Perfumer’s Portrait: Carlos Benaïm

Some perfumers in the industry have had a hand in many groundbreaking fragrances that defined eras. Carlos Benaim, best known for some of these timeless legends like Elizabeth Taylor’s White Diamonds, or Antonio Puig’s Quorum, is one such perfumer and he continues to make scents that define eras, break traditions or establish them. Some of his recent work includes perfumes for the Diana Vreeland collection and the Treasures of Safari perfumes from Ralph Lauren. But whether it is an early classic or a new twist on a beloved genre, Carlos is one of the most discerning and dedicated perfumers in the field today, having a vast technical knowledge and subtlety of hand that has created some of the world’s most cherished fragrant memories.

Carlos Benaïm is considered as one of America’s greatest perfumers. As the author of the legendary perfume Polo Ralph Lauren and of many other beloved classics, he owes his success to a great intellectual curiosity that has always pushed him to embrace a world beyond the boundaries of perfume making. At Frédéric Malle’s request, Carlos created home fragrances for the first time; some of the best the industry has ever seen.

There’s an old Arab saying: whatever is not given, is lost. That’s how I’ve tried to live my life and my career.

He discovered perfumery as a child through his father, who was a pharmacist in Morocco and had a passion for essential oil extractions. “Every summer, Carlos is fond of saying, “my father and I would drive our Jeep through the countryside, in and out of picking and distillation spots, and I would feel his enthusiasm intensifying.” Carlos later acquired a deep knowledge of perfume composition under the tutelage of the renowned American perfumer Ernest Shiftan. 

Carlos Benaim is not a perfumer who is regularly in the spotlight, which is strange because he has been the mastermind behind loads of blockbuster fragrances: BVLGARI Jasmin Noir, CK Eternity Men, Euphoria Women and Man, Carolina Herrera, DIOR Pure Poison, Elizabeth Arden Red Door, Ralph Laurent Polo, Victor & Rolf Flowerbomb and Eau Mega are just a few of this man’s incredible output.

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