CNA LUXURY: This French perfumer uses some of the world’s rarest and most expensive ingredients to create Amaffi perfumes

by Grace Ma on CNA Luxury, December 22nd 2023


Feisthauer is one of only two perfume makers who works directly with Amaffi’s founder, a lady mysteriously known only as Madame Amaffi, to create scents for the international brand headquartered in Geneva. […]

Currently based in Paris, Feisthauer welcomed CNA Luxury into her artistic Montmartre home, located along the same row as Spanish artist Pablo Picasso’s first studio in the city. Her three-storey apartment is a cosy trove of paintings and books. There is a gorgeous roof-top terrace filled with pots of herbs and vegetables that Feisthauer uses in her cooking. On a clear spring day the terrace offers splendid views over the neighbourhood with the cupolas of the magnificent Sacre-Coeur Basilica peeking in between buildings.

As we settled down to tea and cookies, Feisthauer shared how she came to work for Amaffi, a project that has given her access to the who’s who of ingredients in perfume-making.

“It is a project like nothing in the world,” declared Feisthauer, who was creating scents for luxury brands like Cartier, Versace and Azzaro as well as multinational FMCG companies Givaudan and Symrise for over 35 years before starting her own company Lab Scent in 2014.  “Many clients say there’s no limit in price but there always is. Only Amaffi has no limit, it uses the absolute best.”

To date, Feisthauer has created more than 20 fragrances for Amaffi, using natural ingredients such as agarwood oil, absolutes of champaca, iris, narcissus as well as hard-to-obtain rose centifolia from Grasse. Absolutes are the most concentrated form of fragrances in the form of highly aromatic, oily mixtures. These are typically extracted using a solvent such as hexane or ethanol compared to the steam distillation method used in most perfumes. […]

Richness For Women contains ingredients such as rare Styrax resin and labdanum from Indonesia and India. (Photo: Amaffi)

When Madame Amaffi and Feisthauer hit on an inspiration for a scent, the chosen essential oils are then sent to Feisthauer’s laboratory, a unit etched out of a former ancient art gallery located mere steps from her home. There she would tweak the formulae with the help of several assistants and work out a few options to be sent to Madame Amaffi for her opinion.

Feisthauer shared: “It is a dialogue. Madame Amaffi has many ideas and suggestions. She has a lot of things that she loves, and things that she doesn’t like at all. I try to tell her story most of the time and our creations are the results. Sometimes I propose an idea, sometimes she likes it, we have no limit in our inspirations — it could be a holiday place or an idea of forgotten beauty. We aim for something exclusive, and we do not try to be fashionable and trendy.”

Like a parent who finds it hard to pick a favourite child among many, given the uniqueness of each one, Feisthauer describes the Amaffi scents that she has created with equal dreaminess and fascination. […]

For Feisthauer the beauty of a perfume lies in its evocative power. She shared: “With perfumes, the most important thing is the emotions you feel when you wear it. At Amaffi, we don’t polish, we don’t reduce the personality — it is about power and self-confidence. We aim to create a masterpiece; you have to assume that you are the beautiful one worthy to use it.”


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