Michelyn Camen is the Editor-in-Chief, Publisher, and Art Director of ÇaFleureBon, the number one niche, independent and natural fragrance destination in the world and a top five global fragrance site. ÇaFleureBon publishes original content on all aspects of perfumery 365 days a year, affording readers an insider view into the world of fragrance. Michelyn leads a team of sixteen contributors and editors from seven countries. The team of journalists at ÇaFleureBon have been the recipients of editorial excellence awards including Fragrance Foundation USA and the Perfumed Plumes.
ÇaFleureBon posts perfume reviews, coverage of international beauty and scent events, news within the fragrance industry, educational information on raw materials and ingredients, workshops, as well as articles on the roles of creative directors, artisans and retailers in the fragrance ecosystem. She is well known for her in-depth and intimate interviews with independent, emerging and established perfumers and influencers., as well as shining a spotlight on rising perfumers, emerging brands and creative directors.
What question do you get asked most often?
How do you pronounce the name of the site? Sah-fleure-bon. It is a French term with a dual meaning; this smells good and this is a good idea.
Do you wear perfume every day?
The answer might surprise you. Until 2020, no. I test approximately 500 fragrances a year, so I need a “clean skin canvas”. But I wore lipstick every day. As of COVID-19, I do wear fragrance in the morning and in the evening to test for anosmia.
What are your first scent memories?
I grew up in a 2-bedroom basement apartment in Brooklyn, N.Y. My dad was very young when I was born and worked two jobs to put himself through college and support a family. His day job was selling fruits at a local grocery. There was always fresh produce in our lives… I remember the scent, the taste of peaches, plums and cherries. Outside, there was the intoxicating perfume of linden and lilacs during the summer, that bloomed seemingly out of concrete.
What was the first fragrance you bought?
Rive Gauche by Michael Hy in the 1970s. I bought it because I liked the way it smelled on my best friend. The first “independent” perfume I purchased was at Henri Bendel, when it was located on 57th Street (it subsequently moved to Fifth Avenue then permanently closed January 19, 2019). The scent was from master perfumer, Jean Laporte for L’Artisan Parfumeur and was named Pamplemousse. It has been discontinued, but I still have the bottle and a trace of the scent remains.
What does fragrance mean to you?
Permit me to answer your question from a different perspective. What fragrance DOESN’T mean to me. It doesn’t mean endless flankers of best sellers; it doesn’t mean launch upon launch of new collections. Fragrance is a story. It is the perfumer’s story first and then if it suits you, it becomes yours. We each have a scent print as unique as a snowflake. So, what is heaven on one person, might be a scrubber on another. (re: Rive Gauche which smelled great on my friend).
How did you discover Le Jardin Retrouvé?
Michel Gutsatz and his wife Clara Feder sent me samples in 2016; I believe we were among the first to review the inaugural collection. I asked Aaron Potterman, who was a Senior Contributor at that time to review the first collection, which he loved. My favourite was called Black. I believe it is now named Oriental Sans Souci.
What do you think the fragrance industry needs in the future?
More transparency, more diversity and more consumer education. And please credit the authors of the fragrances instead of hiding behind a perfume organ.
What’s next for ÇaFleureBon?
ÇaFleureBon’s tenth anniversary was on March 22, 2020 in the midst of the Pandemic. While we don’t know what the future will bring, we hope to continue to bring our readers and viewers innovative writing and video content each day. Above all, always be true to our mission statement: Explore all aspects of olfaction through an artistic lens.
The feature photo is Michelyn at Exsence 2019, holding DSH Perfumes Colorado by Dawn Spencer Hurwitz (which went on to win an art and olfaction award ) photo credit Jeffrey Paul.
Beautiful interview! And indeed Ça Fleure Bon! What a wonderful fragrant idea! 365 stories about perfume a year, for more than 10 years! I am so honored and happy to be part of the project and to see such a diverse and wonderful group of people gathered around the love for fragrance, day after day. Congratulations, Michelyn ❤︎
Thank you so much Nicoleta! I will transmit to Michelyn!