Interview with Les Eaux Primordiales’ founder Arnaud Poulain

Les Eaux Primordiales is a brand that has been a regular guest in the Duft-Tagebuch for several years now (read about it here) and I will also be introducing you to the as yet unreviewed creation Vanille Supermassive here shortly. But first I would like to present to you the interview I had the pleasure of conducting with the brand founder Arnaud Poulain, who reveals exciting facts about himself, his fragrance house, the collections and compositions.

Welcome to the Duft-Tagebuch: Arnaud Poulain! 😊

Arnaud Poulain, founder of Les Eaux Primordiales
Arnaud Poulain, founder of Les Eaux Primordiales

Dear Arnaud, you didn’t grow up in the world of perfumery. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your career?

I was born in Arras in the north of France, and grew up in the countryside in a family of artisans. My father was a metallurgist and my grandparents were farmers. They taught me the values of hard work and craftsmanship. As an adolescent, my passion for the sciences led me to pursue studies in mechanical engineering. In 2007, I discovered the world of perfumes, and it was an immediate love affair. I then started a training program that enabled me to acquire the perfumery basics. It was during my initial olfaction classes that I discovered my heightened olfactory sensitivity.

When did you realize that you had a special connection to fragrances?

My first contact with perfume was – as already mentioned – in 2007, when I was working in production for a famous ice cream brand. When I told the factory manager about my ambitions, he introduced me to his son, whom he found just as presumptuous and ambitious as I was, and who had made a switch to the world of perfume. That meeting was decisive! He introduced me to a whole world I’d never seen before. I was instantly amazed by this fascinating universe, and quickly found myself wanting to discover more. I also learned a lot from Jean-Claude Ellena’s book Le parfum.

How did it come about that you founded your own fragrance brand Les Eaux Primordiales?

Les Eaux Primordiales is a very authentic and autobiographical brand, which reveals a lot about my story. After spending several years working for niche perfume brands, it became obvious to me that it was the right time to create my own brand.

Le Domaine Primordial
Le Domaine Primordial

Can you tell us a little about Le Domaine Primordial?

The Domaine Primordial is a magical place! It houses a château that belonged to the Société des Mines de Charbon (coal mining company) in 1850. It’s therefore a place charged with history. Today, it’s the head office of Les Eaux Primordiales, our perfume factory, set in the heart of a wooded park surrounded by massive hydrangeas. The entire team is delighted to work in these enchanting surroundings. Work is currently underway to welcome professionals – business partners, journalists, sales teams – and visitors and offer them an unforgettable experience.

What do you think makes the Les Eaux Primordiales brand and its fragrances unique?

Les Eaux Primordiales stands out due to a personal and unique interpretation of raw materials and a fantasied vision of flowers. It’s about how I would like a flower to smell like. The fragrances are characterized by their highly concentrated nature, coupled with specific maceration processes in a controlled atmosphere, ensuring their longevity.

You develop the fragrances of Les Eaux Primordiales together with the well-known perfumer Amélie Bourgeois. How did you find each other and what makes your collaboration so special?

We met when I was a student at the SIADEP in Lens. Amélie was giving evening classes and thought I had potential. She decided to mentor me alongside my training. Today, our collaboration is like a designer working with an architect. I bring the artistic vision and then explain it to Amélie so she can lay the foundations. It’s a real 4-handed partnership.

Les Eaux Primordiales - Vanilla Supermassive

Les Eaux Primordiales has different lines – Superclassique, Supercritique, Superfluide and Supermassive. Can you tell us a little about all these lines?

Inspired by the iconic fragrances of 20th century French perfumery, the Superclassique collection is the first collection I worked on. It represents a special perspective on perfume, combining modern and timeless elements.
I also wanted to have a collection based around the iconic flowers of high perfumery. The Supercritique collection uses a unique extraction process using CO2 which allows the essential oil of a flower to be collected while preserving each molecule of its fragrance.
The Superfluide collection is highlighting beautiful materials such as spices, resins and
precious woods from all over the world. Each element sublimates these fragrances and
offers compositions with a strong of attraction.
And finally, our latest collection Supermassive, inspired by cosmology and oceanography, embodies the magic and attraction of fragrance on the skin. This collection is dedicated to perfume extracts, and is set to expand soon.

What criteria did you use when selecting the fragrances for the different lines?

Each line has different notes. The aim is to offer a broad olfactory palette with fresh, spicy, musky and floral fragrances. The collection structure is designed to help customers find their ideal signature more easily.

Les Eaux Primordiales - Ambre Superfluide

In your opinion, what are the main features of the different collections?

Superclassique: I wanted to put the light back on this autobiographical collection
with the upcoming arrival of Iris Palladium, a new eau de parfum (to be released in March 2024) with a light allure but assertive character.
Supercritique is perhaps the most feminine collection of Les Eaux Primordiales. Superfluide: this collection can be more intense, with warmer, more oriental notes, for those looking for a distinctive olfactory signature.
The Supermassive collection, due to be expanded this year, is aimed at perfume enthusiasts who like the collection concept. With a high concentration of 30%, these fragrances are also less conventional, offering a unique and distinctive experience.

When you create new fragrances, do you already have a certain scent or theme in mind that you want to focus on?

Most of the time, I already have a specific scent and direction in my mind. Then together with Amélie we will work on various leads, going back and forth, experimenting things. The creative process is often quite long, as we work on these formulas for around 24 months to find the perfect balance.

Do you have a fragrance in your collection that was particularly challenging to develop?

I would say Couleur Primaire, from the Superclassique collection. This fragrance is a false simplicity, it’s fresh yet long-lasting, with the most complex formula.

Les Eaux Primordiales - Couleur Primaire

Which raw material or fragrance currently inspires you the most?

I am eager to create a new composition which would be an “Eau Primordiale.” I have always loved colognes, and I aspire to craft a timeless fragrance that is quite universal, something that can be worn by a wide range of individuals.

When you think of your childhood, is there a particular scent that comes to mind?

Mimosa Supercritique holds a very special place in my memories. It’s a fragrance dedicated to my mother, who passed away when I was a child. Through conversations with members of her family, I discovered that mimosa was her favorite flower, and that she had a bouquet composed entirely of mimosa for her wedding. The fragrance takes me back to my childhood vacations when, at the end of winter, I would travel to the Estérel coast, with the last remnants of snow in the background and the valleys filled with the scent of mimosa.

What can we expect from Les Eaux Primordiales in the future?

Our ambition is to become a major group dedicated to luxury craftsmanship Made In France with the creation of 2 new brands, Perroy, to be launched in April this year (stay tuned!), and House of Serenity, our brand of artisanal scented candles.

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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