Anselm Skogstad is a visual artist and documentary photographer from Munich, Germany. He’s also a Grasse Institute-trained perfumer who forged ahead to launch the house DER DUFT (The Scent) during the complicated year of 2020. We checked in with Anselm to learn more about his collection, the other perfumers he collaborates with, and how the brand came about. Read on...
Q. Does DER DUFT have an overarching olfactory aesthetic and, if so, how would you describe it?
A. No, there is no overarching olfactory aesthetic throughout the perfumes launched by DER DUFT. Our goal is create perfumes that speak for themselves and inspire those who smell and those who wear our fragrances.
Q. What first inspired you to study perfumery and make perfume?
A. I was always fascinated by the power of scent in general. The smell of perfume, people and environments in which I found myself. Learning the craft of how to create a perfume from scratch seemed like a natural step to take.
Q. What sets DER DUFT apart as a brand?
A. Once I knew I wanted to start my own perfume house, I knew I wanted it to focus on the quality of each perfume only. No complex story... The title of each perfume may inspire a direction of where each of our perfumes could take you. But in the end, either the scent takes you places you want to be taken to, or it does not.
Q. What challenges did you encounter in launching a fragrance brand during a global pandemic and how did you reach your initial audience?
A. I was able to reach a small audience through my own personal network and through social media. However, I assure you, starting a perfume brand in 2020 in the midst of a pandemic while society was facing several lockdowns has been interesting to say the least.
Q. Do you find connections between your creative work as a perfumer and your visual art and photography?
A. I envy people who see clear images while smelling a certain scent, a talent I do not possess. Bearing this in mind, I must say that creating visual art and perfumes are two separate talents with little overlap. However, as an artist I can not deny that the idea of combining the sense of smell with visual art does intrigue and fascinate me greatly.
Q. You’re the perfumer behind two of the DER DUFT scents, Grasse and Monopteros. Why did you choose to work with other perfumers to create additional fragrances for the collection?
A. From the start, I wanted DER DUFT to become a brand that brings people together through perfumes and the sense of smell. The name DER DUFT, translated in “The Scent”, was my choice and opportunity bringing together perfumer and perfume lovers. It was never meant to be an egocentric story about myself. If I didn't enjoy the idea of collaborating and learning from others, I would have chosen a different name and branding approach all together.
Q. How do you choose the perfumers you work with and what do the collaborations entail?
A. There is no set rule or qualification necessary to become a perfumer, a creator of a DER DUFT perfume. I like to say that I am looking for perfumers whose work I admire as well as perfumers whom I admire personally. Of course, I want the perfumer to be motivated in working with me as well and, of course, I want the perfumer to appreciate the simplistic approach of DER DUFT as a brand.
Q. What is the most satisfying (or fun!) experience you’ve had during a collaboration?
A. When the proposed perfume surprises me and actually makes me smile physically.
Q. DER DUFT scents don’t have descriptive stories associated with them. We’re sure this was deliberate; can you tell us why you chose this approach?
A. DER DUFT is all about “The Scent” and whether you enjoy all of our perfumes, one of them — or none of them, is something we would manipulate by adding additional stories. DER DUFT chooses to avoid this and remain true and honest to each scent launched.
Q. Do you have favorite/least favorite perfume ingredients and, if so, what are they and why?
A. Even a smell that I consider unpleasant is something I find exciting on a certain level. Such a smell can be the most intriguing and extremely special when it comes to learning about myself and my immediate surrounding.
Q. What do you hope people will experience when wearing your scents?
Q. Tell us about your favorite perfumes to wear, from DER DUFT or otherwise...
A. Wearing ACT one day and MATCH another day is a contrast I enjoy experiencing. This certainly provokes a sense of pride, joy and pleasure.
Q. What excites you about the newest fragrance in your collection, Match?
A. Collaborating and working together with Anne-Sophie Behaghel has been nothing but great. I am grateful for her patience with me as well as her sense of perfection in creating what is now MATCH. Ge[ng there was a journey of trying out various directions until we could settle.
Q. What do you envision for DER DUFT over the next five years?
A. My goal and vision is for DER DUFT to grow “organically” as they like to say. It is a great satisfaction to reach a growing audience of perfume lovers.
DER DUFT perfumers Miguel Matos, Anne-Sophie Behaghel, Prin Lomros, Alexandre Illan and Anselm Skogstad.