Perfume interview: meeting perfumer Meabh Mc Curtin

Jun 04, 2024Helene Satiat-Ligier0 comments

My attraction to perfumery is driven by the poetry that nature offers us, by the emotions that it provides ” - Meabh McCurtin

Meabh Mc Curtin perfumer at IFF

Today, we take you to meet Meabh Mc Curtin, perfumer at IFF and creator of our eau de parfum which captures the spirit of the French national holiday, 14 JUILLET .

Curious and contemplative , discover her story, her journey, her inspirations for the creation of 14 JUILLET and the challenges she encountered when composing natural perfumes .

Good reading !

The journey and inspirations of Meabh Mc Curtin

Can you introduce yourself and tell us about your background?

I'm Irish, I grew up in a small town near the sea in the west. My journey has not really been linear, I have often changed direction according to new interests and my curiosity... Sciences, manual creations, art...

I have travelled a lot too. First in the United States where I studied science, then in France where I was originally only supposed to stay for 3 months... And where I am still today... That's where I decided to become a perfumer.
The road to get there wasn't easy, but I finally knew what I wanted to do.

What ultimately made you want to become a perfumer?

A taste for exploration… As a child I loved exploring new places, I was very curious.
Nature too and the relationships we can form with it and the elements. The environment in which I grew up immersed me in smells that still inspire me today. The sea air, the vast expanses of grass, the smell of rain...
My attraction to perfumery is driven by the poetry that nature offers us, by the emotions it provides.

Later, before joining IFF, I had the chance to work with Daniel André in Switzerland. At that time, I also worked in parallel in a Lebanese grocery store and at a chocolatier. I was immersed in an incredible olfactory environment!
These experiences associated with my apprenticeship with Daniel confirmed my desire to become a perfumer.

What are your inspirations?

I just talked about it, Nature obviously, but also the encounters, the bonds that we can form with certain people, the ideas that can be born from them.

Travel too. Discovering new lands and cultures is an incredible source of inspiration.

How do you manage to transcribe words, an inspiration or a memory into a perfume?

This is a difficult question because I think it's not always the same process, sometimes it's very conceptual.

To transcribe an emotion or a memory , for example, we must question what we feel, make connections with the smells of the places and the people present. And sometimes it's very direct when, for example, we try to reproduce as closely as possible the smell of a flower or a fruit.

Do you have an olfactory signature? If yes which one ?

Very difficult question... I am often told that my creations are very contrasting , material. Maybe that’s my signature!

Meabh McCurtin and Bastille…

What are the challenges of composing perfumes with 95% natural ingredients?

The challenge is to deal with a reduced palette and often with more expensive ingredients. The challenge is also to bring modernity, not to be too “traditional perfumery”.
Formulating 95% natural ingredients is not just a technical exercise; we must keep in mind the pleasure that the note must convey.
I really enjoyed this challenge.

What did you like about the Bastille adventure?

The approach, very authentic, and also the challenge of formulating it differently. The team is very open to dialogue, to exchange, to more surprising ideas. It’s a real co-creation process.


Can you describe to us in 3 words the perfume that you signed at Bastille?

14 JUILLET : fiery, joyful and addictive

What did the 14 JUILLET brief inspire you when it was presented to you?

I found it interesting to work around such a strong symbol for my host country. It is a symbolic moment of joy and reunion for many French people, so I wanted a joyful, luminous perfume, but also enveloping, delicious to express the pleasure that these moments of jubilation give us.
This brief also echoed a more personal memory. I remembered the wonder I myself felt one day of celebration on the Champs Elysées. I was at Place de l'Etoile, on my bike, and in the arch of the Arc de Triomphe I saw the fireworks. I found this moment magical!


And we end this fragrant interview with these last 3 questions:

For you, a perfume is…

A poem.

And a perfumer is…?

An explorer.

Finally, what is your motto?


The olfactory portrait of Meabh Mc Curtin

We now move on to the olfactory portrait . Let's go !

Your personality in 3 words? Curious, contemplative, persevering.

Your first olfactory memory? I would say the smell of oatmeal . Yes, the smell of the porridge my grandmother made for me when I was little. It's such a comforting smell .

oatmeal porridge


A smell you hate? The smells of frying. I hate anything fried! Fried eggs, what a horror!

A smell you love? There are many ! But if I have to name just one: the smell of warm, crusty bread.

A favorite raw material that you like or would like to work with? At the moment I love the new rosemary from LMR, a CO2 extraction, very faithful to the smell of rosemary with a resinous, almost mystical side. It's a bit of my obsession. I immediately feel good smelling it.

An original association? I like to work with sometimes unexpected pairings, “mushroom”, “artichoke” pairings … I like to explore new things.
For 14 JUILLET, I wanted to combine fireworks & vanilla. 

A legendary perfume? Fracas by Robert Piguet.

Natural, synthetic or both? Both !

So ! You now know Meabh McCurtin like the back of your nose.

To discover the perfume interviews of other perfumers who have signed Bastille perfumes, go to the "Perfume Interviews" section of our blog - they arrive very quickly, a little patience!


Photos: Studio Picabel


le guide de Noël de Bastille
Helene Satiat-LigierDec 11, 20230 comments
14 JUILLET, la nouvelle eau de parfum de Bastille
Helene Satiat-LigierJun 05, 20240 comments

Comments (0)

There are no comments for this article. Be the first one to leave a message!

Leave a comment

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published