Scentbird was lucky enough to catch up recently with Eric Buterbaugh, the designer and visionary behind the EB Florals line of fragrances. We asked him a few questions about his work, his inspirations, and what EB Florals will surprise us all with in 2018.
- Your fragrances have such rich detail and individual personalities. How do you discover their inner voices? Do you find yourself attuned to a certain flower or scent, or is there a floral note with particular importance in your life?
We started from the simplest brief ever given to Master Perfumers by any brand, ever: a simple list of my favorite flowers. 10 words and nothing else. What we did not realize at first was that to the noses, this list read like an homage to the greatest scents of the golden age of perfumery, an era before modern perfumery when scents were mostly composed to magnify one floral note, or a bouquet of flowers. So they got to work, and my list became a collection of olfactive wonders that to this day still make me so proud.
- As a well-known floral designer prior to your passion for scent, do you find it easy to translate the natural world into the bottle without losing the nuances? What insights do you share with the perfumers you work with to add a floral designer’s eye to what will be invisible?
I first look at a floral composition as an overall shape. For me, proportions matter most, which is why I mostly like to work with one or two species of flowers only in each composition. If you mix too many kinds of flowers, you lose control over texture, dimensions, proportions. I spoke at length with the Perfumers about this concept. It fits well with the idea we had from the start to celebrate one flower per scent. Which doesn’t mean creating monolithic soliflores. Our creations are layered and complex. But they are articulated around one specific flower every time.
- As you have created these perfumes, what new aspects of the floral world arise for you in the process? What aesthetic surprises have you encountered in the natural essences used in perfume?
I must say, thanks to the fragrance development process, I look at flowers in a new way. Take the example of the Osmanthus. Common as it is in China, it is nearly impossible to find in the US and so I discovered it when Alberto Morillas opened that little vial and placed it under my nose. What a scent! So now I dream of working with Osmanthus blooms, which I never had considered before.
- Have you considered working on projects in perfume that are based in a different style, outside of the work you’ve already finished for the Floral Oud Collection? How would your floral vision translate into a skin scent? A spice-laded fall scent? Leather?
We are constantly discussing new ideas. We are currently looking at gorgeous ways of blending herbs and flowers for instance. I have a dream of the perfect floral vetiver and I am confident it will soon become a reality.
- What’s next for EB Florals?
2018 is going to be such a wonderful year for our brand. We will be opening a fabulous shop in the Saks flagship store on 5th Avenue in April, where we will sell fragrance, candles AND flowers. In May we will be launching in the UK (in the wake of our very successful launch at Le Bon Marché in Paris last year). Then the Middle-East… And of course, new scents and candles!
Thanks to Eric Buterbaugh and EB Florals, Scentbird now carries his latest releases, Apollo Hyacinth, Thorns Rose, and Virgin Lily of the Valley.
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