In Conversation With: Luca Calvani


We sit down with the perfumer behind the new Reiss women's fragrance, White Orchid to find out a little more about the scent

1. Tell us a little bit about your background: How did you first get into the art of perfumery? 

Fragrance has always been a passion of mine and from a very young age I was intrigued by the power of aroma. No matter how subtle, a scent can evoke strong feelings and memories. I worked as an actor for a long time and one memory that really resonates with me is when a teacher asked one of my colleagues to get into character by saying; ‘how do you feel? Why are you wearing that dress? Be specific. What perfume are you going to wear?’ Perfume can make us feel a sense of power that we don’t necessarily get elsewhere. It can be the ultimate armour or a blanket of comfort. When my business, INSPIRITU was born, it was in response to my curiosity for this world. I wanted to make a line of scents that reflected that innate relationship between scent and self.

2. How does the process work? 

The approach that I take to perfumery changes with every project that I’m working on. Reiss was an exciting collaboration for me as I already had a consumer’s understanding of the brand. The team had quite a specific idea of what they liked about their current fragrance and also how they saw it changing. We started by picking the singular notes; Neroli, plus something light to take the fragrance south. We married these two scents with Bergamot. In total, we made approximately three rounds of test fragrances which meant that we could explore a variety of options and eventually settle on something that we thought would appeal to the unique taste of the Reiss customer.

3. What inspires you?

This changes a lot as well. I’m very inspired by music and the sensations that it generates. In the same way as fragrance, it can evoke a certain memory if we recognise it in some way. Nature has always been a great catalyst for me as well – nothing beats a walk in the woods or by a lake to answer any questions, be it about a fragrance or life in general.

4. What were your main aims and focuses when taking on the Reiss White Orchid project?

I wanted to recreate a women’s fragrance that was less masculine than its predecessor but that still complimented the ever-popular men’s Black Oudh. When you’re working to achieve something like this, the starting point can be the same for both fragrances but the way in which it develops must take a very different direction. White Orchid is a pure floral fragrance that has an intoxicating quality to it. It opens with violet and bergamot, then lingers in Jasmine and Peony and its base notes of Rose give it the full round bouquet that makes it so feminine and immersive.