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Fragrance expert Ghassan Hajjaj on his top scents

Words by Rob Chilton

L'Oreal's regional fragrance maestro reveals why he can’t bring himself to throw away a fragrance

EDGAR caught up with Hajjaj at the inaugural Abu Dhabi Beauty Week.

What was the first fragrance you fell in love with as a young man?

Giorgio Armani’s Eau Pour Homme. It’s a classic men’s fragrance that oozes Italian refinement, elegance and style. It makes you feel like the perfect gentleman.

What’s your day-to-day scent?

Working in the industry, wearing and testing new fragrances, has made it difficult for me to choose a day-to-day scent. Fragrances are really important as the sense of smell brings out memories, which means that every moment in life is impacted by the scents that surround us. I love to travel and experience the world and I have the same curiosity when it comes to discovering fragrances.

Hajjaj's first fragrance love

What are you wearing now?

Right now I’m wearing a new fragrance from Valentino that is about to be launched. It’s called Born in Roma Yellow Dream. It has some fun ingredients like pineapple and gingerbread, the kind that make you feel happy.

What’s the one ingredient you always love in a men’s eau de toilette?

It’s impossible to mention only one – I’d have to say bergamot, cedarwood and vetiver.

Where do you apply fragrance?

Mainly on my torso, arms, neck and shoulders. If I’m going out, my shirt or the inside of my blazer may get a few sprays as well.

Do you change your scent for day and night?

I change fragrances a lot, which varies depending on my mood. However, I don’t categorise by time of day or even season – it’s all about how I feel in that moment.

Bergamot is a beloved ingredient for Hajjaj

Do you own a lot of fragrances?

I have always been a huge perfume lover and have the tendency to own way too many.

How many?

We’re talking over 150 different perfumes currently sitting in my cupboard – they are best stored in dry and dark places with a stable temperature.

Do you get bored of them or do you keep them until they run out?

I do end up using most of them – some I might not wear for more than a year or two, but I keep it around for variety and use it when I feel like it depending on my mood. For me, fragrances are a love story. I would never throw one out. And if ever I felt like I could not use a certain fragrance, then I would rather gift it to someone who I know would appreciate that scent.

Ghassan Hajjaj owns more than 100 fragrances

Do you have a fragrance you like to take on holiday?

I take a few with me. And sometimes I buy a new fragrance for a specific destination. That way when I smell it in the future, I remember that trip.

Have you ever tried to make a fragrance in the lab?

I have indeed. I loved the experience, but it’s a lot harder than one expects. Just one drop too many can alter the whole scent.

Did it give you a new respect for perfumers?

I believe that perfumers are true artists – there are some real masterpieces out there in the world of fragrances that could be compared to an opera by Mozart or a painting by da Vinci. It’s so much fun to try and express moods and feelings by mixing all these heavenly scents and ingredients.

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