When did you fall down the rabbit hole of perfumery? Were you a fragrance as a child?
It was in autumn 2009, when I fulfilled a long held wish to treat myself in a workshop “make your own perfume” at the Hekserij (also a raw materials supplier) in the Netherlands. Even though I wasn’t aware of it, yes in retrospect I can say I was, I had a keen interest in smells, flowers for instance but also bad ones, things like sewage. It would repulse me but still draw my curiosity, for whatever that means.
What are you most proud of in your fragrance career?
The fact that I have a career :)
What are some challenges you faced while starting your career or your brand?
Well, I knew nothing about anything, so the challenges and by extension the mistakes I made were more than plenty, but bouncing back after the name issue with my first brand was by far the toughest period in my life, and it almost drowned me.
At Scent Trunk, one of our mantras is “Travel through the senses.” Is there a destination that feels like a perfumers’ paradise to you whether you’ve been there before or not?
Well I don’t know for sure, but I’m really curious to visit India and Madagascar for their natural materials. Though I would be equally happy to visit the R&D lab of a big manufacturer and smell all the molecules they are developing
What is the most surprising combination of materials you blended together?
Coffee and cassis, in Berlin im winter
Do you teach or do any experiential projects? If so, what and where?
I’ve helped students from Fontys college in the Netherlands with their art projects where they were required to incorporate scent and I love performing live with my raw materials, or making scents for (art) installations, I have done solo or together with other artists for various festivals in the Netherlands.
What are you working on now or in the future?
Many different projects, for Baruti, I’m working on my daughter's perfume and reworking the room sprays, two of which will be in collaboration with The Red List Project https://www.theredlistproject.org/. I’m always doing various projects with Delush https://www.delushfragrances.com/ and last but definitely not least I’m working together with Andreas Wilhelm from Perfume. Sucks for Scentronix on algorithmic perfumery https://www.algorithmicperfumery.com/
What would you say is your X factor that is recognizable to others as your brand signature?
I would like to believe that I don’t have a signature, I feel I’m still developing my skills and there is so much to discover, that I would hate to be repetitive or even worse a “one trick pony”. But if a certain “waou” factor can also suffice for signature, then that would be a great signature to have
What was the most intriguing aspect of the collaboration with Scent Trunk and the Original Edition fragrance you created for us?
The deadline, I think netto I had two maybe three weeks to work on the formula, that was the shortest ever, and in fairness I was a bit hesitant at first because of that, but at the same time the brief was super interesting, so I jumped on it and I think the end result is one I’m really proud of.
Have you been to the provenance you were assigned?
Yes but not in the right time of year for the project, I was there in summer
Have you worked with the focus ingredient you were assigned to in one of your commercially released fragrances?
Yes, my Berlin im Winter features Blackcurrant/Cassis, but that's a more complex affair with many notes and a totally different style than the Scent Trunk perfume.
Can you give us some insight into Nooud and how it came to be that it’s a standalone fragrance and also an ingredient that is in Indigo?
Well in the first incarnation of Indigo under the old brand I was using a bit of an oud base in the fragrance. When I started reworking it for Baruti I thought, why not make my own oud base, and that turned out to be NOOUD. I was so in love with it that I decided to give it a stage of its own. This was right in the middle of the oud craze when all the brands were doing ouds (usually without any real oud inside), so cheeky as I can be I thought to play with that concept and that's how I came up with the name and the packaging and the images. It turned out to be a good idea as together with Chai they were the bestsellers of the brand for quite a while (now perverso also joined them). Fun fact, Andy Tauer commented to me that I would have executed the project correctly had I also put an exorbitant price tag on the perfume :)
I saw somewhere that you also teach perfumery through IAO but I don’t see that on your website. Does that mean you don’t teach in Amsterdam but only in Los Angeles? How about virtual classes?
Well the reason that I don’t advertise the classes through the Baruti website is because I want the classes to be a whole separate thing. People are coming to learn for themselves and I don’t want them to think that the classes will be limited to the Baruti style (if that exists). It’s really about helping people get started and provide them with a solid foundation from where they can go on and discover their own voice. The more advanced perfumers usually join out of need or curiosity to get more out of their materials. So I think it really works best if everything organisational/promotion is going through the IAO and only IAO.
We have also offered the class in Greece (actually the first time) and had Covid not happened this year we would have had a class in the Netherlands as well, but alas it did, so we modified the content and adapted it to an online format as well, (the course took place in June). Thanks to Perfumers Apprentice we could get everyone a material kit with about a 100 raw materials (naturals and molecules), which worked nicely too. LA however, has become a special place for me over the last 2 years so I’ll never decline an offer to visit, whether it’s for teaching or smth else.
Do you find that being a neuroscientist gives you a different edge when creating fragrance?
No, I don’t think so, my scientific background definitely helped me in the beginning when I was setting up my lab and with my practices, but not from a creative perspective.
Do you find you have a different understanding of how perfume works with brain chemistry?
Nope, I’m in the dark just like everybody else :)
When you teach, is there some secret words of advice you give to your students?
Yes plenty :)
Name: Spyros Drosopoulos
Year founded: 2014