The Olfactive

Anna Zworykina

Fragrances of Anna Zworykina Perfumes are living beings that grow, change, blossom and fade, connecting with your skin, entering into a dialogue with you, inviting you to participate in perfume creation by adding your own notes and meanings.

Can you begin at the begining of your journey into perfumery?

I began composing fragrances following my inner calling. Ever since I was a child, I’ve been in awe of scents in both nature and in the city; I’ve started to collect them in my memory. As soon as we got the opportunity to buy some natural essential oils, I began experimenting with them. Recreating a specific moment in a fragrance, making a perfumery sketch, or drawing a portrait in aromas – at the end of the day, composing a perfume that makes one emotional – that is where I find interest and inspiration.

What is your history and background?

I live in a big city; however, I love nature and deeply appreciate it. My life is tightly tied to nature: I am a biologist, after graduating from the Moscow State University, I worked as a biochemist specialized in molecular oncology. After I got my Ph.D., I came to realize I would prefer creative work to science. The year 2004 was a landmark in my career: I started making perfumes not only for my own needs but also for my friends. Since that time, many changes have taken place.

In 2007, I opened a Natural Perfumery community in Livejournal. We organized the first Natural Perfumery trade show in 2008. In 2009, I wrote a book on the natural perfumery; two years ago I re-edited it, and last autumn the book was published.

I continue exploring the endless possibilities offered by the natural essences, and I appreciate every chance to improve my skills.

  • Had there always been a interest in fragrance or was it something that developed over time?

I never paid special attention to fragrances when I was a kid. They constituted my background, not more than for any other kid living in a city. Perhaps even less so: I was growing up in Moscow. My mother was a doctor and infrequently used any perfumes at all, while my father still hates intense scents up to now. We had barely any spice in the kitchen, and I had no particular interest in food anyway. But one fine day, I became passionate about cooking, and then about perfumes as well. Gradually, I learned to distinguish among the bright colors of the world and enjoy them. Fragrances have been my faithful companions in this breathtaking journey.

Are there any scents that last in your memories from your childhood?

Of course! I have a particularly strong recollection of the scent in a summer pinewood on a bank of the Volga river. Gummy wood saturated with the heat, pine needles, forest strawberries, and wayside sagebrush. Hot sand and dry air – this is the scent of sunlight.

How did you start your training into perfume making?

I’ve learned the trade by myself. I began from composing mixtures for cosmetics purposes, but soon I got interested in perfumes. It took a lot of effort and time to explore and experiment with the natural components before I successfully completed my first order and started working with clients. I’ve been creating natural perfumes for over 12 years. I was attracted to natural perfumes because of love for elegant aromas, desire for an abundance of perfumes for every day and for every mood. I wish the people smelling a wonderful aroma could get back to living through this unique moment and feel life in all its glory. That’s my way of increasing world harmony.

Creating perfumes for me is akin to finding the Philosopher’s Stone, except for the fact the truth I strive for isn’t singular, it has thousands of varying images, each unique, just like life itself.

How did the brand begin?

Anna Zworykina Perfumes are created exclusively from pure and natural essences. I have over 500 natural ingredients in my perfumery palette. Regular Сollection and Limited Edition Collections of Anna Zworykina Perfumes comprise about 100 perfumes - from classic compositions to avant-garde, "rebel" scents. It is represented by light and sunny groups of "Landscape" fragrances, "Floral" perfumes, cozy "Warm and Enwrapping" fragrance compositions. A special pride of the regular collection of Anna Zworykina Perfumes is the "Leather" collection that explores all leather themes, and also the "Gothic" collection that contains perfumes with the intriguing game of aromatic notes and shifting accents, creating perfume tales for the most demanding and unusual olfactory tastes.

I completed my first order in the year 2004 and since then I created over 100 aromas for perfume admirers.

  • Can you speak about your team, and how every-ones area of creativity merges to create the brand and scents?

Anna Zworykina Perfumes is a small company where I basically do all the things myself, and my husband works here as well. Two years ago I hired an assistant who helps me with shipping. We are still small enough that I can manage everything myself.

I encounter things that inspire me to create perfumes all around me! An 18th-century poem or a piece of contemporary photography can trigger my inspiration. Each time I get inspired, or I discover a rare and beautiful aromatic component, I can’t help making another perfume! When I got a hold of a black tea absolute and a white cedar absolute, I thought it would be a crime not to mix them. I was completely blown away by this composition, so I added immortelle and some flowers, and animalistic notes of castoreum, jasmine, and fleur d’orange… And a new leather perfume was born, I named it “The second skin”. I made it regardless of the fact that I already have six leather-related perfumes.

Can you speak on the design of the bottles?

I believe packing plays an important role in the presentation of a perfume. I pay special attention to color combinations and design of the stickers, wrapping, and boxing, and I prefer to have my scent-bottles in a minimalistic style. I normally sell my perfumes in 4.5 ml splash bottles, and perfume water in 8 ml spray bottles.

Can you speak on the concept of the line?

Anna Zworykina Perfumes are all-natural artisan fragrances for those perfumery connoisseurs, who would like to expand their horizon of olfactory sense and get incredible olfactory experiences. Adventurous explorers that appreciate soulful hand-crafted creations will be glad to discover the unique symphony of natural perfumery, its diversity, and opportunities for self-exploration and expression. Artisan perfumery is a choice for those who seek individuality of style. Hand-made by an artist, these creations let us express our personalities by finding something that resonates with you, not anybody else. Nowadays, getting tired of modern world standards, more and more people are leaning towards a "slow-life" style and choosing hand-made creations. Hand-made things allow us to be in harmony with ourselves without chasing after superfluous expectations.

Intriguing compositions of artisan perfumes are not like perfumery mainstream: even the most traditional and classic fragrances among them still carry their own style, a spark and a note of humor. I believe that by using natural perfumes people can cultivate a sophisticated and expanded perception, and also get the chance to resist the modern industry of imitations and fakes.

  • What is something that you would like people to feel or experience when wearing your scents?

Connecting with natural craft perfumery is always a unique adventure, exploration of the world and of your own self, discovery of yet unknown aspects of life. 

Multi-dimensional compositions of natural ingredients are similar in their essence to complex paint palettes or unique voices of ethnic musical instruments. Unlike open notes of synthetic perfumes, these are softer, quieter, manifesting in a more intimate way. And yet with all this quiet subtlety, natural fragrances can astonish you with their hidden depth and warmth; they can help you forget about the bustle of everyday life and find a source of joyful creative inspiration. Using natural perfumes is a special ritual, a moment for you alone to contemplate the subtle aromatic play, submerging into the depth of aromatic polyphony. I think, you cannot enter the same fragrance more than once - it’s a changing living character of natural perfumes. Playing upon thousands of variations, a fragrance will act differently depending on every person, depending on the time of the day and the season, even on your mood.

Where is the line of fragrance sold?

In my shops on Etsy and its Russian analogue called “Yarmarka masterov”.

Finally is there anything else that you would like to share.

My «Natural Perfumery» blog is the most popular and respected Russian source on natural materials and aromas. I also host Natural Perfume Courses and all the students continue to successfully use the knowledge they acquire in class after they graduate. I’m committed to developing the natural perfume aesthetics in Russia and published my book «Clove to Sandalwood. An Olfactory ABC and a Guide to the World of Natural Perfumes» which guides the readers through the wondrous world of natural aromas.

This year, I’m organizing the first Russian Indie-perfumers festival: The collaboration between independent perfumers and those who love and review perfumes.

A group of perfume journalists and bloggers set the theme for the 1st Festival — Rose & Water. Each perfumer among the participants was invited to create one fragrance on the given theme within a 6-week period. There are both all-natural and natural-plus-synthetic perfumes. Every Festival set includes all the Rose-Water scents made by the participating indie perfumers from different cities (Moscow, St-Petersburg, Krasnodar, Nizhni Novgorod, Petrozavodsk, Tomsk, and Dnepropetrovsk). These perfume sets will be delivered straight to perfume bloggers to be reviewed.