It is always very exciting when a new perfumer hits the scene and doubly exciting for me when that perfumer is a local Bay Area artist. I have known Mario Tomas Gomez for about two years. I was privileged to be at dinner with him, Mik of Mik Moi and Hilary Randall when he decided to take the big leap and start his perfume house.
His official brick and mortar launch is this Saturday at Tigerlily Perfumery here in San Francisco. So to honor his blossoming as an olfactory artist I asked him a few questions.
Lanier: Where were you born?
Mario: Born in Oklahoma City, OK raised both in OKC and Mexico City, Mexico
Lanier: What did you want to be when you grew up?
Mario: I always wanted to do something which allowed me to help others.
Lanier: who introduced you to perfume?
Mario: I remember smelling different fragrances on different family members. These various olfactory experiences helped build my love for fragrances/perfumes.
Lanier: What opened the door to your life in the perfume industry?
Mario: It was the experience of blending my own creation at Perfumer’s Apprentice when they had a shop open in Santa Cruz, CA. It was a small shop that provided tea service while you created your own scent. Afterwards, I searched for a local perfume making workshop. I saw one offered by Yosh Han, the rest is history.
Lanier: what is the inspiration behind each of your scents?
Mario: El Poeta (The Poet): This fragrance conjures up another era; a time and place when debates on beauty, style and technique were hotly discussed over drinks at a crowded and smoky cafe. It too is unconventional. Artistic expression and flair is flaunted and appreciated. For those who walk a different path, it represents the cultural, artistic mavericks of a time gone by. It is Absinthe inspired, Bohemia in a bottle.
Corazon Blanco (White Heart): Corazon Blanco is my love note to my family and heritage of beautiful Mexico. I have deep and unforgettable roots in Mexico: the exotic flowers, spices and culinary delights of this region have lent themselves to my fond memories and recreation of such moments with this scent. They include my Grandmother making cinnamon tea, my Mother’s enjoyment of Cajeta (caramels) and adoration of gardenias, or the recollection of tequila from my cousin’s distillery.
Lo Mejor di Mi #1: This citrus fragrance is homage to the citrus, aromatic family. Its great diversity of revitalizing notes will offer a fresh embrace that is meant to lift one’s spirit. It will envelop you in notes of bitter orange, pink and white grapefruit and blood orange that will delight and recharge your essence. Its hint of floral, woods and musk adds to its complexity and will have you fall in love at first smell.
Lanier: Who was your mentor in the world of perfume?
Mario: It was Yosh Han and Shelley Waddington who helped me explore the art of blending. Michael Coyle of MikMoi who gave me the helpful nudge to launch at the 3rd SF Artisan Fragrance Salon.
Lanier: What is your process in making a perfume?
Mario: Normally, first I will explore the single individual notes alone without any other notes. Sometimes this can take less than a minute or sometimes days. Once I have all the fragrance notes I will be using, I explore fragrances already out on the market. If I can bring something new, then I move to blending and testing out Jerry my husband or friends.
Lanier: Do you have an idea of whom you are making your perfumes for. Who is that person, what is he or she like?
Mario: I am creating scents for anyone who enjoys them. I may be inspired by a specific person, but I try to create scents that are enjoyed by both genders.
Lanier: Where do you want to be in five years?
Mario: Getting my bottling and packaging finalized, transitioning from my State job into making perfume into a full-time event.
20 smelly questions. (inspired by the ten questions asked by Bernard Pivot on the French television show “Bouillion de Culture”.
1.Who inspires you?
Anyone in my inner circle of friends and family.
2.What makes you want to get out of bed in the morning?
My Nespresso machine. Just kidding, gratitude for life.
3.What is your favorite sensation?
Smell and taste, they are connected.
4. What is your favorite word to describe a perfume?
5.What is the most over used world to describe a perfume?
6.What is your least favorite perfume note?
I do not have one. All notes can be blended to create a wonderful experience.
7.What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
I think of myself as a very spiritual person and so that enters by thought process while creating.
8.What perfume turned you on this month?
Les Parisiennes Mademoiselle Eau de Parfum by Guerlain. If I was just to judge this perfume by only it’s notes or by the name alone, it would be something I would have ignored. Having experienced this scent without knowing what was being spritzed on me, I was able to enjoy the development without any prejudgment. I love wearing by itself or blending it with many of my other fragrances.
9.What turns you off creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
My biggest turn offs are acts in which one is inconsiderate of another.
10.Who excites you in the world of perfume?
The growth in interest of the art of fragrance making.
11.What turns you off about the industry side of perfume?
Some of the restrictions being placed on ingredients that have been used to create some of the most amazing perfumes.
12.What natural smell in nature do you love?
I love the smell of cement and rain after a heavy rain in any season.
13.What smell in nature do you hate.
The smell of public urination one gets when walking out of some of the BART/Muni stations.
14.What historical person do you imagine would have smelled Wonderful and why?
Either Cleopatra or Marie Antoinette. Cleopatra was known to have the sails of her ships soaked in fragrance oils, so I can just image what “lovely” oil collection she owns. It was said that Marie Antoinette was know for her signature scent(s), when she tried to escape, it was her scent that was recognized which lead to her capture.
(Conceptual painting by John De Cuir for Cleopatra’s Barge “Cleopatra” 1963)
15.What is your favorite language other than your native tongue?
16.What is your favorite curse word in that language?
17.What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
18.What profession would you not like to do?
Anything that would not allow me to work with people.
19.If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
“Welcome, you will enjoy this fragrant garden and all of its wonders.”
20.What perfume would you like God to be wearing when he says that to you?
She will be wearing Guerlain’s Sous le Vent.
I would like to thank Mario for a wonderful and thought provolking interview The Launch for his perfumes witll be Saturday, November 1, 2014 from 5 – 9pm. If youi are in the San Francisco area do drop in and explore with me the wonderful olfactory world of Mario Tomas.
973 VALENCIA STREET
SAN FRANCISCO CA. 94110
510 230 7975