Olivier Polge

Olivier Polge

Olivier Polge: A Legacy of Scents

Olivier Polge is a French perfumer who is the current head of fragrance creation at Chanel, one of the most prestigious and iconic fashion houses in the world. He is the son of Jacques Polge, who was the previous perfumer of Chanel for 37 years, and the grandson of Joseph Polge, who was also a perfumer. Olivier Polge inherited his father's passion and talent for creating scents, but also developed his own style and vision.

Olivier Polge was born in Grasse, the capital of perfume, in 1974. He grew up surrounded by the aromas of flowers and essences, and learned the art of perfumery from his father. He studied art history at the Sorbonne University in Paris, and then joined the International Flavors and Fragrances (IFF) company as a trainee perfumer in 1998. He worked with some of the most renowned perfumers in the industry, such as Jean-Claude Ellena and Dominique Ropion, and created fragrances for various brands, such as Dior, Viktor and Rolf, Burberry, Balenciaga, and Giorgio Armani.

Some of his most famous creations include Dior Homme, a woody and powdery scent that redefined masculinity; Flowerbomb, a floral and explosive fragrance that became a bestseller; and Spicebomb, a spicy and oriental scent that was a hit among men. He also collaborated with his father on several Chanel fragrances, such as Chance Eau Fraîche, Allure Homme Sport, and Coco Noir.

In 2013, Olivier Polge was appointed as the fourth perfumer of Chanel, following the footsteps of Ernest Beaux, Henri Robert, and Jacques Polge. He took over the responsibility of creating new fragrances for the house, as well as maintaining and updating the existing ones. He also had access to the exclusive and rare ingredients that Chanel cultivates in its own fields, such as jasmine, rose, iris, and tuberose.

One of his first creations for Chanel was Misia, a tribute to the muse and friend of Coco Chanel, who was a patron of the arts and a symbol of the Parisian avant-garde. Misia is a powdery and floral scent that evokes the atmosphere of the Belle Époque, with notes of violet, rose, iris, and leather. It was part of the Les Exclusifs de Chanel collection, a line of niche and high-end fragrances that showcase the history and heritage of the house.

Another notable creation by Olivier Polge was Boy, a unisex fragrance that was inspired by the love affair between Coco Chanel and Arthur Capel, who was nicknamed Boy. Boy is a fresh and elegant scent that blends lavender, geranium, rose, sandalwood, and musk. It was also part of the Les Exclusifs de Chanel collection, and was launched in 2016.

Perhaps the most challenging and important task that Olivier Polge faced was to create a new version of Chanel No. 5, the legendary and timeless fragrance that was created by Ernest Beaux in 1921, and that was famously endorsed by Marilyn Monroe. Chanel No. 5 is considered to be the most iconic and influential fragrance in history, and has a loyal and devoted fan base. Olivier Polge had to respect the original formula, but also modernize it and make it more appealing to the younger generation.

He achieved this by creating Chanel No. 5 L'Eau, a lighter and fresher interpretation of the classic scent, that was launched in 2016. He reduced the amount of aldehydes, the synthetic molecules that give Chanel No. 5 its distinctive sparkle, and increased the amount of citrus, rose, jasmine, and ylang-ylang, the natural flowers that give Chanel No. 5 its feminine and sensual character. He also added a touch of cedar, musk, and vanilla, to give Chanel No. 5 L'Eau a soft and cozy base. The result was a luminous and delicate fragrance that retained the essence and elegance of Chanel No. 5, but also added a new and contemporary twist.

Olivier Polge is a perfumer who combines tradition and innovation, art and science, and emotion and logic. He is a worthy successor of his father and his predecessors, and a worthy creator for Chanel. He is a master of scents, who continues to surprise and delight the world with his olfactory creations.