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EX NIHILO - Revisit 'High Perfumery through a unique Parisian Avant-Garde Prism'

The questions were answered by SYLVIE LODAY, one of the founders of the perfume brand.

How would you like to describe your brand? 

EX NIHILO means 'created from scratch'; we love the idea to break the rules and reinvent the past to better create the future. Revisit 'High Perfumery through a unique Parisian Avant-Garde Prism'. It means focusing on the best of French craftsmanship as well as bringing the best of technology with a focus on personalization. 

If we were a car company, some of our competitors could easily be Bentley or Rolls-Royce, we would be Tesla!

We love Concorde or Citroen SM and the golden era in France in the 70s, we want to bring back some 'French Panache' today!

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Surprisingly, not being perfumers helped us think out of the box and bring fresh, disruptive ideas about the fragrance experience as a whole 360° journey. We draw inspiration from many fields in the artistic community such as fashion, architecture, design, photography, to propose a fresh version of what new French Avant-Garde could be. Today, we try not to be inspired too much by what we can find online or through social media because everybody goes to the same source like Pinterest or Instagram, I prefer to source from old magazines and obscures books and the most important idea comes from our conversations with the perfumers we work with.

What kind of raw materials do you use in your perfumery?

We only use the best ingredients in the market without any limits on cost. Proposing the most exclusive quality is our ethos. Our Rose Of May from Grasse costs about USD50,000/kg, for example.

In Europe, people are quite scared by the synthetic materials and crave for natural ingredients, but we try to associate the best of both worlds!

Do you create special fragrances for the Middle East market?

We regularly collaborate with designers and artist besides our perfumers to propose unique and very exclusive products. We started with a super-exclusive fragrance by French perfumer Yan Vasnier, called NIGHT CALL, when we entered the region a few years ago. We often propose exclusive products in London, but to celebrate our arrival at GL Doha, we partnered with Sheika Noor Al Thani to create a special mix around our beloved VENENUM KISS by French perfumer Quentin Bisch, the author of our bestseller, FLEUR NARCOTIQUE. It is only available here and we are already almost sold out.

How do you personalize your perfumes for your customers? 

To us, personalization is now a Must-Have in the luxury field.

At our main destinations around the world, including our Paris flagship, we use a technology we call the Osmologue. If you can’t travel to one of our Top-Tier stores we propose also a DIY experience around our SUBLIMES ESSENCES (scented oils), a range of five perfumed oils you can combine with your favorite fragrance to make your own mix. Then you will be able to complete it soon with our Hair Mists - the SUBLIME MIST, a range of three products to be used as perfect matches with your favorite EX NIHILO product.

To be more precise about the Osmologue in our flagships: our ritual is really an immersive experience into the core of fragrance creation.

Through our exclusive technology, we mix a futuristic ritual with the best of French craftsmanship for a unique result, I would say it’s a Techno Craft approach.

You can walk in or do it on private appointment (what I would recommend). Then, around a cup of coffee, we will deeply understand what the customer is looking for, through a little oral questionnaire.

It will be the occasion to smell the absolute of fragrances like the Rose of May, Iris Pallida and Orange Blossom in their purest form, and also to experience all our combinations according to your mood.

All these combinations have been validated by our team of master perfumers here in Paris.

Once your choice is done, we will proceed to the making of your juice with the Osmologue, the High Tech robot we have specifically developed.

It will weigh, blend and create your own composition only in a few minutes in front of you. So, you will be able to leave with your own scent without waiting weeks to get the result. We will also give you a nominative certificate of authenticity and keep all your preferences in our database so that we can provide the very best level of custom service.

Tell us about your unique collaboration with Sheika Noor Al Thani?

It was a great project and a great honor for us to work with her, she is such a fragrance connoisseur.

She was one of our first customers, and her favorite creation is VENENUM KISS. It made sense to ask her to collaborate for an exclusive fragrance, adding her personal touch as soon as we were launching the brand at Galleries Lafayette Doha!

Tell us about the VENENUM KISS Musk, what makes it exclusive?

VENENUM KISS is a creation by Quentin Bisch (he is also the creator of our most iconic creation, FLEUR NARCOTIQUE), it is a sophisticated elixir with hints of candied Apricot and Vanilla.

She asked us to subtly add some hints of white Musk to sublimate the obsessive caress of Amber and Suede, the Velvet breath of Rose and Saffron. We only made 100 pieces! And it comes with a special design she has created over our iconic black box. A precious red Mother of Pearl cap, with her blazon engraved, adorns the bottle.

Tell us about your latest exclusive creations for Galleries Lafayette Doha?

This fragrance is our main focus for the moment but we will be working on a lot of surprises for the upcoming year, you can expect beautiful scented creations - so be ready!

What value does your presence in Galleries Lafayette Doha add to the brand?

We are a Parisian brand, born and raised, we are exclusive to the GL Haussmann and now also available at GL Champs Elysées. So, for us it makes sense to continue our partnership. Besides, we have strong links with and a heavy following among Qatari customers since the inception of the brand.

How do you think a person’s choice of perfume reflects his/her personality?

For me, perfumery is a field of experimentation as well as free expression, it is the ultimate signature of your true personality. You can’t lie with a fragrance.

Uniqueness is for me to stand out from the crowd, to assume who you are and how you express it to the world. Wearing a confidential fragrance with a strong personality is a way to tell everybody who you are, especially because it has been customized.

Special quote from Sheikha Noor Al Thani

“I discovered EX NIHILO at the Salon De Parfums in Harrods about four years ago and loved the idea of the Osmologue and personalizing fragrances. So that made me keep exploring the brand. One thing that sets it apart is the fragrance personalization. Not many brands offer the ability to add your own touch to a fragrance”.

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