Hermetica is embracing the storied history of French perfumery, while using a patented molecular technology which instantly reveals the heart of each scent.
Who is it? Clara Molloy, the co-founder of new molecular fragrance brand Hermetica, first became interested in the art of perfumery as a way to celebrate her Parisian identity. “I was born in Paris, but my parents were both Spanish and I think it was my way of becoming more French,” she explains. “You can’t be more French than making perfumes and writing poetry – I did both. And I think there is such a beautiful history between France and perfume, such a wonderful heritage, something so aristocratic, that I wanted to continue it.”
Subsequently, Molloy speaks about her work with a great fervency, a passion also reflected in the artisanal fragrance group MEMO International that she owns alongside her husband, John Molloy. The company counts MEMO Paris and Floraiku in its brand portfolio, and now, Hermetica joins as a third name to know. The word Hermetica refers to the collection of texts written by Hermes Trismegistus, titled the Corpus Hermeticum, which touched upon ideas of divinity and alchemy in the age of antiquity. Comprised of 13 alluring fragrances grouped into floral, green, woody and oriental collections – namely, Emerald Stairways, Vertical Ambers, The Door, Dry Waters – and a base scent, Source1, which can also be worn alone, the brand is quite unlike anything else on the market. “First of all we are a high-end and totally green beauty brand, and we are the first to do this in perfumery,” explains Molloy. “We have formed a patented technology called Inoscent which is moisturising and alcohol-free, ensuring that the head, heart and base notes of the scent appear instantly.” As such, Hermetica blends the storied history of perfume-making – collaborating with esteemed noses (or alchemists, as Molloy refers to them) Aliénor Massenet and Philippe Paparella – with a thoroughly contemporary sensibility.
Why do I want it? Certainly, when spritzing one of Hermetica’s heady eau de parfums on your wrists, there is no need for any frantic wafting or waiting for the fragrance’s essence to emerge, or the sharpness of alcohol to evaporate. We were particularly fond of Patchoulight, a rich woody fragrance with notes of violet and a powerful hit of patchouli, that shifted throughout the day, but never faded into a wishy-washy ghost of its former self. The same applied to Rosefire, found within Hermetica’s floral Dry Waters group, which is described as “a love letter to a rose”, and packs a sweet, powdery punch.
Alongside Hermetica’s staying power, the brand also boasts a unique online service which tests your scent profile using a series of images, tapping into the mindset of a digital consumer. Customers are then invited to purchase test vials of the fragrance group that might suit them best, at £15 per set. Or, alternatively, the entire range is available at £25. Each price is offset against a full-size bottle of perfume – an elegant, deep green glass cylinder made from recycled materials – which retails at £155. “We do a test to do your fragrance, using images. It’s playing with your subconscious – so if you like flowery imagery, you will suit something such as Rosefire or Megaflower. And if you are more into warm colours, maybe you suit something a bit deeper, such as Sandalsun or Cedarise. But it’s a game, and in the end it’s a way for us to invite our customers to embrace how personal fragrance is and to invite them to try things out and experiment.” In the same vein, Molloy stresses that Hermetica is democratic in its approach to selling. “Hermetica is for everyone. Whatever suits you, whatever you feel comfortable with. It’s like tea or coffee,” she says pointing at the cups on the table where we are sat in Harvey Nichols, where Hermetica launched exclusively last week, a very welcome addition to the beauty hall and indeed, to perfume at large.