Spanish-born Alberto Morillas is one of the most respected and highly regarded perfumers in the world. He has created some of the most iconic perfumes in history (he’s won numerous awards, including the prestigious Prix François Coty award), and we had the pleasure of sitting down with him at a quiet café in Rome to chat about his latest creation, Bulgari Goldea, The a Roman Night, of which Bella Hadid is the face.
Below, Morillas takes us on a scentsual journey through the creation of this incredible new scent from Bulgari.
Tell me how you got started in the first place and how you came to be?
I started very young, 20 years old. Decades later I still have the same passion. To create the perfume, you need to have passion, passion, and more passion. It’s very important because you need to give your spirit in the perfume. And for this you need to enjoy. I won’t tell you every day is easy because it’s very nice when you start a new creation, but when you finish you are very happy. Sometimes it takes as long.
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How long did this fragrance take to create (and how long does it typically)?
It depends. When you work with a company, you think, “Ok, we need to finish in November.” And in November, it’s finished. Maybe it’s not perfect. The timing is always different. When it’s ready, you know.
So you have deadlines like I do. When it’s due, it’s due.
Sometimes! I have some customer after three experiments he tells me, “I’m very happy.” But sometimes it’s like, “No, no, no.” When it’s too long, I don’t like that because you lose the emotion. You need to have an emotion when you create perfume. When it’s too long, the relationship is not clear. When you don’t have the happiness emerge, you don’t have the same energy to create more.
When this whole creation started for this fragrance, in particular, when they came to you said, “We want to do this,” what were your thoughts?
We wanted to create the new history of the Roman night. The beauty of the night, like tonight, it’s a very nice night, I’m sure because it’s just windy and it smells good in the air. And we decided to create this type of perfume just to have a new emotion of the Roma and beautiful lady, of course. We wanted it to be very aristocratic, maybe not too conventional. This project went very quickly. In six months we decided to finish the perfume. It was very easy. We know exactly what we want. Young, fresh, happiness, romance, style.
Walk us through the notes of the fragrance.
It’s very simple. It’s a new scent, and it’s the new generation of the scent. Sometimes for me, it’s a dream scent because everybody talks about scent, but nobody understands what it is. It’s very fresh, it’s sparkling, it’s filled with happiness and sexiness. You have bergamot with notes of raspberry. The raspberry is a very dangerous fruit, it’s black. It doesn’t taste very well because it’s very bitter, but there’s temptation to try it when you see it. Then you have peony, which is very peppery. And tuberose. The combination is very dangerous because when you smell it you lose control. In addition there is jasmine, which is more classical, emotional. And after, we have the intriguing part; it’s the black musk, which is bitter, and the patchouli. It’s a very simple structure, but when you smell it, it’s very easy to wear. It makes you happy. Bella [Hadid] tells me, “Oh I love your perfume!” I hope!
And when a woman is picking out her perfume, how does she know when she’s found the one? What’s the process supposed to be like?
The process is still the same. It’s the same when a designer takes a piece of silk and then creates the color and texture. But as the perfumer, I make very simple call, I show it to the Bulgari team, and I select maybe 5 directions, and we build up to it. It’s more technical to have the strongest, to have the fruitiness of the perfume. But it’s still the same from the beginning to the finish.