The Fragrant Man has been interviewing men in various cities to talk about their fragrant journey, current choices and to share a glimpse into their lives.
So far the city interviews have been:
Tonight The Scented Salon is in Singapore. Last time we were here the interviewee thought that ‘scent is … a disguise‘. This time around we are talking to a perfume collector. His name is Dr Stuart Koe.
Welcome Stuart. How did your fragrant journey begin?
The first scents that came into my consciousness were the ones my mother used to wear. I didn’t know what they were called until much later, just memories of floral, powdery notes that brought comfort when they were near. Amongst these were Jean Patou and YSL, and of course the ubiquitous Chanel No. 5 – but instead of Marilyn, the image would be of my mother.
During adolescence, when I began my sexual awakening, around 14 to 15 years of age, the guys I met wore Drakkar Noir and Polo – these are forever imprinted in my mind as the smells of my first sexual experiences. Occasionally when I get a whiff of either on the street, I am instantly transported and reminded of men twice my age who were doubly paramours and mentors. It was an age of discovery and experimentation.
The first colognes I bought were all from Calvin Klein – first Obsession for Men, then Eternity for Men. As a teenager, I was easily mesmerised by the homoerotic imagery conjured by the Calvin Klein campaigns. Little did I realise the ground that was being broken at the time, in terms of the hypersexualised imagery and homoerotic content – certainly it helped to fuel my early impressions of what masculinity could look and smell like.
As I matured, so did my choice of scents. For one, I started eschewing mainstream, mass marketed scents, and searched for unusual, signature scents. I could recognise some people by the scent they wore, and so I chose colognes that were unique and different, yet instantly recognisable.
Romeo Gigli Uomo was an early favourite, because of how it changed on my skin, and through the day.
Later favourites include L’eau D’Issey, COMMES des GARÇONS 2, Dolce & Gabbana pour Homme, Paul Smith Extreme Men and currently Terre D’Hermes.
Do you buy for yourself?
I’ve always bought my own scents – I have almost never liked the scents that I’ve been given as gifts. It’s such a personal thing – an expression of yourself, it’s highly unlikely that a gift could be such a “perfect” fit. For the same reason, I’ve stopped buying scents as gifts for other people. A person’s choice of scent (or lack thereof) is part of their expression of who they are. I wouldn’t dare impose – this is what I think you should smell like.
What are your perfume preferences or notes that you like.
I love cedar, musk, bergamot, patchouli, tobacco, cardamom. Spicy, woody base notes. I love CdG 2’s unique inky and earthy notes. D&G pour Homme reminds me of my party days. Bulgari for Men smells like rolling around in a pile of fresh-mown grass.
I’ve been wearing Terre D’Hermes almost exclusively since I discovered it when it was launched. Close to perfection – complex, refined and very potent. It reminds me of fine-grained leather and cuban cigars. I love how it smells at the end of a day, after it’s got sweat and work mixed in, earthy, spicy and grounded. Very sexy.
What is the purpose of perfume?
A means of self-expression. The choice of one’s scent, in combination with one’s own physical chemistry, makes the result wholly unique and personal.
Do you think perfumery is art, artisanal, design and manufacturing, molecular architecture or something else?
It’s alchemy – the transformation of molecules into experiences. Every experience is unique, both as the wearer and for anyone who comes in contact with the wearer.
What is your career?
My new project, SuperSlyde is alchemy in the same vein. Many people overlook the importance of good lubrication to the sexual experience, or “sexperience”. Yet, unlike physical chemistry or having the “right” technique, it is something you can purchase off the shelf.
Not all lubricants are created equal, and it frustrated my partner Abra and I how difficult it was to find good personal lubricants that were also affordable. We spent 18 months in R&D to perfect a silicone formulation that hits the sweet spot of lubrication – sensorial, texture, long-lasting, and lubricity, resulting in a product that is unlike any on the market. In the year that we have launched SuperSlyde, many of our customers have testified that it delivers what we promised – an “Over The Top Sexperience”.
Now available in Australia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, SuperSlyde is bringing great sexperiences all over the world.
The Gaining of Knowledge
Where and how did you gain knowledge?
I believe that wisdom is a process of remembering that which we already know; through experience and a never ending process of choosing how we express ourselves, through the choices we make and the actions we take.
Thank you for your insights and sharing your fragrant journey with us Stuart.