Early 20th Century Perfumers: Two of the Best

Perfumery has been an art form for centuries, and the early 20th century was no exception. This era saw the rise of two of the most famous perfumers of all time: Ernest Beaux and Jacques Guerlain. These two men revolutionized the perfume industry with their innovative fragrances and techniques that are still celebrated today.

Ernest Beaux was born in Moscow in 1881 and began his career in perfumery in the early 1900s. He started working for the Russian perfumery house of Rallet and Co, where he gained a reputation for his unique approach to fragrance creation. In 1913, Beaux was commissioned by Coco Chanel to create a new scent for her. The result was Chanel No. 5, one of the most iconic fragrances of all time. The fragrance was groundbreaking in its use of synthetic ingredients, including aldehydes, which gave it a clean, modern scent. Beaux continued to work for Chanel, creating more fragrances and inspiring a generation of perfumers with his innovative approach.

Jacques Guerlain was born in France in 1874 and came from a long line of perfumers. His grandfather, Pierre-Francois Pascal Guerlain, founded the Guerlain perfume house in 1828, and his father, Gabriel, continued the family tradition. Jacques joined the family business in 1898 and quickly became known for his creativity and attention to detail. He was responsible for some of the most famous fragrances in the Guerlain line, including Jicky (created in 1889), Shalimar (created in 1925), and Mitsouko (created in 1919). Guerlain was known for his ability to create complex fragrances that evolved over time, with different notes becoming more prominent as the scent dried down. He also pioneered the use of synthetic ingredients in his fragrances, which allowed for greater consistency and control in the creation process.

Both Beaux and Guerlain were instrumental in the development of modern perfumery, and their influence can still be seen today. Beaux's use of synthetic ingredients in Chanel No. 5 paved the way for future perfumers to experiment with new materials, while Guerlain's innovative use of fragrance notes and his attention to detail inspired a generation of perfumers to push the boundaries of what was possible. Their fragrances remain some of the most iconic and sought-after in the world, and their legacies continue to inspire new generations of perfumers.

Written by Darryl Hunter