Symrise, So Much Young Energy Behind An Apparent Quiet Serenity.

2024 . 02 . 08 | written by Laurence Arrigo Klove

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Harmony Between Human Animation and Quiet Wisdom.

Over the years, Symrise has quietly released major acclaimed perfumes for the world’s most prestigious houses: Fahrenheit and Dune for Dior, Amarige for Givenchy, Giorgio for Giorgio Beverly Hills, Envy for Gucci, L’Instant for Guerlain, Hypnose for Lancôme, 1881 for Cerruti, Kenzo Jungle, Musc Ravageur for Edition de Parfums Frédéric Malle, Black XS For Her for Paco Rabanne…

The question one can ask, is where and how, such a great level of creation happens at Symrise?

While Symrise is an international company, with more than one hundred locations and central hubs in France, North America, China, Brazil, and Dubai, its global center is in Holzminden: a small German town of 20’000 inhabitants in the Southern Lower Saxony state.

This remote and quiet place, located by peaceful riverbanks is the historical office since the company’s foundation in 1874. Today, it is still the beacon that powerfully shines and lights the world of Symrise. The Symrise group is the result of a 2003 merger between Haarmann & Reimer and Dragoco, two German companies based in Holzminden. Symrise achieves to make a perfect blend between international talents, young locals and older employees some of whom have worked for the company the whole of their professional life. Margherita Carini, a young Symrise perfumer who trained at the Symrise in-house perfumery school in Holzminden, tells me that the headquarters is uniquely permeated with a family, peaceful atmosphere made of respect for tradition and effervescence from innovation.

The Right Balance between Tradition and Innovation.

Symrise lab, a vast treasure of captive ingredients

Symrise is not only ranked 4th as a world fragrance company, but it also features a perfumery school with its own curriculum program. The learning encompasses technical skills, the knowledge of the company’s high-quality ingredients palette, both synthetic and natural, and it focuses on creativity modules. Margherita tells me she first studied art history & pharmacy in Italy before applying to the prestigious ISIPCA perfumery school in Versailles. There, she was able to fulfill her passion for perfume and successfully graduate in 2017. She decided to continue her education at the Symrise perfume academy where she started in 2019. Her training kicked off at Holzminden with a full immersion in the R&D teams and production facilities. It was then followed by an intense creativity program under the guidance of a mentor, a company expert perfumer, Alienor Massenet. After a comprehensive three and a half years of training, including business cases and creative projects development, Margherita passed the perfumer certificate exam and joined the fine fragrances team in September 2023.

Margherita Carini’s smile, displaying her perfume certificate next to her mentor, Alienor Massenet, VP senior perfumer Symrise.

A Deep Commitment to Sustainability & High Quality.

The company’s sustainable approach regarding ingredients, both natural and synthetic, fuels Margherita’s work with additional motivation. Her aspiration to do the right thing, to contribute to a positive economic development, to human well-being is happily fulfilled. Sustainability is core to Symrise’s strategy as the company CEO, Dr. Heinz-Jürgen Bertram, explains:

"We are always thinking about future generations: We assume social responsibility, create pioneering technologies and focus on resource-friendly processes.”

Her fascination for Symrise’s quality of ingredients remains intact. Symrise owns fifteen patent ‘de Laire’ bases, named after Georges de Laire, who discovered in 1879 the first synthetic vanillin; precious treasures that belong to l’Osmothèque. He was a visionary entrepreneur and an innovative scientist together with his wife, Marie-Thérèse de Laire, who was a pioneer of contemporary perfumery, blending revolutionary molecules with natural raw materials. The de Laire bases are made of a combination of ingredients and are constantly updated with new releases. Margherita has worked on one of the two new bases which has been developed for the opening of the new Symrise creative hub in Dubai last November. Oud Onyx DL is a beautiful composition, built on a contrast between a leathery, animalic warm note and a modern, mineral, cold side. When asked about her favorite ingredient, she quickly responds ‘vetiver’! In her view, vetiver is magically complex, a mix of shadow and light, both woody, deep, and earthy but also citrusy, fruity, and sunny. Symrise has its own production of vetiver in Madagascar, tapping into Maison Lautier 1795, its natural ingredients brand.

Maison Lauthier fields of vetiver, Madagascar
Maison Lauthier vanilla crop, Madagascar

Margherita’s admiration for her company’s serious expertise, non-superfluous approach, and ongoing assets investments is high. In her work, she can tap into a vast array of tools, resources, and technology; one of them is SymTrap®, an exclusive Symrise innovation patented in 2008, that allows the extraction of odorant compounds from a natural ingredient in its aqueous state in a completely sustainable way: 100% renewable, 100% biodegradable, from an upcycled technology, vegan. Margherita’s favorites are SymTrap® Banana and SymTrap® Strawberry and her enthusiasm is clearly noticeable when she describes to me how beautiful those scented notes are.

Margherita's World Is Under A Spell of Happiness.

Italy, her home country strongly influences the work of Margherita Carini and her creations. She likes ‘sunny’ fragrances, full of sparkling ingredients and happy smiles:

"To create happy fragrances, I explore journeys in my head using ingredients that I imagine to be smiling or try to write olfactory shapes that make me feel joyful". Margherita Carini, Symrise Perfumer

The joy from her country’s olfactive heritage has expanded inside the world of Symrise; a place where one feels part of a strong family, where teams work harmoniously together, where a young freshness mixes with the mature peacefulness. It is like an enchanted village inhabited by a passionate community of perfume lovers. A sparkling place under the spell of perfume magicians and enthusiastic partisans.

Margherita happily inspired in Dubai.

The effervescent world of Margherita is now in Dubai at the Jardins Arabia premises inaugurated in November 2023. A special place with a deep scent knowledge, and tradition of strong, long-lasting perfumes; a hub ahead of the trends and quick to embrace them, at the crossroads between the West and the East. She belongs to a team of three perfumers working at an accelerated speed that they all enjoy wholeheartedly. She explains that a project which from conception to shelves would need a minimum of one year in Europe, can be turned around in Dubai in only four months. When I ask her to pick some of her perfume creations, she firmly selects Noir for Al Majed Oud. She likes the black color interpretation built on a contrast between a dark smokey leathery note and a red plum fruity side. She also selects Over.dose. developed for Scentologia, freely and creatively inspired by the cannabis smoke and constructed on a contrast of spicy, bitter, and sweet notes.

Noir, by Al Majed Oud, a creation of Margherita Carini
Over.dose by Scentologia, perfume by Margherita Carini

The Symrise World of Margherita. What a Wonderful World.

The story of Margherita and her description of the perfume world she is living in, made me think of the beautiful song of Louis Amstrong. I twisted the lyrics in the following lines:

I smell scents made of green, red roses too. I see them bloom for me and you.

The smells of the fragrances so pretty. The faces of people so shiny.

And I think to myself what a wonderful world.