MCMC Fragrances

Anne McClain

Anne McClain

When did you discover your passion for perfume?
It wasn’t until after college, living and working in New York, that perfume became an interest.  I saw an ad for a perfume class that perked my interest and took it, almost randomly.  Little did I know my life would change that evening!  Just as soon as I saw and smelled all the oils from the flowers and plants I was hooked.  From there I was self-taught for a few years before I decided to apply to the Grasse Institute of Perfumery’s formal training program in southern France.

Tell us how the idea for The Stories Collection came about.
The idea for The Stories Collection was around in various forms even before I started pursuing perfumery.  In college I studied photography, traveling a lot, and was inspired to somehow capture those fleeting and ethereal moments in some form.  Once I discovered perfume, I realized that memory was much easier to capture and communicate in scent.  All of the stories are real memories or people from my life that have become romanticized and blurred and now translated into plants and their scents.

What in your opinion is the world’s most iconic perfume? And the most overrated?
The world’s most iconic perfume is Chanel No 5.  There’s an allure and a history to it that’s backed up by the powerful smell, the bottle, and of course the brand.  There’s so much that goes into a perception of a perfume.  In a way I think Chanel No 5 is also the most overrated in that sense, at least for today’s audience.  It’s history and marketing gives it the glamour, but the scent is not really for today’s woman

What was your first personal scent?
Yikes – my first personal scent was Dewberry from the Body Shop.  Once I really became aware of perfume, my first personal scent was Jasmine 17 by Le Labo.

Tell us about Kept, your newest scent.
For the most part, my scents are not gender specific.  With Kept, I really wanted to celebrate women and make a scent that was ultra feminine, but in a powerful way.  There’s a feeling I love of really connecting with oneself.  I was thinking of the term “a kept woman,” but keeping yourself.  I got a tattoo of an antique key a few years ago kind of as my own symbolism of that and the scent is inspired by this same notion.  It’s dark red roses with notes of tea, leather and clove.

You currently offer perfume classes. Are you going to continue those? Tell us a little bit about the program.
Perfume classes are a very important part of my practice.  When I was just getting into perfume, I searched all over for classes and they are so hard to come by.  Perfume is really done behind closed doors.  Part of the reason is to keep up the secrecy and allure, and part of the reason is because there are so few people doing it that are not in one of the large corporations. I taught a series of classes at Le Labo last year, then a series in Fort Greene, and I’m currently teaching private classes in my own studio. I’d like to find a space in the next year or two that can be part retail part workshop space, as well as add a learning section to my website for people who are not in the area and can’t make it to a class in person.

What’s next for you?
I have two more scents coming up in The Stories Collection, and then that’s it for that collection for now.  I am collaborating with the jewelry designer Katrina LaPenne on some botanical-based lockets with solid perfume which we’ll debut this Spring.  As for new products, I want to feel it out and see what I’m inspired to do next.  A lot of people have asked me about candles, so that’s an option.  I myself would love to take a little break and travel maybe out west and learn how to make incense.