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How Perfumehead Bottles Olfactory Love Letters to Los Angeles

The up-and-coming fragrance brand and its founder have a fresh take on using scents to tell stories.

How Perfumehead Bottles Olfactory Love Letters to Los Angeles Perfumehead

Picture this: late afternoon sunlight streams in through arched windows at the Chateau Marmont, illuminating dust particles floating lazily about the air and activating the warm scent of broken-in leather couches. Candles flicker as a hand reaches out to place an Old Fashioned on the coaster in front of you. 

Luckily, experiencing such effortlessly luxurious scenes no longer requires a flight to Los Angeles. Instead, find them bottled into Daniel Patrick Giles’ first collection of unisex scents—the debut offering for his brand, Perfumehead

Giles, a Toronto native, got his start working for Holt Renfrew—the Canadian answer to Bergdorf Goodman—where, over the course of 15 years, he rose through the ranks to become its creative director. Part of his job meant overseeing the launches of well-known olfactory brands such as Byredo, Jo Malone and Frederick Malle. Stints at prestigious companies including LVMH and Benefit Cosmetics followed, and he even created his own skincare company, Peace Out. 

Until the Covid-19 pandemic threw a spanner in the works, Giles had been growing from strength to strength. But when he caught the virus in December 2020, he slept for two straight days and woke up without his sense of smell or taste.

How Perfumehead Bottles Olfactory Love Letters to Los Angeles
Perfumehead founder Daniel Patrick Giles with several of the bottles he’s created. Perfumehead

“It really did give me just a much greater appreciation of scent, and I think it reformulated some of my thinking around the brand,” he says. “Now, one of the long-term goals that I have with this brand is to start a charity foundation that deals with the brain. Covid had a huge impact on my brain, so I want to do something that really starts to focus on brain health.”

His goal in launching Perfumehead has been to entice people to enter what he refers to as the “Osmocosm” (osmo being the Latin word for smell)—creating sensorial scent portraits with accompanying poems—allowing those who purchase from Perfumehead to fully envelop themselves into their scene of choice. “It’s very dimensional for me,” he says of fragrance

The brand launched its collection of seven unisex fragrances online exclusively with Violet Grey last September; in February, they became available at Bergdorf Goodman. There, scent enthusiasts can spritz, spray and layer the unique scents in person, with an emphasis on the latter. 

“One of the wonderful things that has come out of being in front of people and working with the customers [at Bergdorf’s] is finding out that most people were actually buying two fragrances at a time,” says Giles. “I was really surprised by that, and would ask why. They replied, ‘Oh, well I just created my own scent.’ There’s a new generation of people—and how they wear fragrance, why they wear fragrance, how they put fragrances together—so much of it is about self-expression and individuality.”

While the nostalgia piqued by smelling Perfumehead’s first collection will likely be unique to the wearer, each is deeply personal to Giles, who fashioned them as love letters to Los Angeles, the city he has called home for the past decade. 

How Perfumehead Bottles Olfactory Love Letters to Los Angeles
Perfumehead’s fragrances are tributes to Giles’s adopted home of Los Angeles. Perfumehead

Standouts include Reine de Anges (the Queen of Angels), a dark, nuanced rose with notes of heady vetiver, amber, leather and patchouli. Despite those strong notes, it doesn’t read as powdery or heavy, instead presenting a uniquely juicy berry-esque opening that makes it wearable in any season. 

“Reines de Anges is a reference to the nighttime drive up Mulholland Drive, the lights of the city below, listening to Primal Scream and Kate Moss singing a song in David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive,” he says. “So, for me, it’s very cinematic and layered. There’s a bit of mystery and I think sort of hedonism to that fragrance, because you don’t really catch the rose right away, but it blooms into that.”

Warm and indulgent Room No. is an ode to Chateau Marmont with notes of milky musk, cashmere woods and leather, while spritzing Somewhere leads you outside to the hotel pool. Giles found his inspiration for the fresh, dewy scent in Sofia Coppola’s film Somewhere, fashioning it to evoke the feeling of an oasis surrounded by lush, dense tropical plants—the sparkling pool beckoning you in for a dip.

Later this year, Giles says there’s even more Perfumehead to look forward to, such as a golden hour-inspired fragrance and vetiver-forward scent that evokes that delicious feeling of waking up in bed next to someone, sheets rumpled and coffee not yet made. 

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