Tomato Leaves is one of the eleven scents that are part of Loewe's new collection.

Quarantine in a Virtual Botanical Garden With Loewe's New Home Scents

Honeysuckle! Beetroot! Coriander! Marihuana! The gang is all here!

by Laia Garcia-Furtado
Sep 4 2020, 9:30am

Tomato Leaves is one of the eleven scents that are part of Loewe's new collection.

At the beginning of quarantine, I bought a new perfume, and long after I stopped putting on makeup, doing a skincare routine, or putting on real clothes, I was still spritzing myself every morning before I sat on the couch to start working. Smelling nice every morning meant I hadn’t given up completely.

Things are less bleak now, but the release of Loewe’s new collection of Home Scents has me thinking what a Coriander wax candleholder or a Beetroot diffuser could do for my moods—could it make each room in my house feel like a different place? The eleven scents were developed by Nuria Cruelles, Loewe’s in house perfumer since 2018, and found its inspiration half in a botanical garden and half in an apothecary. GARAGE spoke with Cruelles about the process of narrowing down the scents with Loewe creative director Jonathan Anderson from an initial sixty, to the final collection which include, Luscious Pea, Liquorice, Cypress Balls, Ivy, Juniper Berry, and Oregano among others.

The Liquorice room spray, a new classic.

Can you describe the actual process of making a scent?
In the case of this collection, once I received the brief from Jonathan, and after few meetings, I visited some gardens and greenhouses and took scents from my own memories that could fit in. In the lab I experimented with oils and extracts in order to recreate the smells in the closest way possible to the original plant, while making sure that the molecules’ structure was stable when burned and that it performs well in the wax. The technique for the candle creation is quite different than creating perfumes. It was a constant test until we found the perfect ones. 

How does the process of creating a home scent differ from creating a personal scent or perfume?
Mostly, it differs on the technical part of the process. We must bear in mind that the scent needs to be lit in the case of the candles, evaporates in the case of the rattan… the structure of these fragrances is even different among them. For the candles, we need to test the burning and the interaction with the wax, whereas for the rattans we need to think that the perfume should evaporate slowly, quite the opposite of the sprays where we need to focus on having a first splash of freshness and fragrance. These technicalities are key in my job, but with Home Fragrances in general, they mean everything.

We don't often use the word "chic," but these candles are precisely that. Left to right, Cypress Balls, Marihuana, and Juniper Berry. Photograph by Nacho Alegre, Courtesy of Loewe

Were any of the scents tricky to pin down?
Well, some of them took more tests than some others, but the idea of the collection was quite clear: we had to preserve the raw essence of each plant in each candle and product, enhancing the plants themselves, without any kind of flourish.

Also, the amazing packaging designed by Jonathan and the illustrations of Erwan Frotin with the description of the medical use of each plant gave me more insights of how to approach each scent. It was a deeply enriching process.

What was your favorite scent to create?
It is difficult to say. I’ve enjoyed each very much, but I would say Beetroot… not because of the process, that was more or less like the rest, but because I was quite shocked when Jonathan proposed it and it was kind of challenge for me. I think the final result is fantastic as it’s sweet, and yet soft, elegant and unexpected. 

The candles come in ribbed terracotta pots.

How do you recommend people use the scents in their homes? 
It should be all about playing and testing, so my first recommendation would be to dare to taste and mix. The collection has been made to be mixed in formats but also in perfumes. All match well with each other. We don’t use the same perfume for each day of the year or moment, so our homes should have different scents too. 

What is your favorite part about your job?
Facing new projects and the first moments of the briefing concept are my favorite. Working in close collaboration with Jonathan translating his ideas and concepts into scents, I have to recall memories of my past, relive my olfactory memory and think about how the structure of the perfume could be formed so the concept is reflected perfectly. I also try to use some ingredients that are classical in a way, and use them in unexpected structures, bring them to the present and into future, while having in mind the values and heritage of the brand. 

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The oregano wax candlestick and candle. Photograph by Nacho Alegre, Courtesy of Loewe

What is your favorite all-time scent?
It is hard to say, I don’t have one perfume in mind as my job is trying to create new ones, but I would say that the fougère structure is my favorite. The fougères perfumes are green compositions usually mixed with wood that are quite classical but always elegant. I like to bring some of its ingredients on my new compositions and rethink them. 

When did you decide you wanted to become a perfumer?
As a teenager I used to have quite a collection of perfumes when one day, staring at them, I decided that I wanted to create them, to be part in the process. Thus, I studied chemistry and after working several years abroad in creating molecules for perfumes I entered LOEWE. It’s been a long process where the scents and smells have been part of my everyday life. I like to say that is more than my job… it’s my lifestyle. 

jonathan anderson
nuria cruelles