ALICE & THE MAGICIAN
Aaron Wisniewski, Founder, CEO
Designed by Bar, Restaurant and Hospitality professionals in collaboration with chemists and perfumers
"Our fragrances transform food, drink, body and home into something magical. We experience this magic every day. It's our passion and our mission to share it with you. Alice and the Magician was started by a group of restaurant professionals with idea of capturing specific moments through the art of fragrance"- A&M
- Can you tell us of your background?
I design flavors and fragrances. I spent most of my life as a chef, mixologist and sommelier.
I was born and raised in a small town just outside of Burlington, Vermont. It was very rural and since TV, computers etc weren't a part of my life my childhood involved lot of playing outdoors and exploring the world around me. I was fairly quiet and shy as a kid so I would spend hours and hours just kind of “collecting” by touching, smelling and tasting. Sitting in the garden, poking around the brook and collecting specimens was my world. My curiosity translated into the kitchen as well. Even before I could reach the counter I would stand on a stool to knead bread or peel garlic. As I got became a teenager I felt I had outgrown the gardens, fields and woods in my little sphere and wanted to travel. So at 13 I got my first job in a small restaurant making sauces and pulling blistered pizza from the hearth and preparing vegetables. I was enamored with all of it. happened in the kitchen was alchemy. But alchemy that happened at high octane with flames, knives, yelling and sweat. That set the stage for the next 20 years of my life.
- Where did you get the idea to create what you have?
When you slice into a fresh citrus you experience about 3 seconds of bliss. Its actually the death of that citrus. You are experiencing the soul of the citrus leaving its body in the form of volatile aroma compounds. Moments like these are so beautiful, so powerful and so important to chefs and bartenders. We are constantly striving to create and preserve aroma but always fall short. I needed to figure out a way to capture and bottle these “scent memories.”
- How did you begin the process or when did you know that you really were on to something?
The first step was to understand what is happening during these scent memories. What is the exact biochemistry that takes place when the sun hits delicate herbs in the garden causing them to release their perfume. And what is the mechanism in our olfactory sense that gives us such strong, pure pleasure when we inhale that aroma. Scent is so ethereal, poetic and intangible that discovering how it works is a bit like pulling back the curtain in a magic trick. I like to keep the mystery and wonder in it for my clients. The first fragrance I perfected was Citrus Blossom Harvest. The first time I misted it in the sampling flute (I use a glass flute rather then a paper test strip) the smile on my face was so big! Like a child. I had captured something that I had spent almost a decade chasing. I knew others would enjoy the same experience.
- What stage is your company at?
- What projects are you all working on?
The most important thing for me right now is to be working with the taste makers in the beverage industry. It blows my mind how much creative talent there is behind the bars and in kitchens. These artists are using the most evocative and primal medium that has ever existed: flavor. I can give them a tool (one that has not yet existed) that will allow them to express themselves in a way like never before.
- What do you see for the future of your company in 5 years?
The flavor and fragrance industry is a behemoth. There are a few companies that control everything form the taste of Doritos to the latest celebrity fragrance. It is an impressive, storied, controversial and even sometimes beautiful industry. For me, and for many consumers it does not align with our expectations for the products we purchase and the companies we support. The best raw materials are a product of socially and environmentally responsible production. Within a year we hope to be doing our own extractions and have complete control over our supply chain producing the first “farm to bottle” fragrances and “single grower scents”.
- Where do you see the scent world headed?
Although I work with fragrance I certainly do not consider myself a “perfumer” so my vantage point may be quite different then other perfumers. I think there will always be a place in the world for the classics and a continuous flow of moderns made by the large houses but I see the big guys struggling to adapt to a more educated, discerning and regional clientele who want natural products made by transparent and socially conscious companies. Not to mention It is far more interesting to make fragrance for individuals then for “the western market.”
- Is there anything else that you would like to share?
I want to thank Joshua- for putting all of this together. And to the other artists who are a part of this. Many of you have been mentors and inspirations to me.