Valentine Pozzo di Borgo, creator of Quintessence

The shimmering world of perfumed candles

I was living in Paris and I didn’ like candles at all. For French, that is an insult. Therefore, I changed my mind, but it was by accident. I was hoping-off and on to Sens Unique, to hang out with my friends, but once, on the table were Quintessence candles. I said, ok, let’s try them and I was mind-blown. I instantly felt something, an x-factor, something intriguing. These are the candles because of which I felt in love with candles. But I stay loyal to Quintessence most of the time.

Quintessence is wonderful, Parisian-based candle brand that produces high-quality wax that has at least 10% of essential oils. The mix of the wax keeps a secret of good projection and also, each candle is done by some famous perfumer. I think you will not find a better quality of candles because when you smell those waxes, it is simply magnificent. I though Cire Trvdon is the temple of good candles, but no, I was wrong. Quintessence offers unique experience of home scenting with their beautiful creations. Therefore, I did an interview with Valentine, the creator of Quintessence. Please enjoy the read!

1. To begin with, can you explain, who or what is Quintessence? What it represents? 
Quintessence Paris is a company I created 8 years ago. It represents a project I had in mind with my mother since a long time. We have two different job in Quintessence:
1° creating some made to measure scented products for companies
2° the luxury interior fragrance line that you know
2. Were you inspired by Latin when you conceived the name of the brand? Does it have a meaning?
No. I got my inspiration from the book Le Parfum of Patrick Sudskin. I noted all words that I liked in that book and Quintessence stand up.
I discovered later one that my great grandfather wrote a book for the 50th birthday of Givaudan called Quintessences. Funny no?
3. How you connected the scent and the interior? Was it a personal memory? 
I would say that I connect them with my “feelings”. I try to put different energy in it. It is true that the smells of Quintessence are connected to the memories I had in the house I lived in during my childhood.
 4. Is the candle market different than the niche perfume market? Does it have different “rules”? 
Yes it is. It is mainly because people cannot imagine that you can put as good perfume in a candle as in a niche perfume. But we are the proof that we can 😉
5. How hard it was to start-up the luxurious candle brand? What are the obstacles? 
It is a very competitive industry. The idea is to stick with your believes to create a brand that corresponds you. If you don’t lie to customers in what you like, they will like what you do. We have decided to create a high luxury brand with values, quality and high requirements. It is not always easy to make people understand the quality of our candles if they are not perfume lovers.
6. How do you create candles of such good quality – the wax and the oils inside? 
You have to thank the perfumers first. They use the best raw materials possible to find the perfect scent. Then we have tested it with different wax to test the burning and we choose the best result. It’s a mineral wax that diffused better the scent and that burnt without doing a “cratère”.
7. Where do you make your candles? 
In France. It is important to keep this tradition.
8. How do you choose perfumers to work with? 
Quintessence is a family so I choose perfumers depending on the relationship we have with them. I love for example working with Domitille Bertier, Philippe Bousseton and recently Nicolas Bonneville.
9. What perfumer you admire the most? 
Definitively, Pierre Bourdon.
10. You are known for your collaboration with various artists. Whose idea was that and how it happened? Do you have your favorite artist candle?
I always like creating new products and to ad the vision of other artist on our candles is for me very important. Our first collaborations were with an artist called Anne Rosat famous in Switzerland for her paper work (Link to Paper Work). Now I try to work with artists that fit in the world of Quintessence. My favorite artist candle is the candle we created with Claude Lalanne. It is very poetic 😉
11. Do Parisians, or French people, have perfume candle awareness? Is it a product that is wanted? Can you name any other nation or city that is crazy about candles? 
Yes, French people are very sensitive to smells and they take good care of their home. It is the perfect combination to be a candle lover. I would say that Londoners are also crazy about candles.
12. Each year, you make a Christmas candle. What’s like this year’s candle? 
The candle is called Angélys. I wanted a smell remembering Christmas but not too sweet. Nicolas Bonneville came with the idea of a caramelized pear with spices and we just all fell in love with it! Angélys is in fact the name of a pear. Just sounded like a Christmas name no?
13. For the end, can you please make a preview and share with a public some of your future plans? 
We are launching before the end of the year our scented calendar. This year, we are working with a French singer called Julien Doré. 12 candles representing a Journey from the sea to the mountain. And inside the coffret, you have an exclusive CD to have the full sensorial experience. I love crossing the line like this.
Dear Valentine, it was a pleasure to read you and thank you very much for this interview!
Juraj, BL’eauOG