Interview with Cherigan’s founder Luc Gabriel – The scent of the golden twenties

Since September, you can find the Cherigan brand in the Aus Liebe zum Duft range, a very special fragrance jewel with an exciting past. The owner Luc Gabriel will tell us about the history of Cherigan in our interview and also share with us how he discovered the brand for himself, what makes it so special for him and what challenges he had to face in his attempt to breathe new life into the old recipes.

Welcome to the Duft-Tagebuch: Luc Gabriel! 🙂

Luc Gabriel with the original Fleur de Tabac
Luc Gabriel with the original Fleur de Tabac

Dear Luc, can you give us a brief overview of the history of Cherigan? Do you know who founded the brand back then?

Cherigan has been created in 1929, supposedly by a Czech immigrant, but in fact by a wealthy French family who preferred to stay behind the scene. Cherigan has created perfumes which are so many landmarks such as Fleurs de Tabac, Chance, Parisienne, Bleu Impérial. In total, there are about fifteen perfumes, but only a few names stayed, and the memory of great fragrances.

The first shop opened on the Champs Elysees, from the beginning the brand was liked by VIPs and movie stars. It was part of the jet set of that decade, a modern brand for modern customers. At the same time, a close link was established with Cuba, the years of party nights, of smoky casinos where big bands played through the night, while the golden youth of the United States continued to bet at the gamble tables.

Although a pioneer on many subjects, Cherigan has faded over the years. Of that time remained only a few bottles, small quantities of perfumes, advertisements, nothing else.

Women in the 1920s © Cherigan
Women in the 1920s © Cherigan

How did you hear about the Cherigan brand and what fascinated you about it?

I found the brand in 2016 when I was reading about historical fragrance houses of the Art Deco period. It is a fascinating time when everything was possible, a tremendous energy lashed out after the war : technical advances, universal exhibitions, aircraft and automobiles, but also new components available for fragrance creation. The first real period for Niche perfume houses. I am passionate about this pivotal period. The 1920s and 1930s brought together a wave of liberation and creativity, with Paris at the epicenter of the world, unlike anything we’d seen since then in the history of art, science and letters.

How did you get the idea to revive an old brand and why?

Old does not mean outdated. I think that the DNA, the products, the creations of Cherigan back on the day echo our own desires of the present time; real stories and history, elegant and universal creations. This is especially true of perfumes which were experiencing their golden age after the advances of modern perfumery at the beginning of the century.

New chemical components (synthetic musks, vanillin, aldehydes, etc.), new raw materials, new extraction methods and new places of origin, new olfactory compositions (creation of Chypre by Coty in 1917), liberation of women and mores, the perfume of the Art Deco years followed this movement from which rised a whole generation eager for life, meaning and freedom.

It was while scrutinizing this period that I found Cherigan, like a jewel in the rubble of disappeared brands. Cherigan is a living testimony of the luxury of the 1930s, a bridge between two modernities, 1920 and 2020.

Cap of Cherigan bottle

What do you think is special about Cherigan and the brand’s fragrances?

I discovered Fleurs de Tabac through reviews of bloggers like eaudorangeverte. They were adamant about the amazing quality of this fragrance, the first launched by Cherigan in 1929. I spoke at length with collectors, bloggers, perfumers, perfume specialists, delved into fairs and auctions. We were able to find many different bottles from France, the United States and even Australia. I had the opportunity to buy actual original Fleurs de Tabac bottles and fragrance and I was conquered.

What challenges did you have to face in reviving the brand?

You need to respect the brand’s value and fragrances and at the same time, adapt the perfume and product to a contemporary audience. On top of that, the regulatory constraints are way higher today than back in 1929 when everything was possible basically. It was necessary to revise the formulas starting from modern chemical analyzes (mass spectrometry, gas phase chromatography), smelling the perfume samples of that time, to rediscover these gems and transport us to the modernity of the 1920s and 1930s.

Cherigan is a pleasure, luxury, refined, elegant and impertinent brand. It was necessary to work on the perfumes so that these values are present olfactorily but also that we can feel the powerful, uplifting, passionate atmosphere of that time. A balancing act that required months of fine-tuning with perfumers.

Cherigan – Fleur de Tabac

Which Cherigan fragrances are based on old originals and which were developed completely new by you?

We have re-created Fleurs de Tabac, one of the first “tobaccos“ in perfumery, a pipe tobacco with soft floral notes. We are working now on Bleu Impérial. These are original fragrances. All the others are new and inspired by true stories of the Art Deco period that we have tried to put in a bottle;

The Tropics were the occasion of a new impulse in art and literature, for instance, Or des Iles is the scents of an early morning on an island in paradise. Lovers in Pink is a tribute to the painter Marc Chagall and his love to his wife Bella, embodied in various portraits on the theme of lovers, in red, blue … The Purple Bar is inspired by the birth of numerous bars in Paris during the 20s and the creation of innovative and warm cocktails, that we enjoy in comfortable leather armchairs. Irish Coffee reminds us of this drink (the irish coffee) created in 1925 to warm up passengers flying across the Atlantic between Europe and New-York on board giant hydroplanes. Edo Park and Adhara Oud echoes the growing influence of the Japanese culture.

Cherigan – Edo Park

What was important to you when developing the collection “Les Inspirations”?

A Cherigan fragrance has to be vintage but not old, elegant but not inaccessible, highly qualitative but affordable, and Art Deco in its purest form. It requires a specific kind of craft from the perfumers to be able to create such fragrances. This is why we have created the lacquered color for each fragrance at the bottom of the bottle or the detail of the embossing on the paper of the box.

And also the Extrait de parfum concentration epitomizes for me the atmosphere of the time, no limit to the pleasure when using your fragrance. On top of that, we use 90% to 99% natural ingredients in the fragrance and 0 % harmful components, whether natural or synthetic.

How would you describe the signature of the Cherigan brand – in terms of the new and the old creations?

I would say elegant, vintage and modern at the same time, totally French and Art Deco.


What values does the brand embody then and now?

Cherigan has always been a “hush hush” brand, loved by the happy few and completely focused on developing fragrances and creating modern and innovative luxury bottles. It is still the same values now.

Dear Luc, thank you for taking the time to answer my questions.

Recent Comments

Julia Biró Written by:

Bereits 2010 gingen so einige Blogbeiträge auf mein Konto. Dann war ich „kurz“ weg – sechs Jahre. Umso mehr freut es mich, dass ich nun wieder die Chance bekomme, mein Näschen im Dienste der Duftrezension schnuppern zu lassen und eifrig in die Tasten zu hauen. Was Nischendüfte angeht, habe ich damals übrigens schnell Feuer gefangen. Meine Ausbildung tat dazu ihr Übriges: Als diplomierte Biologin kenne ich mich nicht nur mit Fauna und Flora, sondern auch recht gut mit der Herstellung von Ölen und Extrakten aus, was den Reiz der Parfumwelt natürlich noch größer macht.

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