"Fragrances touch our souls and emotions directly, and those invisible connections can be more powerful than anything visible. What Scents of Wood does is exactly that."
Chiaki Nomura was the kind of child who used to press her head into fabric to smell her favorite fabric softener fragrance. She first studied pharmacy in Tokyo before deciding to learn perfumery, obtaining a master’s degree in cosmetics and fragrances at ISIPCA in Versailles, France, and University of Plymouth in England. Chiaki began her career as a perfumer at IFF New York in 2008.
Chiaki is adept across many fragrance categories, including fine perfumery, body care, haircare and candles. She finds that this sharpens her creativity and ability find inspiration from surprising places. Another source of inspiration comes from traveling the world, and she has lived in six countries in four continents and traveled to more than 40 countries. The first thing she does when traveling someplace new is visit the local marketplace - the best way, she feels, to understand the culture and people and rhythms of daily life. Recently, she lived and worked in Brazil and walked across the Northern Desert for three days. Sleeping in hammocks and secluded from technology, Chiaki reflects: “I never felt more connected to my core, to the earth, and my friends. It was an extreme feeling – away but not away, far but close, detached but so alive.”
Chiaki’s favorite materials are woods, especially vetiver and cedarwood, which is similar to hinoki, a wood from her Japanese roots. After traveling to IFF’s source of vetiver in Haiti and meeting the farmers, Chiaki acquired an “intense connection to the root of the ingredient and the hands that touch it and reminded me of why I wanted to be a perfumer.”
Chiaki is an elegant outsider in the world of perfumery. “I’m very different from classical French perfumers, in part because of my Japanese culture characterized by simplicity, minimalism and sensitivity. My formulas are among the shortest in perfumery where every ingredient has a place and nothing is extraneous. I like to think I possess a quiet strength, understated but not weak-- I take risks and do not give up. Ultimately, it is most important for me to create fragrances that touch people’s souls.”