Mexico’s Fine Fragrance Scene Marries Culture and Artistry

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When most people think of fine fragrance, their mind automatically goes to fields of French lavender and men with names like Jean and Pierre. But in recent years, the conversation has found a global perspective as perfume lovers have set their sights (and noses) to other equally as fragrant cultures. Particularly, Mexico.

This shift in focus is not arbitrary: Dior showcased a Frida Kahlo-inspired resort show in Mexico City earlier this year and there’s been a influx of luxury tourism as the country known for gorgeous beaches also becomes a natural wine mecca and space for creative street style. 

As a first-generation Mexican-American, this new chapter excites me. Growing up, I struggled to understand where I fit in amongst a sea of private school kids on the Upper East Side—I experienced first-hand the richness and sophistication when I visited my grandparents in Mexico, but upon my return I’d see the media portray our people purely as struggling immigrants. It confused me that a culture so decadent was perceived as far from by those around me. So, decades later, it feels cathartic to see the country I love so much begin to be esteemed en masse.

The founders behind House of Bō, Arquiste Parfumeur, Xinú, and EAUSO VERT feel similarly. Rodrigo Flores-Roux, a master perfumer at Givaudan, says they’re an exemplary quad that demonstrate the vastness of Mexican perfumery through scent, packaging, and storytelling—and they’re spearheading this fine fragrance evolution. Linda Levy, president of The Fragrance Foundation, agrees, adding “it’s almost a surprise that this uprising is just surfacing now because the heritage in Mexico and the connection to the sense of smell is part of their culture.”

Fellow first-generation American Tanya Gonzalez, co-founder and CEO of EAUSO VERT, shares that brand’s new collection Herencia (“inheritance”), was a exercise in teaching herself about Mexico’s legacy through the lens of fine fragrance and re-connecting with her roots. While researching local ingredients, she discovered that vanilla, magnolia, tuberose, and lime are native to her homeland. She celebrates the rich tapestry with fragrances like “Fruto Oscuro,” taking inspiration from centuries-old dessert recipes through blending Mexican black cherry (capulin) with upcycled patchouli heart, clove, and black persimmon, or zapote negro. Its name, an attempt to inspire those in the luxury space to try and pronounce Spanish titles in the same way they do for French products. 

Source: Vogue