Interview with Neil Morris

boy portrait for Neil MorrisDo you have a smell from childhood that you loved-anything from your Mom’s perfume to your dog’s paws-and what was it?

Yes, the smell of the earth when all the ice and snow have melted and you can tell by the scent in the air that winter is really over! I used this memory to create one of my EARTHTONES perfumes called DARK EARTH. Another smell from childhood would be the scent of vanilla birthday cake! I always loved vanilla and still do! I have to hold myself back from using it it just about every perfume!

Are you a synesthete, do you “visualize” odors, or “taste” colors, and does it affect your output?

I do not visualize odors, per se. But certain scents do make me think of certain colors. I recently created a perfume called RED SMOKE which to me smells, well… RED! and SMOKY!

How do you see people using your perfumes, as accessories, personal signatures, or therapeutically?

They’re all sort of mixed in together, don’t you think? An accessory is something you chose because it appeals to you or makes you stand out, which is part of what constitutes a personal signature. That, combined, can certainly help make you feel good about yourself, which is therapeutic. I don’t see my fragrances used as treatments for anything as in aromatherapy.

If perfumes can be categorized as narrative (like Jean Patou’s 1000) or as abstractions (like No 5) or mood altering (like Eau Dynamisante) or evocative (like L’Heure Bleue) which are yours?

The best way to describe my perfumes is Storytelling. What I try to do when I create a fragrance is to tell a story. I want people to think of my scents as “Fragrant Books” so the when you wear one of my perfumes you will be drawn into the story. If you look through my website and read the descriptions I’ve written for all the perfumes, you will see what I mean.

dark portraitDo you have a particular material you prefer to work with or that you always return to?

I have many such materials. I love Iso E Super for its warm woodiness. I mentioned Vanilla earlier, which I love. I really like working with the many different Aldehydes (C-8, C-9, C-12, etc.) for their magical ability to transform a nice composition into something really unique and sometimes spectacular! (Chanel No. 5 would be an example of that.)

What is your current best seller?

My current bestsellers would have to be FETISH and SPIRIT OF WATER. CORAL and CLEAR are also big sellers.

afireWhich of your perfumes are you proudest of, and why?

Well, I love ALL my children but if I had to choose one it would be Neil Morris For Takashimaya New York. Unfortunately, the store is now only a wonderful memory. I worked day and night for 8 moths on that perfume! I was totally drained and exhausted but it was worth it. Chandler Burr wrote an outstanding review and I am very proud of that.

The artwork here of course is John Singer Sargent whose evocative way with paint reminds me of Neil’s brilliant atmosphere capturing perfumes.

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  1. Pingback: How Fathers Smell: Favorite Masculines | aperfumeblog by Blacknall Allen

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