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Bottled Untold Stories: Parfum d'Empire by Marc-Antoine Corticchiato

Parfum d'Empire
P erfume has always been an integral part of Middle Eastern culture with scents and fragrances playing a significant role in daily life. It is no wonder that many perfume brands have emerged to cater to the Middle Eastern market. One such brand is Parfum d'Empire, a French Maison that has gained a reputation for its innovative and exquisite fragrances that transport you on a sensory journey. Each scent is meticulously crafted, with a unique blend of ingredients that creates a sensory experience like no other.

We spoke with its founder Marc-Antoine Corticchiato about the history, philosophy, and what sets it apart from other perfume houses.

AM: Marc-Antoine, can you give us a little summary about your background?

I was always fascinated by the scents that came out of flowers and plants. I was lucky to be born and raised in an environment that was very olfactory-rich. I grew up amongst my parent’s orange blossoms in Morocco and the Maquis in Corsica. A universe that also influenced me was that of horse stables. I’ve been horseback riding for a very long time, I even hesitated to make a career out of it. I ended up choosing flower perfumes because it was my passion and I worked on a doctorate degree in the analysis of the chemical perfumes of plants. I wanted to understand the composition of a raw plant that has hundreds of molecules and diverse scents and to study the evolution of the scents from night to day. I then opened a lab to create perfumes in the Paris area and that’s how I created Parfum d’Empire which has been standing strong for 20 years. We’re a very small company, we are niche-oriented and artistic. We are bringing back natural scents that tend to disappear in most perfumes generally. We’ve been working very well in France and increasing our presence in the Middle East. This is due to the fact that Middle Easterners use perfumes in different occasions, whether culinary speaking or as a product. They have a developed sensitivity to scents that is ingrained in their culture.

AM: How do you imagine your fragrances?
The first thing a perfumer usually receives when creating a perfume is a brief that basically describes the ideal target the perfume is for. I really dislike that word “target”, it feels like we’re out hunting. In my personal process I don’t have a target, whether it being a man, a woman, an age or so on. I like telling stories and I just hope people like my stories. 

Marc-Antoine Corticchiato
AM: What are some of your star fragrances?
One of my latest perfumes is called Mal-Aimé, it’s not a very commercial name. Through this fragrance I wanted to honor what we call crazy herbs, the bad herbs, unlike the noble resources people tend to speak of. Though these bad herbs are simply marvelous and can grow on their own and develop incredible scents, they tend to be pushed aside and not used in the bottles. So, I decided to create something out of it by assembling them all together. I have another perfume called Le Cri. People tend to associate it as a horrendous sound related to horror, I imagine it differently. To give you an example, babies also scream and it’s not necessarily bad. I personally wanted to express the screaming of the light of the new day during which we decide to get rid of certain things, people or bad energies. I get inspired by absolutely any situation and will transform it into a scented story.

AM: How are the price ranges like?
Unlike most brands our prices vary depending on the perfume and the materials being used to create the product. For me it’s about coherence. Most of our perfumes that are 50 ml cost between 100 and 125 euros, the 100 ml is between 160 to 190 euros, and the perfume extract of 50 ml is about 175 euros. We’re not pricing them too high nor too low, we want to have something that is quite accessible. The humanization of luxury is important.

AM: And what kind of clientele buys your products?
We don’t have a specific type of person; the age range is from 25 to 80 and we have just as many men as we have women. It’s also due to the fact that we don’t have a specific target audience which is quite interesting. We also noticed a very high loyalty rate, once the client knows us, they stay with us. The Middle East and our export processes have really been contributing to this customer loyalty. Our clients know that wearing perfume is about freedom, it’s a party and it’s a pleasure.