Fall Fragrance Tips With Eric Buterbaugh
The floral and fragrance designer talks seasonal notes, layering, and the $3,500 item that will fill your home with an intoxicating scent
Last week, President and Creative Director of EB Florals Eric Buterbaugh, stopped by the Saks Fifth Avenue Fragrance Library at Somerset Collection for a celebration of the launch of the brand’s latest collection: the EB Florals Edition line. As a renowned floral designer sought after by celebrities, fashion houses, and movie studios alike, Buterbaugh’s progression into the world of floral fragrance makes perfect sense. “It was logical,” he says at the EB Florals counter among tiers of crystal perfume bottles and bouquets of fresh hydrangeas and white roses. “When I decided to pursue a career in floral [design] 23 years ago, I was determined to be the best. I didn’t care if I made money, I just wanted to be the best. So, when I started [creating fragrances], I had the same mindset.” In his pursuit of greatness, Buterbaugh partnered with Swiss fragrance and flavor powerhouse Fermenich along with master perfumers from across the globe to create a collection of seven unisex fragrances and six candles. The line recently debuted three ouds, and the Floral Edition line, an assortment of six new floral blends. Read on for more from our tête-à- tête with the opulent floral virtuoso.
How do summer and fall floral fragrances differ?
When the weather is cooler, scents tend to go a little woodsier. We have six new fragrances that have gone in that direction. Some of these feel a bit sexier than our first collection, which was quite light. Those are beautiful blends but these are a bit richer. I really don’t feel like [florals are seasonal]. There are some scents that smell crisp and clean, which is nice for day and for work, but if you’re out at night on a date, you might want something warmer. I’m getting into the 1947 Dahlia [$175. at Saks Fifth Avenue, Somerset Collection, Troy; 248-643-9000, saksfifthavenue.com], which is also a little deeper. It’s got amber in it. Of the ouds, the one I like is the Lily of the Valley [$395]. It’s the lightest one. Oud is the strongest [scent] there is and Lily of the Valley is the softest there is, so to get it right with those two was a real [challenge].
In the Midwest, weather is temperamental. It can be frigid one moment and warm the next. Would you recommend a certain type of scent for someone based in Detroit versus someone, say, in L.A.?
I actually think that when you smell something that smells like springtime or better-weather time, it’s nice. Plus, fragrance is so olfactory. You can just watch someone smell something and it hits them — ‘Oh, my grandma!’ You just see it come over their face.
Layering. Do you have any tips for layering scents?
I was never into layering and all my noses were certainly not into layering — you know, it’s their creation — so I sort of took that on. And then, there was someone I was with and she put one fragrance on one arm and another fragrance on another arm. Whenever someone walked by, they’d get a whiff of one and then a whiff of the other. And I’m into that! A guy that I worked with last night wore Fragile Violet [$295] on one arm, with Melrose Freesia [$175] and somehow, the combination of those two was really nice.
Do you have any tips for creating an aromatic environment at home?
This is so funny. I hate those [reed diffusers]. The sticks always seem to collect dust and it grosses me out for some reason. So, I created taxidermy roosters with Honorine Blanc, an amazing French nose. Two bottles [of fragrance] go on the feathers without damaging them. I have a naughty sense of humor so I call them the “Flock of Coqs” [$3500, call for information], but there are the most beautiful roosters out there. There are some that are bright blue and other colors. They’re just so exotic. We placed them on marble podiums and they make your home smell amazing.