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Article: Interview with Catherine Selig, the Perfumer Behind "Speakeasy" & "Lady Day"

Interview with Catherine Selig, the Perfumer Behind "Speakeasy" & "Lady Day"

Catherine Selig


We sat down with Catherine Selig, the brilliant perfumer behind our new "Lady Day" and "Speakeasy" candles, to chat all about her background in luxury fragrance and what she uses as inspiration when creating her signature scents. 

 You are the nose behind our newest candle, "Lady Day." It's inspired by the gardenia that Billie Holiday used to wear in her hair. Can you explain to everyone how you came up with this incredible floral fragrance that is so intoxicating?

Billie Holiday is actually very personal for me.  As a baby my parents would put me to bed with Billie Holiday's music. My parents loved jazz and her music brought them this feeling of peace, enjoyment, and happiness. I have a lot of beautiful memories of my parents, especially my dad, when I think of Billie Holiday.

When I moved to New York, I discovered her life (Billie Holiday).  I discovered her personality, and another dimension to her. This is why you (Teri) and me and Billie Holiday have something in common. We are all perfectionists and this is why we spent two years working on the Lady Day fragrance. We wanted to get it right, we wanted to have this beautiful fragrance diffusion and we wanted to pay tribute to Billie Holiday because she is such an impressive woman with everything she accomplished. We wanted it to diffuse and have an aura and to be natural at the same time, exactly like her and the gardenia. It is a very interesting plant which blooms suddenly, then doesn't bloom, and the smell appears and disappears, and is extremely, extremely powerful, but in a natural way yet addictive and mysterious. It's really very beautiful and I'm excited about it. I’m already excited about the reviews, I cannot wait to see what the aficionados of the brand say about the candle.


Lady Day

Catherine, when you first presented your idea, it was a perfume and you gave it to me in a fine fragrance bottle. I was spraying it constantly on my wrist, and it was so intoxicating and just so lovely. Can you explain how you go from creating fine fragrance in these beautiful perfumes to then creating fragrances for the home? Is it a different type of process?

While the processes are different, in both cases the fragrance has to make you feel an emotion. In a candle, you can smell the top, middle, and bottom at the same time immediately. You don't need to wait for the fragrance to diffuse by spreading it on the skin, for example. 


What went into creating "Speakeasy," the beautiful fragrance inspired by the speakeasies of Harlem from the 1920s and 30s?

I remember when we met for the first time to discuss this project, and you spoke about how you wanted the scent to transport you in time, specifically to a mysterious, forbidden speakeasy club with leather couches, bourbon, and cigars. As we talked through this idea, we visualized what a modern speakeasy would look and feel like today and used that inspiration to create the scent. So instead of a cigar, we put some palo santo --something a bit more spiritual and mystical -- and added a magic touch of dark chocolate to create a sense of indulgence. 




Be sure to check out our "Speakeasy" and "Lady Day" candles, available on our website!