Alexandra Balahoutis, the botanical perfumer who founded Strange Invisible Perfumes shares her story, inspirations, and insights in an exclusive interview with Alyaka.
With a 4 year background on the study of the art of botanical perfumery, Strange Invisible Perfumes was founded in the year 2000 with a firm belief that high-end perfumes be made of authentic botanical essences. Dedicated to the art of botanical perfumery, Alexandra makes use of a blend of certified organic, biodynamic, wildcrafted, and hydroinstilled essences.
She has come up with a perfume line that is made without using synthetic notes and even distills many of her own fragrances, using organic materials, without relying on steam distillation or chemical extraction methods.
Motivated by perfectionism and dedication on the art of botanical perfumery, Alexandra Balahoutis shares some interesting insights on how she started, as well as her inspirations in building her brand.
Get to know more about the woman behind the brand, her passion and contributions in the industry by learning more about the botanical perfumer through this exclusive interview.
How and when did your passion for botanical perfumes started?
I fell madly in love with the idea at the young age of twenty-two.
What convinced you to enter the world of botanical / natural perfumery?
My curiosity was just so ferocious and I felt so compelled to crack the code; to realize the fragrances I wanted to wear.
Were there particular scents that inspired you to go further as a perfumer?
I used to love Cuir de Russie by Chanel and Folavril by Annick Goutal. There were others, but as I began to hit the mark formulating, I could only wear my own perfumes.
For you, what makes natural and niche perfume a cut above the rest?
Well, natural alone isn’t enough. Niche is just a marketing category. I would say truly excellent ingredients, relevant formulations, intriguing concepts that feel very tied to the scents themselves.
Are there certain fragrance notes or ingredients that you haven’t explored yet but wants to work with?
No, but I should change that. Time to go another quest. ; )
Is there a certain ingredient / note / fragrance that you will never use in any of your scents?
Why? I only work with botanical essences and they have to be of a certain quality. They are what one might call artistically, not commercially, distilled. Within that world, I would work with anything or at least try.
What are your inspirations in creating niche perfumes?
Sometimes a person, a place, or a phrase. Lyrics and literature inspire me a lot. So do light exhibitions.
Can you share with us some of the most notable things that make the process of botanical perfume creation unique from others?
Beautifully distilled botanical essences have a palatability and sophistication. They whisper and woo, but they never shriek. It is the same for chefs, the more special the ingredients, the more bigger the advantage when creating.
In your opinion, what is the unique characteristic of your scents that would convince fragrance aficionados to buy them?
They are truly unlike any others. The alcohol we have custom distilled in Napa, the essences we use, our point of view in designing them. Talk doesn’t quite do it. The difference has to be experienced by the nose.
What can you say about the future of niche perfume industry?
Not much, other than I would think as people become more interested in and educated about the processes, which lead to luxury products, they will be more and more interested in fragrances made with these premium botanical essences. To put it simply, they are the real thing.
Many perfume enthusiasts would surely love to know your latest creations. Do you have new scents to offer this 2016?
A few, but too soon to talk about them.
What was the greatest challenge that you encountered as a perfumer?
Patience in teaching myself!
As a perfume expert, what do you think is your most important contribution in the perfume industry?
I think that we have sort of revived an older art form, but brought it into the present from an olfactory and aesthetic point of view.
Finally, do you have any words of inspiration to share for those who also want to develop their own line of perfume?
Never be too easily satisfied with your work, but try to enjoy it nonetheless.
In the beauty and perfume industry, there are relevant people who make a difference in their own ways. If you know an individual who is an expert and influential in the field of beauty and perfume, let us know. You can also share your insights about this influencer interview by leaving a comment below.