Clara Camalleri, perfumes for every taste
By Mercy Ramos / Photos: José Meriño
Perfume carries an element that ultimately completes and gives women’s and men’s wardrobes distinction. For most people a good fragrance is a symbol of elegance.
This is of no exception in Cuba. The country’s perfume industry has developed to such a level that perfumes such as the well-known Alice, the more recent Camerata, as well as others are exported to various countries where they are well-liked and in demand, including North America.
In fact, Camerata was designed in 2004 by renowned perfumer Clara Iglesias Camalleri, who has been working in this industry for 23 years.
In an exclusive interview with CubaPlus, this experienced perfumer talked about the work she has put into creating new fragrances, which is what her new company Perfumes artesanales ‘Clara Camalleri’ is about and which will celebrate its first anniversary on October 31st. “Before 1959 there were no perfumers in Cuba, as products were imported primarily from France and the United States. After that year, they began to emerge in the country with the help of French specialists,” explained Camalleri.
This work is a great passion for Camalleri, one of the country’s four perfumers, putting great effort into every fragrance that she designs so that it be very well received, even by the most demanding of tastes.
From a young age, even while studying Chemical Engineering in University, she became involved with the world of perfumery. She applied at a perfumer selection try-out where tests were very difficult. One needed to know how to differentiate among strong smells and, above all, have a good olfactory memory – in essence, have a privileged sense of smell.
Camalleri was selected for her qualities in addition to her knowledge of chemistry, both essential when designing a fragrance, and even spent time training in Gras, France, the birthplace of world perfumery.
She worked at Suchel, the Cuban perfume company, for over 20 years. She is currently dedicated to designing fragrances for her own company that bears her name, whose main purpose is to create custom-made perfumes for companies and individual clients, and has also established a line to sell in stores. “We aim to create a fragrance to the customer’s taste. First we speak with the customer, who tells us what he or she wants and we come up with several samples. The formula that ends up being to his or her liking will be exclusive to that person. Perfume is like music - you can create an infinite number of fragrances, just like melodies”, Camalleri pointed out..
“In addition to designing custom fragrances, our small company, made up of only three people, also fills and packs the bottles, designs the boxes, in short, we do everything. All is handmade”, she said.
“We have already created fragrances for various entities and numerous individual clients and, in addition, we have launched a line based on aromatherapy that has had great acceptance,” she added. “That line includes five types of fragrances”, she continued,” the relaxant (to relax your body and mind), the stimulant (for added action and dynamism in your activities), the aphrodisiac (to seduce and captivate the person of your dreams), the so-called winner (to fill you with energy so you can take on and carry out your plans and projects), and the spiritual (to clean and clear your thoughts and ideas)”.
At the last Habanos Festival we presented La Patrona, an exclusive fragrance, inspired by the Tobacco Virgin located in Mantua, Pinar del Río, whose design is based on tobacco leaves.
Clara told CubaPlus that she sees a very promising future for her company as she is already considering expanding due to the great acceptance and demand she sees every day.