I will try, maybe it will give it a little je ne sais quoi.”

Laudamiel will return to New York to infuse the ingredients into his uniquely Cambodian fragrance, which will be used in the amenities – soaps, shampoos, conditioner, body lotion – in Rosewood’s rooms. Because some of the scents are unfamiliar to him, he doesn’t know yet what shape it will take.

“These are not usual combinations that you would see in perfumery,” he said. “I cannot predict, I cannot see in my mind the smell it is going to have, because I have never seen these combinations.”

He added that the fragrance needed to appeal to guests from around the world, so his creation would be distinctively Cambodian, but universally appealing.

MOST VIEWED

  • Typhoon Noru brings flash floods – 16 dead

    An official warned that that the 16th typhoon of the season, Noru, had brought heavy rains to areas the Mekong River and flooded thousands of homes in the provinces bordering Thailand. As of September 27, the death toll from the flooding had risen to 16. National Committee

  • Siem Reap drain canal now ‘mangrove’ promenade

    A more than half a kilometre long stretch of canal in Siem Reap has been covered and turned into a promenade to attract visitors, said Ly Rasmey, secretary of state at the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction, on September 16. The new pedestrianised

  • Angkor wildlife, aquarium park still to open October

    The Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium complex about 30km southeast of Siem Reap town with initial total investment of more than $70 million is reportedly still on track for an end-October opening. The park is located on a 100ha plot along National Road 6 in Kbon village, Khchas

  • Defence minister reaffirms Kingdom’s staunch support for One-China policy

    Minister of National Defence General Tea Banh has reaffirmed Cambodia’s unwavering support for the One-China policy. Tea Banh was speaking at the September 20 ceremonial handover of 117 vehicles and other military equipment donated by China’s defence ministry, held at Phnom Chumreay International Military Training

  • Deaths due to ‘lifestyle’ diseases rise in Kingdom

    The Ministry of Health has called on people to pay closer attention to their health to protect themselves from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) which it said have caused high rates of deaths in the country. Ministry secretary of state York Sambath made the call at a

  • Textile industry minimum wage now $200

    The official minimum wage for workers in textile-related sectors including garment, footwear, and travel goods for 2023 was pegged at $198, with Prime Minister Hun Sen stepping in to add $2 to the total, making it $200 per month. The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training made the announcement