Interview with Yvonne Twomey – Yve Perfumes

2 minute read. Interview by Fiona in 554 words.

Yvonne pic

Have you ever dreamt of creating your own perfume? Follow your dreams! Meet Cork girl Yvonne Twomey who gave up everything to do just that. 

Yvonne started work as an analytical chemist, which sounds like a lifetime removed from the romantic image of the perfume industry us ordinary people have! Fighting off the competition, Yvonne got a much-coveted place in the Grasse Institute of Perfumery, which accepts only 12 students per year. Having completed her training, and then working with some of the world’s most-renowned perfumers, she went on to create her own perfume brand YVE Perfume. 

Explain how you came to find yourself studying at the Grasse Institute of Perfumery in 2007.

Yes my curiosity for beautiful smells took over my life from a very young age. I was constantly chasing and trying to capture the smell of nature all around me. I could transport my self to a very happy place by just one whiff of a garden rose.

Honestly I gave up everything to study in Grasse.

It took years and only through contacts like the late Arthur Burnham – a British perfumer who advised me, and my own courage and determination to make it happen.

The Institute only takes 12 students each year – what was it about you that made you stand out and become accepted for study?

What made me stand out – I would say my Irish charm 😉 and innocence but mostly my ability to smell, associate, remember and imagine.

Yve perfume logo
How importance is your chemistry background as a perfumer?

Chemistry is very important factor in fragrance creation as you need to know how each raw material may react together in a composition and what quantity you may utilise in terms of cost and legislation.

What were some of the key things you learnt while training in Grasse?
I learnt about how secret this perfume world is. How difficult it is to see a formula of a world best selling fragrance unlike our food industry where we are saturated with recipes, chefs and ideas.

In perfumery this is not the case and I understand why it takes so long to learn this art.

After the training, you worked for 2 years in France with Fragrance Resources, an international wholesale perfume manufacturer. Explain some of the key things you learned while working there?
 I had the best time creating my own perfumes. I was in solitary perfumery confinement and I loved it.

It was my world and at this time everyone I knew there were exactly as obsessed and driven as I was. Fragrance Resources was founded by Perfumer Pierre Bourdon, who created Cool Water and many more. I spent my days working on my own perfumes and learning the raw materials with daily olfactive tests. My time at Fragrance Resources and Grasse was truly amazing and I am eternally grateful for one of the most exciting experiences of my life.

After you came back from France to Ireland in 2011, you set about working on Yve Perfumes. Tell us about your range.
Diosco, Samhradh, Eriu –

Returning to ireland… led me to create my own brand Yveperfume and my biggest motivation is being able to spread my fragrance knowledge to other Perfumistas. Perfume is a moments mesmerising pleasure – an expression of love and joy to those who get so close to you.

Yvonne is now based in Asia, and will be getting involved in perfume classes/talks and all thing fragrant in Singapore in June this year. If you want to read more about perfume-making go to our piece on How Do They Make Perfume.