Ex Nihilo’s Benoît Verdier on How to Create Addictiveness

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Category Town
Date July 19 2023
Reading Time 3 min.

Ex Nihilo’s Benoît Verdier on How to Create Addictiveness

In September this year Ex Nihilo will be celebrating their 10th anniversary, in the wake of which Ex Nihilo will be releasing a new ultra limited perfume edition — Blue Talisman. This news was delivered to Londoners personally by Benoît Verdier, one of Ex Nihilo’s co-founders, who came to Harrods London to talk about the house’s new creation and share some of its most interesting secrets.

Founded in 2013, Ex Nihilo has since become one of the most eminent Parisian fragrance houses, building an elite brand of an innovative and uncompromising vision of high perfumery. Staying true to the French nature of combining luxury and freedom, and inspired by the avant-garde, Ex Nihilo is a pioneer of personalized perfumery and an alternative to stereotypical mass-produced fragrance.

Benoît Verdier shared a couple of secrets to the fragrance house’s rise to success as well as allowing the guests of Harrods to smell the separate extracts of the ingredients that Ex Nihilo’s perfumers use to create the scents that are so recognisably unique and deliberately addictive. Verdier explained that by working with 16 different perfumers, as well as collaborating with other independent perfumers, which was the case with the upcoming Blue Talisman, and offering them a Carte Blanche to bring their wildest visions to life allowed Ex Nihilo to create “perfumes that are like jewellery”. Verdier empathised that every perfume created by Ex Nihilo has its own distinctive character, personality and temperament, which are also derived from the use of the most exotic and premium materials from around the world.

Verdier did not waste a chance to prove that by presenting individual extracts of the materials used for a couple of Ex Nihilo’s favourites and asking guests to try and figure out what they are, turning the session into a fun game of exploration of the infinite possibilities of modern perfumery. Although Ex Nihilo’s signature olfactory notes created from extracts of Rose de Mai and Tuscan Iris were not displayed this time, Verdier chose to focus on far more extravagant and unusual materials — guests were given a chance to enjoy the extracts of Lemon, Saffron, Patchouly, Ylang-Ylang, Cedar Wood and Vetiver independently.

Of course, the ingredients were no secret and are often used by other perfumeries, however Verdier explained how Ex Nihilo’s system of layering the olfactory notes creates such distinct and signature product — “The secret is to place the addictive and strong notes on top, create an unexpected twist with a second note, and finish it with a gentle and pacifying materials as the bottom note”.

The key to Ex Nihilo’s success, however, is not just their ability to quite literally “build” scents, but to also time after time to maintain the brand’s ability to create something so daring and recognisable. Verdier described it as the fragrance house’s unofficial yet very seriously taken policy to make every single perfume experimental. By pushing the limits with the unexpected top olfactory notes combinations, balancing them out by the unexpected twist of the second note and the harmonising scents of the bottom note Ex Nihilo developed their scents to be unlike any other brand — immediately recognisable, conspicuous and unforgettable.

Verdier noted that this technique of boundary-pushing perfume creation has helped to take Ex Nihilo’s marketing to a whole new level as the perfumes are so addictive that once one comes into contact with someone wearing an Ex Nihilo product they would immediately ask for the perfume’s name, which the co-founders have proven themselves many times when they were just starting out. Verdier shared a story, which could be considered a marketing campaign of its own, if it wasn’t so lucky and timely. When Ex Nihilo was still yet to earn the name that it has today on the international perfumery market, Verdier and the other co-founders would give out their products to friends, which, almost solely relying on the word of mouth, made Ex Nihilo reach Jennifer Lopez, who, when visiting Paris, sat next to one of Verdier’s friend at a restaurant. Needless to day that Lopez was absolutely charmed by Ex Nihilo’s Fleur Narcotique that Verdier’s friend was wearing and had to ask for the name of the perfume.

Fleur Narcotique has since become one of Ex Nihilo’s most recognisable and widely adored perfumes, which is not surprising with its olfactory notes following the regular Ex Nihilo scheme of experimenting with materials. The top notes of this perfume consisting of bergamot, lychee and peach and grounded with the Ex Nihilo’s favourite musk and wood create an addictive, almost narcotically scent. Verdier, who is a dedicated fan of Fleur Narcotique, has promised that the upcoming Blue Talisman will be the new, elegant combination from the previous experiments with musk, wood and other refreshing but addictive scents.

Considering how the knowledge of the perfumery making that exists within Ex Nihilo that Verdier has so kindly shared only raised the already sky-high expectations of the house’s upcoming products, Blue Talisman promises to be a sensation when it finally comes out o 1st of September.