Charming, charismatic, and dripping with class, Roja (pronounced Roger) Dove is recognized as one of the world’s most innovative fragrance designers and the industry’s most respected perfumer. Aston Martin, Fabergé, and Laurent-Perrier are just some of the prestigious global brands that have turned to Dove for his expertise. I met him earlier this month at Neiman Marcus in the Galleria and we began a journey into his background and fragrant world.
Dove fell in love with perfume at the age of 7, when his mother leaned in to give him a good-night kiss—he says that was the first time he consciously made a connection between the smell of a perfume and a person. His enthusiasm came to the attention of the Guerlain family, who offered him a position within their luxury powerhouse. Dove trained the next 20 years alongside the fragrance industry's best creative minds. His first perfume was launched at a charity event at Christie’s auction house in London, and received the highest bid of the night.
Dove coined the term Haute Parfumerie when he opened what has become one of the most influential, innovative and luxurious perfumeries in the world, the Roja Dove Haute Parfumerie inside Harrods famed department store in London. The Roja Dove Haute Parfumerie outsells every other brand at Harrods, the perfumer proudly notes, and credits this to not only the aromas but the company's exclusive reputation and limited distribution to a handful of handpicked retailers. In other words, you won’t see Dove doing a collabo with Target anytime soon.
Dove translated his expertise into The Essence Of Perfume, a book documenting the history of scent from the beginnings of culture to the modern day, detailing the artistry of the perfumers and the scandals behind their creations. It is the industry's magnum opus, a history and guide for the amateur, the enthusiast and the expert alike.
Based on feedback from clients, Dove realized that what was missing from his tome was the scents themselves. Thus Roja Dove's Bespoke service was launched, creating a fragrance based on a series of consultations and a thorough interview process to discover clients' personalities and characteristics. Using his copyrighted Odour Profiling technique, Dove says that the process will suss out the exact olfactory imprint that "fits your soul." A one-of a-kind signature scent doesn't run cheap though—the service starts at $20,000.
In January of 2015, he took his career full circle by designing a tribute scent to his mother, an attempt to capture the essence of face powder and diamonds shimmering in the light. “Had I not smelled her that night, then we wouldn’t be sitting here right now,” says Dove.