Cecile Zarokian – Exclusive Interview

Cecile Zarokian, a young and out of the box perfumer

“Perfumery is many things for me at the same time(…) a huge medium to bring emotions and feelings, memories, to express ourselves, to seduce, to improve our everyday life through fragrances”, says Cecile Zarokian, sharing with us her deepest feelings about perfumery, her inspiration and her inner passions, because at the end of the day, perfumers are people like us, but ones who inspire us, who create for our lives to become more vivid through their creations.

An out of the box perfumer, bold and enthusiastic, beautifully composing her fragrances with that edginess beyond traditional boundaries, Cecile Zarokian graduated from ISIPICA and was trained for four years in Robertet. She decided to found her own company and to set up her laboratory in Paris, in order to be able to dedicate her entire time to working freely as an independent perfumer.

  1. What was the moment when you realized that you wanted to be a part of the perfumery world?

After talking to a friend of a friend that studied at ISIPCA (the perfumery school founded by Guerlain where I studied too afterwards) and told me all about her job; the perfumery world, the industry, etc… Then, I worked hard to pass the tests and enter the school, to get an apprenticeship as a perfumer at the fragrance company Robertet.

  1. How would you define your olfactive creations?

I would not… I just try my best to offer original fragrances, but still wearable so both my clients and I can be proud of them.

  1. How does a day look for Cecile Zarokian?

It’s never the same every day, it really depends. But, let’s say it can start with smelling the fragrances I created the day before, making some changes on the formulas to improve them or to try something different, then I have to weigh them at my lab. Since I’m an independent perfumer, running alone my own company, creation is my main job, but not only, I’m also dealing directly with my clients, having meetings with them all along the creation process or I’m placing orders, taking care of financials, public relations, communication, etc. Also, I’m an in-house perfumer for some brands or holding conferences, running masterclass and workshops worldwide, consultancy projects, etc…


  1. You have created the most sensual perfume , Sheiduna for Puredistance. Could you, please, tell us what inspired you to create this amazing perfume?

The brief of Jan-Ewoud Vos was to create an oriental perfume, very feminine, very seductive and sensual, rich and intense, but elegant and sophisticated. Part of the brief were also postcards send to me by Jan-Ewoud, little by little, with panoramic views and feel of golden sand dunes in the desert during sunset, soft, female curves changing from deep gold to warm, orangey red. Also, feminine icons of elegance and sensuality, like Monica Bellucci or Marion Cotillard. Actually, one of the visuals used by Puredistance includes my (Moleskin) original notes of my meeting with Jan-Ewoud, talking about Sheiduna. Name and rhythm of this invented word SHEIDUNA (“She”, “Sheik”,”dune” to evoke feminine curves, and “a” to be feminine) was also an inspiration for the perfume.

5.Which was the first perfume you created?

Amouage Epic Woman, when I was still a trainee at Robertet.

6.Can you tell us which are your favourite ingredients? What about the most difficult to work with?

I don’t really have favourite ingredients, it depends on what I want to create, it’s not about my personal taste, but the effect I want to have for the fragrance.

7.Share with us a funny story linked to a perfume.

I was in New York for a perfume tradeshow and I was doing an interview with a famous blogger that wanted to try one of my perfumes which was pre-launched recently. I had a small vial (with no pump) and he asked me to put the fragrance on his wrist, so I did, but unfortunately, it was a bit too much since I spilled the fragrance all over his wrist… it was Nuit Andalouse from MDCI and I can tell you he will never forget it, this perfume became truly memorable for him, since he was completely “bathed” in it the whole day! 

  1. How do you continue being inspired and what has been the biggest influence in your career so far?

I think we always have to be curious if we want to be creative. Every experience feeds us, people you meet, arts (painting, design, music, cinema, etc), journeys and travels… Every step of the way builds a career and helps you to grow and improve, from mistakes, doubts, to opportunities, momentum, all that is part of the story.

  1. Where do you want to go on vacation? What kind of cuisines do you prefer?

It depends on the mood and time I have…I love going to sunny and warm tropical countries during our cold winter, but I also love the mountains either to go skiing or go hiking. I’m also very lucky, because thanks to my job I travel a lot to many beautiful and interesting countries and cultures. I just came back from Cuba and I really enjoyed it! We are very lucky with French cuisine, but since I love food and I’m open to everything. I love exploring other cuisines and discovering totally new experiences. And, of course, I love the Armenian cuisine every time I can enjoy it, because it’s so delightful, but pretty rare to find and so long to cook!

  1. Describe what perfumery means to you in few words.

Wow…Tough question…Perfumery is many things for me at the same time. It’s my passion, my job, and I would say a very specific and enjoyable way to use one of our most powerful sense, olfaction! A huge medium to bring emotions and feelings, memories, to express ourselves, to seduce, to improve our everyday life through scents.