JUST A TOUCH
WRITTEN BY LILY TEMPLETON
“YOU EXERCISE YOUR NOSE LIKE AN ATHLETE WOULD HONE MUSCLES. FIRST YOU LEARN GYMNASTICS, RAW MATERIALS, CLASSIC PERFUMES, ACCORDS. THEY BECOME REFLEX. BUT AFTER THAT, YOU NEED TO CONTINUE TO TRAIN”
A quarter of a turn, and liquid gold shoots up into the cap still supported by the elegant metal coil that has become a visual signature. As the molten elixir still confined in the delicate glass tube for a moment more makes contact with the skin, it becomes a sheen of luxury that releases its fragrant bounty. In reinventing Dior’s iconic J’adore in Touche de Parfum, Dior’s resident perfumer François Demachy breathes new life into the millennia-old alchemy of skin and perfumed oil.
When stepping into the perfumer’s office in the Eighth Arrondissement of Paris, the first thing that strikes you is the artwork, among which a woman laying supine and offering vast expanses of creamy skin under the brushstrokes of Maurice Ehlinger. François Demachy cuts a discreet figure, decked in a dark suit and white shirt, surrounded by constellations of glass vials and bouquets of stiff cardboard fingers, the visible signs of his profession. he speaks in a steady voice that entices one to listen, soak in the precious nuggets of knowledge that he imparts readily.
Demachy became a perfumer by luck of the draw. Others may stumble into a career by accident, but for him, his was a spark in a pile of fateful kindling. Born in Grasse, the heartland of French perfumery, he grew up surrounded by the memorable scents of southern France. he recalls, as a child, spending large amounts of time roaming the hills of the Hautes Alpes with his cousin and their friends. Fragrance features largely in many youthful recollections, for him as for others. “olfactive imprints are stronger and more immediate. you mustn’t forget that we are mammals and that smells are deeply ingrained in our lives”. His father even concocted a house cologne of his own for the family pharmacy.