Violin maker Edgar Russ has dedicated his life to making the music world sound a little better.
Now, he’s trying to make it smell a little better, too.
Russ, a 47-year-old native Austrian who’s spent the past 30 years mastering the art of acoustics in Cremona, Italy, is trying to master the art of aromatics—and has recently unveiled a new perfume formulated to “reveal the art of Cremonese violin making.”
Russ and his girlfriend Elena first envisaged bottling the scent of violin-making in 2009, while on holiday in France.
“And since you can only regret in life what you have not done,” Russ says, “I had to get it done.”
Flash forward five years and, with the help of French perfume maker Guy Bouchara, Violin Eau de Parfum is available to anybody interested in emitting the essence of a European stringed-instrument craftsman ($114 for a 50ml bottle at violinfragrance.com).
We asked Russ why he created—as described on his website–“a unique fragrance for everybody, man and woman.”
What first put you on the scent for perfumery?
The idea to create a perfume which reflects violin making just popped up. My fiancé Elena helped me to come up with such an idea. For her, the day starts by using perfume—every day. Elena and I were on a short vacation to Grasse in France—during that nice weekend five years ago, the idea was born.
How exactly does a perfume ‘reflect violin making’?
To create the violin perfume is the logical mixture of “Oh, what a great taste [and] smell here in your workshop!” Certainly, at that time I didn’t expect that the world of perfume is actually just like the world of violin making.
That is surprising.
From the very beginning I had a clear idea of how it should smell and what it should transmit. It had to capture wood and varnish materials we use in violin making; rosin, which is used to play the instrument; and, most difficult, to capture the mystery and the secrets of the great Italian makers in one tiny bottle.
Do you feel you’ve captured that mystery?
Spray a little on your skin and start smelling. You might understand better what I am talking about. One hour later it is different, and even 12 hours later you still have the smell–which conducts your senses into the world of violins. Right?
It’s certainly like no perfume I’ve ever worn before.
I am actually known for apparently pretty strange things I do to promote myself as a violinmaker. If you know me better, you will see that there is a straight, logical line as to when and what I am doing.
But who is Violin Eau de Parfum for? Is there a market for people who want to smell like musical instruments?
I made it to bring a new sparkling taste to the world of classical music. It’s a world that apparently is not changing and boring—certainly, not for us musicians and violin makers. Therefore, Violin Eau de Parfum is a fragrance that is intended to be for everybody. Violin brings, literally, new air! [It’s] for musicians, friends, and all the other ones who are willing to dedicate some time to experience something new. It is intended to be a door into an unknown world.
Do you feel there’s an untapped market for luthiers in the fashion/style/scent industries?
Well, if you look around during a violin-makers meeting, it might seem so!
No, come on! Just joking! But, actually, here in Italy, I have noticed that most makers are more into fancy fashion and style than the rest of the world. I am a violin maker and constructing great-sounding instruments is such a satisfying art that I am not yet planning to break through into fashion, style and scent industries. But you never know!
Violin Eau de Parfum’s tagline is: ‘Enjoy the secret.’ So . . . what is the secret?
Everyone has a different secret! Mine is to do what you love and to work on it every day!