Q & A with Fabrice Penot of Le Labo: The Lowdown on Tubéreuse 40 & Kirsten Dunst {Passion for Perfume - Portrait}

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Each perfume has a history and a story to tell, some more than others it seems. When we learned that Le Labo Tubéreuse 40 had been worn by Kirsten Dunst to better enter the role of Marie-Antoinette in Sofia Coppola's biopic Marie-Antoinette about the former French queen, we wanted to ask a few questions to the founders of perfume house Le Labo who created the perfume for her. Fabrice Penot (on the left on the picture), one of the two co-founders with Edouard Roschi, answers our questions.

TSS: How did it come about that Kirsten Dunst wore this perfume for her role as Marie-Antoinette in the Sofia Coppola's movie?......

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Fabrice Penot:

Long story short... we actually met Kirsten by chance in a night club in Paris 2 years ago, way before Le Labo was even launched.

As we were speaking, she said she was in Paris for a movie "Marie Antoinette"... This is when we thought " Marie Antoinette was the first queen to have a personal perfumer: you have to have your own perfume! We'll take care of it!" This is how we created a perfume for Kirsten... 2 years later, we launched this scent as our NY exclusive.

TSS: Did you create the perfume with some historical specifications in mind? (I am thinking of the presence of the cologne accord and perhaps the tuberose note that Marie-Antoinette is said to have loved.)

Fabrice Penot:

Nope! The Tuberose coincidence is by chance... no historical reference here... nothing to do with M.A.[M.A. Sillage de la Reine/ed.]... She just told us she loved musky florals... we decided to create the most expensive of them !

TSS: One can find the tuberose to be quite present in the fragrance in the end; why however this preference for a "hidden" tuberose that makes a noted delayed entrance?

Fabrice Penot:

Yes. As with many of our perfumes, the main ingredient is not what you necessary can identify right away....

Tubéreuse 40 means the PRINCIPAL INGREDIENT is the Tubéreuse and there are 40 ingredients in the formula. Among these 40, there are a lot of citruses that create the "eau de cologne" effect in the top note. Then comes the Tubéreuse note, with woody accents.

Around all this the musks are always present.

Finally, we describe this note as an Eau de cologne type, very floral and musky WITH 30% oil concentration...

It is the most expensive perfume in terms of composition that we have ever experienced in 10 years in the industry.

TSS: Who is the perfumer that created Tubéreuse 40 and how did the perfume project and the perfumer meet or establish connection (do you work with briefs)?

Fabrice Penot:

ALBERTO MORILLAS, the J.S Bach of perfumery!

Alberto had already worked on a very natural formula, very expensive and told us it is amazing but that he'll never be able to sell it because nobody can afford such a formula.

That was enough to intrigue us. We asked him for a sniff and loved it.

We had some modifications with Kirsten in mind... especially increasing the rich floral side. And also increasing and increasing the concentration starting from 10 to 30% !!! Then it became even 3 times more expensive... and ready!

Stay tuned for our perfume short (review) of Tubéreuse 40 tomorrow. 

Meanwhile you can visit the very cool website of Le Labo fragrances. 

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