In Conversation With Perfumehead Founder Daniel Patrick Giles

We sat down with the fragrance creative to learn more about his story and brand

April 30, 2024 6:24 am
Perfumehead Collection
Perfumehead Collection

At times, you might find Daniel Patrick Giles, the mastermind behind the buzzy fragrance house Perfumehead, in the “osmocosm” — a term he coined, fusing “osmo” (smell) and “cosmo” (universe). This unique concept is integral to the brand, envisioning an infinite realm of possibilities where every place carries a scent, and every scent narrates a story. In our article on the rise of niche fragrance colognes, we observed a trend away from mass-produced department store scents that have dominated the market for so long and noted how many individuals seek more originality in their fragrances. Perfumehead is such a brand: a fragrance house dedicated to the art of creating timeless, unique and luxurious scents for the discerning nose.

Launched in 2022, Perfumehead has taken the olfactory world by storm, garnering widespread acclaim and adoration through its innovative scent compositions, stylish packaging and vivid descriptions that inform a uniquely L.A. experience. Many of their scents carry a smoky, mysterious and sexy undertone, drawing inspiration from cultural influences like art, film, music, literature and poetry. The fragrances are crafted by a team of French perfumers in L.A. using the finest essential oils, natural extracts and sustainable synthetics; each perfume represents a small-batch masterpiece created to evoke a contemporary, chic persona.

Giles is a visionary with over 25 years of experience building prestige brands in the beauty and fashion sectors. For him, Perfumehead isn’t just another fragrance brand; it’s a testament to his ambition to create a movement around scent. Perfume is more than a pleasant aroma — it is a conduit for emotions, memories, self-expression and desire to evoke wonder and intimacy through scent. Giles crafted a fragrance collection to transcend traditional boundaries. Each scent tells a multidimensional olfactory story that unfolds with varying cinematic notes from the spritz to the dry down. The chic packaging reflects an indie-lux aesthetic, presented in captivating round bottles. Furthermore, Perfumehead’s dedication to sustainability is deeply ingrained in its ethos. By employing CO2 extraction and organic sugarcane alcohol, the brand ensures its formulas are as natural and eco-conscious as possible.

Perfumehead Founder Daniel Patrick Giles
Perfumehead Founder Daniel Patrick Giles

My favorites from the collection include “Cosmic Cowboy,” a captivating blend of smoky, spicy and musky notes evoking the mysterious atmosphere of a 1970s Sunset Strip night. “Canadian Tuxedo” is perfect for woodsy scent lovers, combining notes of coriander, bay leaf, patchouli and Peru balsam, suitable for winter and summer wear. Their latest scent, “LA LA Love,” is a rich gourmand with notes of cognac, vanilla and smoked amber — an opulent fragrance for the L.A. scenester who was out late and still smells amazing the morning after.

We spoke with Giles about the brand, niche fragrances, his creative process, inspirations and what’s in store for this exciting fragrance house.

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InsideHook: Given the growing preference for unique, artisanal fragrances, how does Perfumehead, with its distinct qualities, envision itself in this evolving landscape?

Daniel Patrick Giles: I’m not sure if we belong to a particular landscape or movement. On the one hand, I see a growing demand for experiences that transcend what’s typical or mass-produced and a deepening curiosity for ideas that uniquely capture a place, person or identity. On the other hand, we operate in our own realm, guided by non-negotiable principles: we are rooted in and inspired by Los Angeles — its scenes, stories and cinema; our fragrances are pure, potent extrait de parfums; and every detail of Perfumehead is shaped by the pursuit of artistry.

The collective result is beautiful and complex fragrances and the attachment of labels such as “niche luxury” or “cult fragrance.” While these aren’t inaccurate, they don’t define us. However, they serve as an organizing mechanism in that being recognized as “artisanal” or “niche” opens dialogue and doors with creatives and brands who share a similar ideology of creating authentic experiences. 

That ethos, and many of those people, are captured in our portrait series for LA LA Love, our latest extrait de parfum. These individuals — writers, musicians, nail artists, founders, door openers — are the creative lifeblood of Los Angeles. They may not be names you see on marquees or billboards, but they embody the spirit of perfumeheads: creative souls who experience the world in the moment and find joy in sharing that experience. If we stay true to who we are and continue celebrating and collaborating with our community of perfumeheads, I believe our universe is infinite, even though our DNA will always be distinctly Los Angeles.

What made you want to start a fragrance house?

I have a lifelong love affair with scent that began in the wilderness of Northern Ontario. Surrounded by raw nature and a fragrance utopia, I grew up near my mother’s garden — a lush tapestry of vegetables and flowers — and the deep, untamed woods just a stone’s throw from our home. These experiences taught me the profound power of scent as a medium to connect with the world around us. This intimate relationship with scent followed me to Paris during a school trip at 16. There, I purchased my first bottle of YSL’s Opium — a revelatory moment that deepened my passion for perfume. My professional journey in luxury fashion and beauty, from creative director roles at Holt Renfrew and LVMH to strategic positions at leading beauty brands, refined my vision of what a fragrance house could be. It instilled in me meticulous attention to craftsmanship, quality and identity — values I yearned to express through my passion for fragrance. Perfumehead is born from this deep appreciation for the art of perfumery and a vision to capture the essence of Los Angeles. Each fragrance I create is undeniably Perfumehead — complex, luxurious and unique in its identity, from the logo and narrative to the notes and emotions it evokes.

What are your thoughts on the indie-meets-lux fragrance movement in general?

I don’t think there’s a disruption in the category, but the trend of traditional luxury being challenged by independent ideas and innovation is inherently exciting. This is how culture happens. Today, consumers have more agency than ever to buy what they want, where they want, when they want. It’s an exciting paradigm for Perfumehead, and for any independent brand that is carving out their own space in their own voice.

What would you say are the defining characteristics of Perfumehead?

Perfumehead is defined by its commitment to craftsmanship, the richness of storytelling and an unparalleled depth of scent. Each fragrance is an extrait de parfum, crafted with meticulous attention to detail and composed of only the finest ingredients. This dedication to quality, artistry and narrative depth ensures that every Perfumehead fragrance is recognizable and deeply personal.

Perfumehead’s fragrance pyramids are unique and creatively alluring. Could you share some insights into the process behind these compositions?

We embrace a philosophy where artistry merges with craftsmanship and tradition blends with pioneering techniques. We source the finest raw materials from trusted farmers and collaborate with master perfumers with decades of experience. Our approach also uses innovative processes for extracting natural ingredients. By refining the traditional methods of obtaining absolutes and using bio-sourced and biodegradable solvents, we preserve the vibrant top notes and the true aroma of the living plant. This champions sustainability and captures the ingredients’ purest and most natural essence.

We employ molecular distillation and CO2 extraction techniques to maintain ingredient integrity, ensuring high-quality, colorless, potent scents with authentic olfactive profiles untouched by thermal changes. Our use of organic sugar cane alcohol, small-batch crafting and maceration processes underscore our commitment to pure, potent artisanal luxury.

I love the name. How did you come up with it?

I am a perfumehead and have always identified as a perfumehead. Ultimately, Perfumehead the brand reflects our ambition to create a global movement of scent lovers and explorers. It signifies a shift in perception — from individuals obsessed with perfume to anyone experiencing and appreciating the universe of scent. Perfumehead is a call to smell with intention and curiosity. This is reflected in our vision: to inspire the perfumehead in all of us and to indulge the perfumehead in you.

Can you tell us a bit about what we might expect from the Perfumehead in the future? 

LA LA Love is a major launch for Perfumehead that is still unfolding, and there is still so much to explore love to tap into for original fragrances like Cosmic Cowboy, Canadian Tuxedo and Room No. That said, I wouldn’t be surprised if we light a candle or two in 2025.

Vivid. Velvety. Virile. Rich, mysterious notes of galbanum, cinnamon bark, cacao and orris butter. A smoky aroma of decadent amber, suede, black musk and hot bodies. Intensity when you want to let go.

What you wear when you have nothing to hide. Sensual raw materials that generate warmth. The rugged individualism of coriander and cumin paired with the informality of exotic Peru balsam and tonka bean. Expressive, not heavy.

Luscious. Heated. Heavenly. A fragrance imbued by opulence: sandalwood, saffron, musk and vanilla absolute. Boozy notes of cognac, smoked amber and Peruvian balsam. Lipstick on spent cigarettes. Emollient for the gloriously weary.

Finding yourself here, again. Woody-spicy is the theme. Black tea and palo santo are sensual and mysterious. Bergamot and nutmeg add addictive comfort. There’s an amber glow with consoling combinations of orris butter, vanilla musk. and buttery leather.

An indulgent private reserve of osmanthus, Turkish rose and Indian jasmine. Oud is the voluptuous woody overtone. Cardamom and pimento inspire a deep sensuality. Slightly sweet and slightly burnt, tinged with hints of vanilla bean, labdanum and Italian suede.

Dark. Humid. Hedonistic. A decadent blend of Turkish and Moroccan roses seduced by saffron. Earthy and androgynous with hints of angelica root and ambrette seed. Leather, amber and musk entwine like a lover’s embrace.

Lush. Dense. Sparkling. With decadent notes of jasmine, cumin, and orris butter. Brimming with floral diffusion. Naked yet warm. A sensual halo of warm musk enveloped in vetiver, patchouli, sandalwood and oakmoss. Bright citrus notes of bergamot, neroli and red mandarin.

Trumpet-shaped tuberose. Citrus-scented blood orange. The ephemeral beauty of orange flowers, night-blooming jasmine and moonflower lure the night flyers. Patchouli, musk and moonlight. Fragrant breezes tinged with sweetness.

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