L'Officiel Nose: Johan Bergelin of 19-69

The longtime artist is creating olfactory celebrations of freedom with bold fragrance notes including cannabis.
Reading time 3 minutes

Johan Bergelin is approaching fragrance from a creative, progressive lens. Born in 1969, he has spent decades expressing himself as a visual artist, exploring mediums including photography, paper, canvas, wood, and PVC over a career lasting over 35 years and counting. His interest in beauty and connection through art, as well as a creative, strong-willed inner circle and a love for boundary-pushing ‘80s fashion, led him to the world of scent. Bergelin founded 19-69 in 2015, and after two years of working closely with artisans in Scandinavia, France, and Italy, he launched its first five perfumes at Colette in Paris, each taking from cultures around the world as well as elements like art and music.

19-69 references Bergelin’s appreciation for its namesake year, when he was born amidst an era of counterculture and radical change toward greater social tolerance. Fitting to that message of freedom, each fragrance is suitable for any gender, removing the weight of masculinity or femininity from the olfactory experience. The latest installment, Chronic, feels as current as the brand’s unisex mission, as it references the history of cannabis cultivation in southern California. Using the obvious cannabis accord alongside bitter grapefruit and moss, it enters a world where recreational marijuana is becoming legal state-by-state and CBD is the latest self-care trend. To celebrate Chronic’s modern, mellow energy, Bergelin imagined the perfect sound, shoes, and setting for his new creation.

If Chronic was the star of its own movie, which actor would play the starring role? 

The first few names that come to mind are Greyson Fletcher, Cardi B, and Snoop Dogg. Each would be perfect to cast for that movie. 


What color(s) does your fragrance smell like? 

A crisp shade of green. Like fresh baby leaves of OG Kush. 


Which city/place in the world does your fragrance encapsulate best?

Los Angeles.


If you had to place your fragrance in an iconic decade past, which one would it be? 

The early '90s marked a new direction and era with the release of The Chronic by Dr. Dre. This was the start of G-funk, during the time of the LA riots and an extensive yet illegal cultivation of cannabis. 


What item from your wardrobe would you compare your scent to?

My high top Chuck Taylors by Converse All Star. They have always been essentials in my wardrobe.


What genre of music do you think your fragrance most aligns with and why? 

G-funk with its simple, blunt, smooth, and mellow sound. 


If your fragrance had a night out on the town, what drink would it order at the bar? 

Gin & juice.


If you were to relate your new scent to a book, what would it be?

The Emperor Wears No Clothes: Hemp and the Marijuana Conspiracy by Jack Herer. 


If your new fragrance had a soundtrack, what three sounds would play once you spray the scent?

A heavy bass, whiny Moog synthesizers, and slow grooves. 


If it wasn't called Chronic, what would it be called?

Since the name Chronic refers to high-grade marijuana, I'd call it Legal.

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