Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - The nose knows: Master of scent to nail down Cambodia’s essential smell



The nose knows: Master of scent to nail down Cambodia’s essential smell

Christophe Laudamiel has worked with brands such as Ralph Lauren, Abercrombie & Fitch and Clinique.
Christophe Laudamiel has worked with brands such as Ralph Lauren, Abercrombie & Fitch and Clinique. Athena Zelandonii

The nose knows: Master of scent to nail down Cambodia’s essential smell

French master perfumer Christophe Laudamiel was in the capital this week to take in some aromatic inspiration for his latest fragrance, designed to capture the scent of Cambodia

Christophe Laudamiel is kind of a big deal in the scent business. The French master perfumer has worked with brands such as Ralph Lauren, Abercrombie & Fitch and Clinique, and his work is exhibited in the International Perfumery Museum in France and the Cleveland Museum of Art in the US.

Now he is turning his nose towards Cambodia to create a signature fragrance for the luxury Rosewood Hotel, due to open in the Vattanac Tower at the end of this year.

Laudamiel spent this week taking in the aromas he believes capture the essence of Cambodia, collecting samples to take back to his lab in New York. While on a tour of the Royal Palace and Wat Ounalom, Laudamiel took in the heady smoke of incense and the perfume of the native jasmine (called malis in Khmer).

“It is a very rich jasmine, which is different from the French jasmine,” he said. “It has jasmine notes, very fresh, fruity, green and dewy, but there is a little tuberose note that is not in the normal jasmine which gives more power to the flower. It also lasts longer, which makes it perfect for beauty products.”

Laudamiel travelled to Kirirom National Park to take a whiff of the pine trees. The Kirirom pine offers a softer, lighter scent than European pines, which he says will lend a woody elegance to the fragrance.

The signature aromas of Cambodian cuisine will also play into the creation of the fragrance, opening up new possibilities of aromatic combinations.

“First when I arrived I noticed there were quite a lot of citruses, specifically lime,” he said. “Limes and kaffir lime leaves are used in cooking, it is a very interesting note, very fragile.”

Pepper is also used in a number of fragrances, and Laudamiel will take a sample of Kampot pepper with him to see how it interacts with the other aromas.

“The pepper here is quite unique, it’s quite fruity and less sharp with a nice woody twist,” he said. “But pepper makes or breaks between fruity notes and herbal notes. So I need to see how it will fit. So I will try, maybe it will give it a little je ne sais quoi.”

Laudamiel will return to New York to infuse the ingredients into his uniquely Cambodian fragrance, which will be used in the amenities – soaps, shampoos, conditioner, body lotion – in Rosewood’s rooms. Because some of the scents are unfamiliar to him, he doesn’t know yet what shape it will take.

“These are not usual combinations that you would see in perfumery,” he said. “I cannot predict, I cannot see in my mind the smell it is going to have, because I have never seen these combinations.”

He added that the fragrance needed to appeal to guests from around the world, so his creation would be distinctively Cambodian, but universally appealing.

MOST VIEWED

  • Construction begins on $1.5B Kampot seaport

    The International Multi-Purpose Logistics and Port Centre, principally invested by Kampot Logistics and Port Co Ltd and projected to cost $1.5 billion, has officially broken ground in Bokor town, Kampot province. The multi-purpose logistics and port centre, located in Prek Tnaot commune, will be built on

  • Cambodia eyes key role in electronics, auto hubs in SEA

    Two roadmaps, part of the LDC’s economic diversification plan, were designed to see it through its migration process, but experts say the journey might be arduous, particularly in the presence of two established hubs in the region By 2028, Cambodia hopes to have exited the

  • Hun Neng, lawmaker and PM’s brother, passes away aged 72

    Hun Neng, chairman of the 4th Commission of the National Assembly, has passed away from heart disease at the age of 72 on the afternoon of May 5, according to the Ministry of Information. Hun Neng is the older brother of Prime Minister Hun Sen, and was

  • CCC team off on US business trip

    The Kingdom’s leading economists and private sector representatives have called on the US to renew its tax preferential status for Cambodian exports, as a Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) delegation departed for a weeklong business visit to the US, where they will meet with

  • PM meets with US business giants

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has met with a number of major US companies who have expressed interest in investing in Cambodia, in a meeting convened by the US-ASEAN Business Council (US-ABC). A delegation of companies – including Amazon, Meta, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, Ford, Visa and Pernod

  • Massive stingrays may live in Mekong’s deep pools

    US scientists have suggested that unexplored deep pools in the Mekong River in an area of Stung Treng could potentially be home to significant populations of giant freshwater stingrays, one of the world’s largest freshwater fish species. This comes as a fisherman hooked a 180