Looking for the fragrance of your dreams? Time to sniff out new arrival to our shores, Curionoir. Maggie Davis meets the inspiring founder
Tiffany Jeans exudes a natural radiance. Strong and sculptural, she has a rare magnetism you only come across once in a while. When we meet, she is surrounded by exquisite glass perfume bottles in various jewel tones. Her rich, heady scents displayed amid a fountain of flowers in her close friend and fellow New Zealander, Jessica McCormack’s elegant jewellery store in Mayfair’s Carlos Place.
Auckland-based Jeans is in London to launch Curionoir, the niche perfume brand she established in 2011, after a career as a successful stylist. “I was was travelling the world, working for big brands and thinking there must be more to life,” she says. The idea was born when she created personalised skull candles wrapped in tulle as a gift for her wedding guests (she married film director Andrew Morton in 2009). “I started studying fragrance while my kids slept.” (She has three children, Lilith, 16, Carmelo, 10, and Dita, five).
Jeans desire to slow down and create something meaningful, resulted in the birth of her first fragrance, Dark Bouquet, a heady mix of orange flower, jasmine and vetiver. Like all her subsequent scents, it makes you sit up and take note. Jeans now has seven scents and even more covetable scented candles, which arrive in covetable glass jars.
Every one of her head-turning scents is a deeply personal creation inspired by her Maori roots growing up on New Zealand’s north island surrounded by family. Her grandmother, mother and aunts were all skilled craftswomen and her uncle, a bone carver, had a huge impact. Cella Fields, for example, is a sweet and heady concoction that instantly makes you smile. Featuring apple, nutmeg, grapes leaves and tree moss, it’s inspired by the pleasant musty smells of the cellar on a family wine-producing farm.
Tobacco Night, on the other hand, is a deep, earthy scent with amber, musk and dried tobacco leaves, inspired by an eccentric “pipe-smoking head teacher from middle school.” Diaphanous, a light, euphoric scent with mandarin, saffron and cayenne pepper was prompted by what Jeans describes as “a moment of clarity after a tough time.'“
There’s a mystery and depth about Jeans fragrances that is totally captivating. Purotu Rose, in particular. It’s a dark, musky rose with bitter orange, teak and vetiver, inspired by the funeral of her grandfather. Despite the possibly sombre connotations, it has has become one of her best-sellers, loved equally by men and women.
Time, care and emotion are the basis for all Jeans creations. Some of the scents, like Opia, with its complex mix of rhubarb, Cambodian aud, cedar wood and Australian sandalwood, take years to perfect. “There’s so much craft involved in fragrance and it should be encased in something special,” she says.
Her exquisite bottles are available to buy separately each one is individually handblown in Auckland, meaning they are all slightly irregular shapes. “Every piece of glass is individual,” she says. “The dab application forces you to slow down and be careful.”
In a world of synthetic celebrity scents and powerhouse perfumes, Jeans’ thoughtful, evocative scents stand out.