A quick-read Q&A with Victor Wong, Canada's game-changing Founder and Creative Director of the incomparable Zoologist Perfumes.
Q. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
A. Living a worried-free life.
Q. Which perfumer, living or dead, do you most admire?
A. I love Maurice Roucel’s excellent use of musks in his perfumes.
Q. What is your current state of mind?
A. Reminiscing the good old days but at the same time looking forward to a better tomorrow.
Q. What smells are most fascinating to you?
A. New synthetic scents that I have never smelled of before, and also narcissus flowers.
Q. What do you consider the most overrated trend in perfumery?
A. The glorification of “inspired” perfumes, or clones.
Q. Which talent would you most like to have?
A. To be able to speak a third language fluently.
Q. If you were to die and come back as a perfumery material, what would it be?
A. Does alcohol count? A carrier of perfume, spreading emotions.
Q. What is your most treasured possession?
A. My hard drive storing my photo libraries and work.
Q. Where do you find olfactory inspiration?
A. Perfumes that excite me; not necessarily “good” smelling perfumes, but perfumes that have never-been-used-before accords.
Q. Do you have any scent obsessions?
A. I am not sure I have any… but whenever I see flowers I want to sniff them.
Q. What is the most marked characteristic of your work?
A. Audacity or creativity… that’s what other people have told me.
Q. What is it you most dislike in perfumery?
A. Over packaging – a faux leather box in another faux leather box in a cardboard box in another cardboard box that as big as a toaster oven.
Q. What is your first scent memory?
A. My father’s hair gel.
Q. What is your guilty pleasure?
A. Eating white chocolate macadamia nuts cookies. Please don’t bring any in my house.
Q. What has shocked you most about perfumery?
A. Once-glorious perfume houses disappearing.
Q. What was the first Zoologist perfume you made and do you still like it?
A. The first three perfumes are Beaver, Panda and Rhinoceros. Only Rhinoceros has not yet been touched but I plan on redesigning it. [Rhino has since been updated.]
Q. What is your perfumery style?
A. Almost all of my perfumes have musks in them.
Q. What advice would you give to a fledgling perfumer or creative director?
A. Release what you think is good, improve as it goes.
Q. What advice would you give to your younger self?
A. I don’t know, it seems like every mistake that I made is a stepping stone to something unexpected.
Q. When do you consider a perfume to be complete?
A. When I think nothing stands out like a sore thumb and it’s not too common-smelling, and the perfumer wants to kill me if I ask for one more revision.
Q. What is your motto?
A. Follow your dream but keep yourself down to earth.
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