Jacques Cavallier is a French perfumer who has created independently or collaborated with other perfumers in creating more than 80 perfumes for brands such as Christian Dior, Givenchy, Issey Miyake, Yves Saint Laurent, and Lancome. Like King Midas, everything he touched in the perfume world turned to pure gold, and the world of luxury is his natural habitat.
I have no excuse to justify bad perfume. I am free to create. I am free to use all the materials I want. Price is not an issue. I am like a creator who proposes his vision, unique in the world of perfume.
Jacques Cavallier was born on January 24, 1962, in Grasse, the “capital of perfumes”, where his family has lived since the 15th century. He was eight years old when he told his father that he was planning to become a perfumer. It was in his blood.
I was born in Grasse – my father was a perfumer; my grandfather was a perfumer and his father before him. My daughter, who is now learning from me, will be the fifth generation of perfumers and the first woman in our family tradition.
Just a day after graduating from high school, Cavallier began working at a perfume factory in Grasse. He mixed fragrances with natural, raw ingredients with his father. Hence his favorite perfume ingredients are rose, oud, jasmine, and orange blossom.
From the perfumer’s point of view, the rose is a symbol of femininity, which means a strong character, sensitivity, dynamism, softness, eternity, he explained to The Cut.
Jacques Cavallier started his career in the perfume company Charabot, and after three years, he went to the fragrance laboratory at Quest International – Naarden in the Netherlands. He joined PFV Aroma Chemicals B.V. In 1988, and two years later (1990), it became a conglomerate of Firmenich fragrances and flavors. At Firmenich, he collaborated with many well-known perfume names: Albert Morillas on the creation of Calvin Klein Truth, Carolina Herrera Chic, Ermenegildo Zegna Essenza di Zegna, Givenchy Hot Couture, Oscar de la Renta Intrusion, Van Cleef & Arpels Murmure, and Yves Saint Laurent M7 are just some of the perfumes he created there.
Jacques Cavallier has also created fragrances for some of the biggest names in the luxury industry – from Boucheron to Bvlgari, Calvin Klein to Christian Dior, and Giorgio Armani to Givenchy, and in 2012 he became the main perfumer for Louis Vuitton.
Cavallier’s almost love affair with the Louis Vuitton brand began half a century before that. As a teenager, he wanted to buy a gift for his mother with the money he saved from his first job.
I saw the Louis Vuitton store, with those fantastic glittering shop windows. I was only 17, but I was welcomed as a king. I explained that I wanted to buy a gift for Mother’s Day. I chose a lovely red bag, and the girl who worked there came back with a huge box, decorated with a beautiful bow. I understood what luxury means in the true sense of the word. At that time, I could not know that I would work for them one day, but from that moment, I became a big fan of them, he explained in one of the many interviews.
After Cavallier joined Louis Vuitton as a master perfumer, LMVH brought together perfumers working on luxury fragrance brands, including Jacques Polge of Chanel, Jean-Claude Ellen of Hermes, Mathilde Laurent of Cartier, Thomas Fontaine of Jean Patou and Thierry Wasser of Guerlain, with whom Cavallier has collaborated on many projects.
This master perfumer is also known for being ready to go to the most remote parts of the world to get the highest quality raw ingredients. Thus, he procured Peruvian balsam from the forests of El Salvador, fresh ginger from Nigeria, and cocoa from the Ivory Coast. For oud, described as “Paradise Fragrance”, “God’s Tree” and “Smell of Nirvana”, and currently the most expensive oil in the perfume industry, he went straight to Bangladesh. By the way, this oil costs 1.5 times more on the market than gold, so it is no wonder that another name for it is “liquid gold”. However, the most impressive is his search for cardamom, which took him to Guatemala.
We were in a city called Coban, one of the most dangerous and at the same time one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen, he told Lifestyle. Located in the valley, it is surrounded by mountains and coffee fields. The area is full of snakes and drug dealers from Mexico. But the ordinary people I met there were unforgettable. Descendants of the Maya, they maintained a very original way of life. I spent some time with them, and the impressions are a danger all around you, kindness everywhere next to you. It was an experience I will remember for a lifetime.
In addition to natural ingredients, some of its most successful perfumes also contain synthetic molecules such as methylbenzodioxepinone (8-methyl-1,5-benzodioxepinone-3-one), known in the industry as Calone or colloquially “watermelon ketone”. This light, airy scent of the sea wind with the watery feeling of watermelon, Cavallier used in Acqua di Gio and L’Eau d’Issey in the 1990s, and in Bvlgari Aqva Pour Homme Marine. To gain longevity and a modern character, hedione, a synthetic molecule similar to jasmine, is often used.
He often mentions that others created his favorite perfumes: Christian Dior – Eau Sauvage and Yves Saint Laurent – Opium. One fragrance stands out in particular: the scent of his mother’s Diorissimo, by the magical Edmond Roudnitska, which, as he says, “adores”.
He considers Acqua di Gio (for men) by Giorgio Armani and Issey Miyake L’Eau d’Issey (for women) to be his most successful perfumes.
Perfume making is the art of turning an idea into reality and feeling into a scent, and perfume is an emotion that can be associated with many things.
Jacques Cavallier is the winner of the 2004 Francois Coty Prix, now known as the Prix International du Parfum.
List of perfumes created by Jacques Cavallier:
- Alexander McQueen Kingdom (2003)
- Amouage Library Collection Opus V (2011)
- Azzaro Oh La La
- Boucheron Initial (2000)
- Boucheron Trouble (2004)
- Bvlgari Ambero (2016)
- Bvlgari Eau Parfumee au Thé Blanc (2003)
- Bvlgari Eau Parfumée au Thé Noir (2015)
- Bvlgari Aqva Amara (2014)
- Bvlgari Aqva Pour Homme (2005)
- Bvlgari Aqva Pour Homme Toniq (2011)
- Bvlgari Aqva Pour Homme Marine (2008)
- Bvlgari Aqva Pour Homme Marine Toniq (2011)
- Bvlgari Blv Eau de Parfum II (2009)
- Bvlgari Falkar (2019)
- Bvlgari Garanat (2016)
- Bvlgari Gyan (2016)
- Bvlgari Malakeos (2016)
- Bvlgari Onekh (2016)
- Bvlgari Opalon (2019)
- Bvlgari Splendida Magnolia Sensuel (2018)
- Bvlgari Tygar (2016)
- Bvlgari Yasep (2019)
- Cacharel Amor Pour Homme Tentation (2008)
- Calvin Klein Eternity Moment
- Calvin Klein Man (2007)
- Calvin Klein Truth
- Carolina Herrera Chic (2002)
- Cartier Pasha (1992)
- Caudalie Parfum Divin (2014)
- Caudalie Thé des Vignes (2011)
- Christian Dior Midnight Poison (2007)
- Diesel Fuel for Life for Him (2007)
- Diesel Fuel for Life Unlimited (2008)
- Eau d’Italie Un Bateau Pour Capri (2012)
- Ermenegildo Zegna Essenza di Zegna (2003)
- Exte J’S Exte Woman (2005)
- Fendi Theorema Uomo (2001)
- Giorgio Armani Acqua di Gio pour homme (1996)
- Giorgio Armani Emporio Armani Diamonds Black Carat (2011)
- Giorgio Armani Emporio Armani Diamonds Pour Homme (2008)
- Giorgio Armani Mania (2000)
- Giorgio Armani Onde Vertige (2008)
- Givenchy Hot Couture (2000)
- Halle Berry Closer (2012)
- Issey Miyake L’Eau d’Issey (1992)
- Issey Miyake L’Eau d’Issey Fleur de Bois (2010)
- Issey Miyake L’Eau d’Issey Pour Homme (1994)
- Issey Miyake L’Eau d’Issey Pour Homme Intense (2007)
- Issey Miyake L’Eau d’Issey Pour Homme Sport (2012)
- Issey Miyake L’Eau Bleue d’Issey Pour Homme (2004)
- Issey Miyake Le Feu d’Issey (1998)
- Jean Paul Gaultier Classique (1993)
- Jil Sander Sander for men (1999)
- Lancome Calypso (2004)
- Lancome Magnifique (2008, with Olivier Cresp)
- Lancome Poeme (1995)
- Louis Vuitton Afternoon Swim (2019)
- Louis Vuitton Apogée (2016)
- Louis Vuitton Attrape-Rêves (2018)
- Louis Vuitton Au Hasard (2018)
- Louis Vuitton Cactus Garden (2019)
- Louis Vuitton Cœur Battant (2019)
- Louis Vuitton Contre Moi (2016)
- Louis Vuitton Dans La Peau (2016)
- Louis Vuitton Le Jour Se Lève (2018)
- Louis Vuitton Les Sables Roses (2019)
- Louis Vuitton L’Immensité (2018)
- Louis Vuitton Matière Noire (2016)
- Louis Vuitton Mille Feux (2016)
- Louis Vuitton Nouveau Monde (2018)
- Louis Vuitton Ombre Nomade (2018)
- Louis Vuitton Orage (2018)
- Louis Vuitton Rose Des Vents (2016)
- Louis Vuitton Sun Song (2019)
- Louis Vuitton Sur la Route (2018)
- Louis Vuitton Turbulences (2016)
- Maison Martin Margiela Replica Beach Walk (2012)
- Maison Martin Margiela Replica Flower Market (2012)
- Maison Martin Margiela Replica Funfair Evening (2012)
- Nina Ricci Nina (2006)
- Oscar de la Renta Intrusion (2002)
- Paco Rabanne Pour Elle (2003)
- Paco Rabanne Ultraviolet (1999)
- Paco Rabanne Ultraviolet for men (2001)
- Paco Rabanne Ultraviolet Metal Beach for women (2001)
- Roberto Cavalli Serpentine (2005)
- Rochas Absolu (2002)
- Rochas Alchimie (1998)
- Rochas Aquaman (2001)
- Roger & Gallet Eau de Gingembre (2003)
- Rotary International Amiral de Grasse & Princesse Pauline (2005)
- Salvatore Ferragamo Parfum Subtil (2002)
- Salvatore Ferragamo Pour Femme (1998)
- Shiseido Vocalise (1998)
- Stella McCartney L.I.L.Y (2012)
- Stella McCartney Stella (2003)
- Stella McCartney Stella In Two Amber (2006)
- Stella McCartney Stella In Two Peony (2006)
- Tom Ford Private Blend Noir de Noir (2007)
- Tom Ford Private Blend Tuscan Leather (2007)
- Van Cleef & Arpels Murmure
- Van Cleef & Arpels Zanzibar men
- Yves Rocher So Elixir (2009)
- Yves Rocher Tendre Jasmin (2008)
- Yves Rocher Vanille Noire (2010)
- Yves Saint Laurent Cinema (2004)
- Yves Saint Laurent Elle Yves Saint Laurent (2007)
- Yves Saint Laurent M7 (2002)
- Yves Saint Laurent Nu (2001)
- Yves Saint Laurent Opium Pour Homme (1995)
- Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche Pour Homme (2003)