Perfumer’s Portrait: Pierre Bourdon

As Edmond Roudnitska’s only student, Pierre Bourdon inherited his rigorous perfume technique. He also learned from him that perfumes should be created as works of art,” explains the website. Bourdon himself went on to explain, “I met Roudnitska every Wednesday for a bicycle ride and every Sunday to run and have a session on olfaction while he corrected my work,” according to Soap & Cosmetics.

But interestingly, Bourdon did not start his education as a perfumer. He actually earned a degree in political science and had designs on being a writer before deciding to make a career in perfumery. In 1971 he joined Roure Bertrand where in addition to his work with Roudnitska, he also studied under the great Jean Carles. Since those days, Bourdon has gone on to develop some of the most iconic fragrance for some of the most famous designer brands – Yves Saint Laurent, Davidoff, Joop, Jil Sander, Escada, Lacoste, Salvatore Ferragamo, and many more – and recently established his own eponymous brand, Pierre Bourdon.

Bourdon is famed for his elegant style, his delicate and streamlined treatment of materials (probably handed down from Roudnitska), his ladylike manner in his feminine compositions, his trust in beautiful things; he seems like a genuine dreamer to me.  

Collaboration with Frédéric Malle

When Pierre Bourdon Frédéric Malle, having realized that they shared the same vision of perfume making, the two became like family to one another. It was obvious to Frédéric Malle, when he created Editions de Parfums, that Pierre Bourdon should compose its first perfume, Iris Poudre.

The two brothers in arms had grown up under the same spell of Dior Parfums, where their parents both had established careers. After graduating from the Paris Institute of Political Studies, the childhood spell caught up with Pierre and, like Frédéric Malle, he enrolled at Roure Bertrand Dupont.

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