Reading Time: 8 minutes

Nothing more personal than the relationship between you and your fragrance. Certain brands understood perfectly how personal and important. It is the case of Aesop.This week, Luxuryactivist met the Aesop team for the launch of their new fragrance: Marrakech Intense.

Aesop, from Australia to Geneva

Aesop is an amazing brand. It all started in 1987 in Melbourne – Australia. It was founded by Dennis Paphitis. His aim was to have a precise and expert range of superlative products in which he would gather the best of what nature and science can offer. In addition to skincare, Aesop also produces hair care, soapsand fragrance.


The brand can be found in its own ‘signature spaces’ (concept stores) and department stores. Aesop has a very specific way to develop the brand. In many ways, less is more. They prefer to have a short yet interesting distribution network that they master completely rather than going broader and then completely lose the brand message and quality. Aesop picks up the locations of its stores with the aim of proposing the brand universe in the best way possible. Each store tells a story, a different story but all of them are proudly ambassadors of the Australian brand. The Geneva store is located at the following address:

Aesop Geneva
Rue de la Fontaine, 15
CH-1204 Geneva
Tel: +41 (0)22 311 87 00

Aesop-Geneva-store-rue-de-la-fontaine-inside Aesop-Geneva-store-rue-de-la-fontaine-insider Aesop-Geneva-store-rue-de-la-fontaine

It is located in the city center, 5 mn by walk from the Leman Lake and the Rue du Rhone. The ambience of the store is a complete invitation to discover an unique universe. The store was opened in May 2012 and since then gain a loyal clientele in this animated area populated by locals and tourists as well. The store concept was given to Rodney Eggleston, from March Studio Melbourne. Rodney decided to work with copper for the interior design of the store. It is a very special decoration, minimal yet with a soul. The use of this specific material is inspired by the usage of copper in history. For money making and in the fantasy of the Alpine underground bunker. Nevertheless, copper was used in a modest way, enhanced by a set of textures of cork, sisal and wood. There were 2 elements which stroke my attention. The first one is a large copper sink, used for product demonstration and testing. According to Aesop, the sink design was inspired by the edgy shape of a 1970’s Citroen CX and it is installed in the center of the store. The second element is a magnificent DS-480 leather armchair signed by Alfredo Häberli. We can feel that people are happy to work in the store as there is a very warm-hearted and friendly atmosphere.

Aesop Marrakech Intense, the revival of an icon.

With its mastery on essential oils and ingredients, Aesop launched in 2005 a fragrance called Marrakech. It was an amazing scent inspired by the special atmosphere of the Moroccan city. The fragrance was made uniquely by essential oils which made it more as a scent rather than a fragrance itself. The “parti-pris” was total as Aesop never compromise on what they decide to do. And since then, it found its loyal customers. As a scent, the fragrance structure itself and the roll out of the olfactory story was by definition slightly unbalanced. It was more a story of a specific smell rather than an established perfume. That’s why this iconic product needed to be installed in a longer timeline in order to keep its originality and richness more long-lasting. That is the story of Marrakech Intense, new fragrance.

Aesop needed to find the right Perfumer to help and to dare to explore such challenge. How to capitalize on the amazing story of Marrakech yet re-balance the story in order to give a bright future to the fragrance. That is why Aesop worked with talented Master-Perfumer Barnabé Fillion.



Barnabé Fillion is an artist above all. When you meet him and you are lucky enough to ear him talking about his work, you can feel he has a  deep respect for raw materials and the work as a Perfumer. He is passionate about tradition and how he can reinvent it to shape the future. That is why between Aesop and Barnabé Fillion was a perfect match. When you ask Barnabé about his work around Marrakech, this is what he explains. The goal for him was to capitalize on the olfactory theme already created with the original Marrakech and to shape it as a contemporary fragrance.


The olfactory story of Marrakech Intense starts with a duet of Italian Bergamot and Cardamom. The Bergamot splashes a contemporary freshness light to the first minutes of the fragrance. This light is extended with an accord of Neroli and Jasmin flower. For the Cardamom, Barnabé Fillion used a very unique and exclusive quality from Fragrance house MANE. It is called Cardamom Jungle Essence. Mane was also the chosen fragrance house to produce the fragrance under the control and the fragrance design of Barnabé Fillion. Mane is a Fragrance house that always ally tradition, know-how and cutting edge technology. They have a large and unique ingredients palette which is a true delight for such talented perfumer. This special cold-extraction allows to capture the clean purity of any scented-material in order to use it in a fragrance.  Here is a video from Mane talking and explaining the Jungle essence extraction technology (here with a Fig example).

The Jungle essence technique is a cold-extraction. The advantage is that all olfactory properties and facets remain intact as we do not need to boil or to heat the ingredient. As we know the higher the temperature the more we destroy the olfactory molecules. That’s why certain ingredients are not good for traditional extractions. With the Jungle essence technique, a liquid gaz is injected in the heart of the fresh raw material. This happens under a pressurized tube which pushes the gaz throughout the different ingredient molecular structure. The liquid gaz blends with the olfactory molecules. When we get the gaz saturated with the scented molecules out of the pressurized chamber, the gaz evaporates naturally and leave the extracted scent in the final container. It can be used as it is or diluted.

The Cardamom note brings a real vibrancy that crossed the fragrance from top to bottom. It is a very elegant and natural note, that can be very addictive. Touches of Clove generates a spicy olfactory lace that plays with the Cardamom signature. The fragrance story continues with a contemporary Rose before giving the voice of a paradox of woods. The softness and the texture of Sandalwood strikes the sharpness and energy of a Cedarwood note. It is deep yet luminous, comfortable with an edge.

Marrakech Intense is a personal almost confidential story between a person and its fragrance. From all our senses, olfaction is probably the most intense and emotional driven one. Marrakech will strike you right away with its personality and it will take you away from your daily life to adventures that you cannot imagine until you experience them. If you try this fragrance you will see an addictive facet of it. You will always want to smell it, like if you were experiencing an amazing adventure, an interior one.



It is such a personal story that you might not want to share it with anyone. “What is your fragrance? I will not tell you. It is mine!” It is a complete call for adventure and escapism. It will make you dream of another existence, just during the glimpse of a breath. The flacon and the outer-packaging respect the brand philosophy and integrate naturally this new product into the existing range.
Marrakech Intense will be launched in a 50ml / 1.7 floz flacon, completely in the Aesop spirit of essentiality and practicality. A special 10ml flacon will also be available.


Barnabé Fillion succeeded to highlight the amazing signature of the original Marrakech in a more institutional story that will please both Marrakech lovers and fragrance aficionados. Congratulations to the artist and to Aesop to have dared to redefine the deserved rank of icon to their fragrance. That is Marrakech Intense.

The new Fragrance will be launched in September 2014 in all Aesop official point of sales. In the meantime you can discover more about this amazing Australian brand by visiting its official website: 

When talent, passion and know-how meet, the result can only be fascinating. Yes, fascinating is the word.



Info sourced at the official Aesop presentation at Geneva store, wikipedia, Barnabé Fillion website, Mane website. Barnabe Fillion image sourced at CartonMagazine. All content is copyrighted with no reproduction rights available.