Justin James of James&co Perfumes
- Can you tell us your background who you are and when did you first took interest in perfume?
My interest in perfume was not always in the forefront of my mind. I am actually a Graphic Designer and my main passion has been Design from a very early age. I grew up in a small seaside village called Somers on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, Australia. Growing up I had a mother who suffered from migraines, so I didn't really have much to do with scent (except the one she was able to wear which was “Vanderbilt”) until much later in life.
My sister and I, now that we think back, have always had excellent scent memory retention, both having a great scent vocabulary and an ability to colour code scents in unison. So I do find that I respect her thoughts on my creations very much. As a younger man, one of my favorite pastimes was trawling the department store fragrance sections, smelling everything they had a tester for, pin pointing the notes in each of the fragrances to the best of my memory, or researching those I was yet to memorize.
- How did the idea behind James&Co first come about?
After many years of my fragrant expeditions to the department stores, I had begun to construct in my mind a masculine scent. Using the memory of notes from many other fragrances, I started writing down notes and accords which I felt would work in a completely new composition. My concept was to put together notes which would bring back a scent of masculinity which I felt was being lost. So after many years I finally found myself in a position where I had some money and some time to not only do some study in Perfumery, but also afford to buy the necessities to bring my creation from the depths of my mind and into reality. Thus “Seven” Eau De Parfum was born, and very soon after, JAMES&CO. That brand name being my name obviously, and a small homage to those who have helped along the way in the “&CO”.
- What stage is the brand in now and what is your vision for the next five years?
I have been putting things with James&CO in motion for the last 3 months, in terms of the actual business, getting our look right, and of course fine tuning our first four fragrances, but I am still in the construction mode at this stage. February/March will essentially be our first “launch” if you will, into the public eye. We have experimented with some different bottles, but have now finalized our bottles and how we want them to look. It is a sad truth that the bottle is practically just as important as the fragrance inside these days, so we have tried really hard to get something together that both looks great and is sustainable to our business.
Although we do have our pretty pictures and our branding, we are not about mass marketed fragrance which relies on consumer testing. I create fragrances from my mind based on a concept, not on a demographic. Our scents will be artistic expressions which we can only hope people will love as much as we do! So over the next 5 years we will be creating new and interesting fragrances for men and women and just building a reputation and a name within the niche market.
- You’re a self taught perfumer please tell us about the process that you started to learn the craft?
Firstly, I would never call myself a “perfumer”, a perfumer is a professional chemist with years of training and experience. This is probably better answered in your next question, but I think the only bad thing about all the new niche companies popping up is the misconception that anyone making perfumes is a perfumer. Although I have taken it upon myself to do some training in Perfumery, I am not a chemist, and I do not know enough to considered a “perfumer”. I am simply an artist who makes perfume…..
In addition to training, I have and continue to do copious amounts of research both scientific and artistic on both perfume ingredients and the use of each in compositions. I also do many experiments, both in concepts and wearablilty. I am constantly learning and being taught by many different people within the industry and outside of it.
- Finally what are your views on the independent perfume scene and the new brands that are emerging?
As you can imagine I read many interviews with Perfumers, both in high-end magazines and in the myriad of perfume blogs out there on the web. The one thing which seems to be constant is that Perfume as an industry is becoming more and more “paint by numbers”, perfumers are now so restricted by the companies they work for to create exactly what the market research has dictated, that the industry is losing its originality….Can you imagine if Monet had worked for a company and was told to only use red and green paint? The many Niche Companies popping up are almost like a rebellion against the industry. These small outfits are able to use perfumery as an art form as it once was, which I think it fantastic. It will be these small perfumeries like my own, which keep the art alive.
Seven eau de toilette | 100ml | Masculine
Notes | Bergamot, Pink Peppercorn, Fig Accord, Tobacco, Leather, Civet, Clear Wood
Mood | Seven does nothing quietly. A sweet bright beginning leading into a dark, mysterious and brutally masculine story. Visions of a man sitting upon a high backed leather chair, his sweet pipe smoke still lingering in the air. He speaks with confidence and power, a cheeky smirk hints at his sweetness and sex appeal.
Winterosa eau de parfum | 50ml | Feminine
Notes | Verbena Mint, Steel Rose, Gardenia, Clean Amber, Green Wood, Fig Accord
Mood | Where traditional florals exude a warm and powdery appeal, Winterosa turns the appeal around 180 degrees to give coolness and a crisper take on the traditional floral fragrance. From the creamy headiness of Gardenia, to a cool dewey Rose. With the additions of Mint and Fig lending a freshness and sweetness respectively, making Winterosa a unique scent for the floral lover after something a little different.
D'Azul eau de toilette | 100ml | Unisex
Notes | Green Tea Accord, Peppermint, Bergamot, Absinthe, Bluewood, Fig Accord
Mood | D’Azul (loose translation ‘The Blue”) takes the bare bones of a blue/ocean scent, and adds just enough intrigue to create something altogether unfamiliar yet immensely appealing. Taking the clean coolness of absinthe and adding the sweetness of the Green Tea Accord has you walking a fine line between a dewey green forest and the crystalline blue ocean of the Costa Del Sol.
Elegancia eau de parfum | 50ml | Feminine
Notes | Mandarin, Peppermint, Bergamot, Green Rose, Clear Wood, Floral Accord
Mood | Elegancia is delicate, fresh and alluring. Imagine a fresh green rose, covered in morning dew, floating on a crystal clear pond. The air scented with sweet mandarin and peppermint. The scent evokes an image of a woman in white, bare feet on moss by the pond, the light breeze shifting her dress ever so slightly.