“I got into the business completely by accident”, David Apel recalls. “For an American kid growing up in New Jersey not knowing much about the perfume world, or anything actually, I clearly stumbled into it. I was taking night class, studying environmental Chemistry, and took an entry level job at a fragrance company to pay my way through.”
“I had no idea about the world of perfumery, and I fell in love with the raw materials – they were exotic. They were crazy gums and resins with these amazing, mystical names. I was hooked, and it just drew me in. Somehow, they were familiar to me, I could relate to them and connect them to the senses.”
For me personally, perfumery is about self-expression. This particular fragrance ties to my childhood. I call the fragrance ‘Cannabis Cupcake’ and it really reflects me and my experience. I grew up on the rugged New England coast. It contains rich woods and earthy mosses, with little tones of sweetness – a bit of vanilla, whisky for warmth, and a cannabis accord which is like an intense rhubarb, a herbal, fresh green and subtle note with some spices”.
As someone who confesses to not following rules very well, David was a natural choice to create a fragrance for A. N. Other. But even David, who pushed the envelope and broke away from traditional French perfumery, admits he was taken aback by the degree of creative freedom he had.
“This project felt like an opportunity for self-expression because there was no brief. There were no parameters whatsoever, and those are always the most thrilling, liberating things for a perfumer to be involved with” he notes. “This was a really good chance for me to just have fun with it and use the most qualitative ingredients. Not have to think twice because I can’t put that money in the bottle you know... but now there is no constraint on that, so you are free to use the thing you dream of using.” After reflecting for a second, David laughs whole heartedly and admits “There are constraints, and the real constraint in having no brief is to be spectacular.”
Photography by Brooke Holm
Words by Henry Roberts
“This was a really good chance for me to just have fun with it and use the most qualitative ingredients. Not have to think twice about something a little less. Maybe I have to shave back just on this part, because, well, I can’t put that money in the bottle you know… but now there is no constraint on that, so you are free to use the thing you dream of using.”