JMP Artisan Perfumes is a young Polish independent perfume brand created by Jakub Pietrynka, a self-taught perfumer. Two debut fragrances, Endless Forest and Mossy Soil — released as part of a collection called Duftart* — saw the light of day in 2019. A year later, the range expanded with Delusion and Eccentricity, released as the Composite** collection. At present, Jakub’s fragrances — in addition to his own online store and niche perfumeries in Poland — can be purchased, among others, in Sweden, Hungary and, relatively recently, at Luckyscent, a Californian perfume shop well-known to niche perfume lovers.
JMP Artisan Perfumes’ work was introduced to Fragrantica readers by Eddie Bulliqi in his article “JMP Artisan Perfumes: a Polish Brand With Something to Prove.” In addition to his text, I would instead like to take the opportunity to interview Jakub in order to give a little insight into the background of his brand, the genesis, the inspiration behind the various fragrances, as well as his plans for the future.
Maciej Kolankowski: Actually, I’d like to do a cross-sectional interview with you and get to know a little bit about the path you’ve taken to where you are now. You’re developing your own brand, and your creations are available in retail perfumeries. And it made me realise what a long way, what a lot of work you had to put in to get there.
Therefore, I would like to ask you about the origins of your interest: Do you remember at which moment in your life you started to be interested in perfumes and when and under what influence you decided to try mixing your own compositions?
Jakub Pietrynka: Not wanting to start my story as most perfumers do, i.e. “I have always been interested in fragrances” or “fragrances have been with me all my life,” I chose instead, in answer to your question, to mention a few memories from the birth of my passion.
When I was in high school, I had one perfume, which at that time seemed to me something completely different from the fresh and aquatic compositions available everywhere. It absolutely did not bother me; in fact I fell in love with it. Powdery-citrus-herbal tones hidden in a rather tacky bottle of Versace Blue Jeans accompanied me for the next 8 years. This was probably due to the fact that in my hometown, at that time, there were no popular perfume stores such as Douglas or Sephora, and I was happy to own any “unconventional” fragrance.
It was for this reason that my first visit to a chain perfumery left a mass of memories. Even now, I remember how a bottle of Versace Dreamer caught my attention in Sephora in the Polish town of Lublin. At that time, the composition seemed to me to be totally offbeat.
As for the scent inspirations, they appeared much later than the passion itself — only around 2014. At that time I started to explore the world of niche and retro perfumes from the ’70s and ’80s, and I understood that if I were to ever create my own perfume it would definitely be inspired by chypres, such as Gres Cabochard, Roja Dove Fetish, and Hermes Bel Ami.
Maciej Kolankowski: Indeed, from your creations emanates a love for the classic chypres. But before I ask more specifically about your creations, with reference to the long road you have come, I would like to clarify the second part of the previous question: Where did the idea of creating your own perfume come from? Did you start with an intention to create something that you would be able to share with others, or did you just want to try, just for fun, as a hobby, to mix something of your own, and at some point the idea sprouted that what you create is good and maybe it is worth starting your own brand?
Jakub Pietrynka: My first attempts into creating fragrances took place in 2016-2017. It all started with a desire to learn more about the individual ingredients found in perfumes. Often at the perfume creation workshops I organise, I say that the most important element is the desire to know what the individual fragrance notes in our favourite perfumes smell like. I mainly focused on analysing the woody and animal notes. A little later, I started blending them together. After a few months of blending, I felt that with a little patience I would be able to create a product that I would be proud of, and so I did.
Maciej Kolankowski: You spoke of being inspired by chypres — one can definitely pick up on that, but after testing all of your creations I have this first main thought that they are perfect unisexes, that in my opinion you have an incredible gift for creating a unisex balance, aiming for the spot. To be honest, I don’t recall as much consistency in this angle from any other independent perfumer. Was that your intention — a deliberate effect that you wanted to create unisexes?
Jakub Pietrynka: I assume that each of us knows exactly in which fragrances we feel best, so my goal as a creator and, above all, as a perfume fan was to focus on the scent balance, not on the division into genders. Many times this makes it difficult for me to decide, as many prototypes “take a turn” towards women’s, sometimes towards men’s. I think they would do a great job in their role, but I set the bar high for myself and keep experimenting until I come up with a unisex one. I myself have — on more than one occasion — reached for women’s fragrances in which I felt quite comfortable (e.g. Le Labo Ylang 49), but I reckon that many a man would feel uncomfortable buying a women’s perfume for himself. I see no reason to further complicate people’s fragrance decisions.
Maciej Kolankowski: I would like to address the first scent of the pair as part of your initial Duftart collection: Endless Forest. The scent seems to be the loudest of the four (although it appears to be toned down in this loudness to an acceptable volume), sour, woody-earthy and coniferous, but I find in it a beautiful hint of a palace interior and a cabinet full of old wooden furniture with leather upholstery. What was your idea for this fragrance?
Jakub Pietrynka: I am pleasantly surprised that Endless Forest projects strongly on you as it does on me. I know quite a few people who have problems with its performance on their skin. This is due to the “heavy” molecules, which are more noticeable for some of us and less for others. As for the concept itself, Endless Forest was inspired by my walks in the Niepołomice Forest in the autumn morning. In gathering my thoughts for this scent, I wanted to capture the woody theme that contrasts with the dampness and smell of decaying leaves on the mulch. In the end, I can say that I achieved my goal, although I have heard comparisons of Endless to a wooden hut standing in the mountains or wooden churches.
Endless Forest is the loudest of the four scents: sour, woody-earthy and coniferous, with a noble character reminiscent of the aroma of the interior of a palatial cabinet, lined with wood paneling, with wooden furniture and leather upholstery.
Maciej Kolankowski: Then thanks to me, you can also add a palace interior to this list of associations. (smiling) Interestingly, while in Endless Forest I found a palace interior, in Mossy Soil, I discovered a palace garden — a chypre with a noble iris opening in a slightly soapy glow and an animalic touch in the background. What was the idea behind this fragrance?
Jakub Pietrynka: As I mentioned before, I love retro fragrances, and that is why I decided to create my own chypre composition present in a full fragrance pyramid (citrus, floral, labdanum, oakmoss, and my favourite animalic notes). My goal was to come up with something that would make my product stand out. I decided to infuse my chypre with notes that are popular these days such as iris and earth essence. Interestingly, Mossy Soil originally contained hyraceum and some ozone notes, but in the end I found it too “overloaded.”
Mossy Soil is a chypre with a vintage undertone, endowed with a noble fragrant note of iris, set in a soapy glow. A distinct animalic note bursts from the fragrance, as well as a touch of pencil note. Rough and rugged, it evokes a vision of a palace garden.
Maciej Kolankowski: I know from previous interviews with you that your first collection, Duftart, consisting of Endless Forest and Mossy Soil, draws inspiration from the smell of the forest. You mentioned that you liked to work out the woody and animalic notes. So are woody notes the ones you like the most, that inspire you?
Jakub Pietrynka: That’s right! In fact, you could say I’m a druid. Being in the woods at any time, in any condition, I feel at home. From an early age, I loved hiking in forests and national parks. I suppose these memories make me feel very confident when I combine woody and animalic notes. Forest and leather aromas are also a lot of fun to wear; one of my favourite perfumes is YSL Kouros.
Maciej Kolankowski: I’m now going to ask about your second collection, Composite. And in trying to unravel Eccentricity, I’m wondering if it’s more of a coffee shop scent or a beach scent. Amazing that you managed to combine coffee and suntan lotion (coconut?) into a harmonious and obviously “on point” unisex fragrance. Here we have a slightly different style than in Duftart. What was the idea behind this fragrance?
Jakub Pietrynka: Anyone who has got to know me a little better is aware that I do not shy away from sweets, and the aroma of coffee is a scent that has a very positive effect on me. The idea for Eccentricity was to create something ambiguous, where you can recognise the extremes of change as the composition evolves. I noticed that many times Eccentricity is judged and commented on the basis of the first few minutes after application, which is a mistake (by the way, as when testing any perfume). In a way, this composition is a provocation to think and see the other side. Just like Salvador Dali’s paintings, in which you often see something new only when you look at them for the second time in a row.
Eccentricity combines two incarnations: a scent floating in the interior of an old café, with the distinct smoky aroma of coffee and burnt dessert, and the holiday scent of coconut/sun cream. Does the combination seem faint? Nothing of the sort! As with Jakub’s other works, a perfect unisex with a balanced face of sweetness and dryness.
Maciej Kolankowski: Delusion, just like Mossy Soil, has a classic style about it. It is aromatic, spicy and floral, resting on an ambergris base. Can you tell us more about it?
Jakub Pietrynka: Delusion was one of the biggest challenges for me because I wanted to create an incense fragrance, with a profile that I hadn’t had the chance to smell before. It’s not a sacred or strictly ambergris scent. Once again, I wove a lot of woody notes into the composition, which combine well with oriental ingredients. Finally, after many attempts, I achieved the desired effect in the form of an oriental cousin of Endless Forest. I write this because many times Delusion was compared to wickerwork or interiors of wooden churches or chapels.
Fragram, a photo by erzech (Fragrantica.pl)
Delusion is a light, aromatic, slightly retro style scent, combining a cellar and incense accord with a spicy-floral one. It balances between sweetness and savouriness. It has an ambergris base and a distinct note of carnation flower, which provides a vintage touch but does not cross the boundary that would evoke a feeling of vintage. Interesting for lovers of incense perfumes who want to find that accord in a retro floral-oriental fragrance.
Maciej Kolankowski: I had the opportunity to try out scents from your Duftart and Composite collections. Can you tell us what your future plans are and what to expect from a possible third collection? Are there any notes or concepts you already have in your mind that you would like to use?
Jakub Pietrynka: At the moment, I’m focusing mainly on external projects and creating new Polish brands. You will soon be able to see the result of my external collaboration. It will be a fragrance that refers to men’s colognes, with a modern twist, of course. If I am not mistaken, it will be available for sale at the end of August.
Regarding the next JMP releases: Patchouli and fougere fragrances have been on my mind for a long time. I already have a few drafts, but I plan to mix them up a bit more.
As a secret, I can reveal that the Duftart Collection will be extended by one more fragrance.
Maciej Kolankowski: Which composition are you most proud of? Which have taken the most time in terms of formulation? And is there any composition that proved to be particularly demanding to work on?
Jakub Pietrynka: I would say immodestly that I am happy with every fragrance I create. I treat them like my children, and I can’t say which one means more or less to me. All the perfumes I have blended have been created out of passion. As far as the technical side is concerned, I spent most of my time on the creation of Mossy Soil and Delusion. I found them to be the most complicated. Interestingly, the ingredients that gave me a kick were coumarin (so powerful), phenethyl alcohol (similarly to coumarin, it turned out to dominate the other notes) and citrus. I have recently come to greatly appreciate fresh citrus compositions, for they are not as simple as one would think.
Maciej Kolankowski: Finally I would like to ask you directly about your brand. You are present in selected perfumeries in Poland and on Luckyscent. How do you envision your development,? Do you want to stay in the form of short series or would you like to go further and gradually strengthen your brand presence and awareness? How can websites like Fragrantica and our readers support such brands as yours?
Jakub Pietrynka: JMP Artisan Perfumes is an artisanal and niche brand, and as a result I am keen to have a relatively limited distribution as, for example, Slumberhouse does. I realise that I still have a very long way to go before my products become very desirable and recognisable, but it all starts with a dream, and I believe that a Polish product can become popular abroad. Luckyscent is a very good example of this, because after the first shipment to the USA, Eccentricity sold out in a dozen days. A while later a similar situation happened with Mossy Soil. I am also glad that JMP has made its presence felt in Hungary and Sweden.
Fragrantica users, as well as other perfume fans, can support the development of small brands by testing products or having meaningful discussions in dedicated places.
Maciej Kolankowski: In that case, there is nothing else to do but to wish you luck with the realisation of your plans and to keep fingers crossed for the further development of the JMP Artisan Perfumes brand and Jakub Pietrynka’s other projects. Thank you for the conversation.
* The name of the Duftart collection refers to Jakub’s collaboration with Justyna Neyman [RIP], a painter and author of a collection of paintings inspired by the world of perfumes. You can read more about Duftart here.
** Again the name of the collection is related to the field of art represented by the artist cooperating with JMP (in this case, Mr. Dariusz Klimczak Kwadrart). Composite is a technique also known as a collage or photomontage. It consists in precisely cutting out elements from different photos required to create a separate composition.
Photos: JMP Artisan Perfumes
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