Aliénor Massenet has a special talent for the subtlety in scent. As a child, she noticed how her skin would smell under sunbeams, and her way of unintentionally frustrating her parents was smelling her food before eating it. Eventually, this natural passion led her to olfaction, training at Cinquième Sense, Firmenich, and International Flavors & Fragrances before making fragrances for a slew of high-profile brands including Chloé, Maison Margiela, and Swarovski. But John and Clara Molloy's Memo Paris is where she has found incredible longevity, making over 20 fragrances for the brand since its founding in 2007. True to its name, the line aims to emanate its founders' travel memories, and who better to help bring those visions to life than a nose who possesses Massenet's degree of retrospective olfactory detail? This collaboration has led to a fragrance collection that truly takes those who experience its offerings on a tour of the nose's precise vision and, by extension, Clara's past travels.
Massenet's latest scent for Memo Paris is Winter Palace, a creation that, fitting to its name, has launched amidst the run of Game of Thrones' final episodes. In addition to referencing the season that has caused so much drama in Westeros, the fragrance explores contrasts including fire and ice, and the bottle features a dragon. Despite all these parallels, Winter Palace's true inspiration is China, with its notes of bergamot, orange, and red tea alluding to the country's energy and imperial palaces. The fragrance, with its combination of warmth and spice, would be certain to live a social yet sophisticated lifestyle, creating the perfect opportunity for Massenet to imagine its Crazy Rich Asians-alum starring actor and straightforward nickname for L'Officiel USA.
If Winter Palace was the star of its own movie, which actor would play the starring role?
The actor would be Gemma Chan.
What color(s) does the fragrance smell like?
Winter Palace smells like gold (amber note) and red (red tea and spices).
Which place in the world does Winter Palace encapsulate best?
The place that illustrates this fragrance the most is the Great Wall of China.
If you had to place the fragrance in an iconic decade past, which one would it be?
I would place this fragrance in the Twenties (1920’s), either in the French Riviera or in Assouan Winter Palace, with a couple drinking a red tea, or maybe in a Hitchcock movie.
What item from your wardrobe would you compare the scent to?
A silk jacket with gold embroidery.
What music do you think Winter Palace most aligns with and why?
"Boléro" by Maurice Ravel, because the fragrance is alive with lots of beautiful ingredients and energy.
If the fragrance had a night out on the town, what drink would it order at the bar?
It would drink spiked tea.
If you were to relate this new scent to a book, what would it be? Why?
L'Histoire sans fin by Michael Ende.
If the new fragrance had a soundtrack, what three sounds would play once you spray the scent?
The soundtrack would feature a combination of the gong (vibration of amber note), violin (acidity of Bergamot oil), and the piano (idea of the red tea).
If it wasn’t called Winter Palace, what would it be called?
The fragrance’s nickname would be Red Tea.