House of Gozdawa & Krone: interview with Agata Karolina

House of Gozdawa is a Cape Town based epicene perfume house founded by Agata Karolina. Krone MCC flowed at the recent launch of the perfumery’s brand new travel scent, GHOST, which was held at AKJP Collective.

We catch up with Agata to find out more about this intriguing scent.

What exactly is a travel scent? How should one use it?
A travel scent is a creation of my own. The concept behind it came from my own personal need, namely while travelling or being on the go I don’t always necessarily wanted to be imbedded in perfume that is very rich and complex. I considered spaces such as planes, trains, cars, and general day-to-day movements and how we want to wear a beautiful scent, but personally I’d often rather have something lighter and a little less complex than an extrait de parfum with its full body and deep scent notation.

The Travel Scent range was created to give a moment of fresh air, to lighten the mind and the spirit, to take a bit of home with you when you go, or simply to gently freshen your clothes and luggage without heavy notes. The idea is to use this during the day and still be able to apply your usual scent later without layering too many notes at once, this is why I created it as an eau de cologne, it will only last a few hours versus our usual perfume that will last the entire day.

What inspired you to use the ingredients you do – from personal experience?
Yes, all the work I create stems from personal experience, but these are always shared experiences because the space to connect with others for me is essential. I’m inspired by the human condition and how moments in life impact us and what we connect ourselves to. GHOST was inspired by ‘petrichor’: the scent released after the rain, which is found in the mountains in the wintertime in the Cape. It’s the promise of new things, of life, of the past washed away, and it’s a feeling I believe we all connect to.

Since we make Cap Classique, we have to ask – what do you think are the similarities between perfume-making and winemaking?
There is an enormous similarity between the production of wine and perfume, I often use winemaking as an example to explain the more unknown production of perfume to people. Just like in wine each harvest of our oils has its own specific and unique characteristics, which when working only with naturals as I do plays a very important role in producing each year’s vintage, the notations shift to show different characteristics with each batch, and this makes every year’s vintage special. When I blend each vintage of my perfumes the oils go through a maceration period, similar to that of winemaking, and only once the blend is ready, do I create the final perfume.

What does the name GHOST mean and how do you want it to be perceived?
GHOST refers to the intangible experience of petrichor and its nature of being able to grasp us and throw us into any memory from our lives. It’s a gesture towards things that have come and gone, but stay with us, to memories and to building from them.

Tell us a little about you: and do you have any words of inspiration for people who also have such unusual ambitions and dreams?
Before becoming a perfumer full time I worked as a project initiator and curator in the design field in Europe, Asia and South Africa. I was taught distillation and tincture creation by my mother and grandmother. The use and blending of essential oils was something I was exposed to daily from childhood. For years I’d been tinkering with scent and making my own basic blends, and with time I began to become more serious and educate myself about the production of perfume and start testing the scents. It was a serious choice to make to move from my previous work into this profession.

My best piece of advice for anyone wanting to make a change or follow something different as a career path is: go ahead! Don’t be afraid, don’t look back, be brave and strong but also be real about your capabilities and focus on the parts you’re good at and surround yourself with the amazing people you know can help progress your ambitions and dreams. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and it certainly wasn’t done alone!

GHOST is available at AKJP Collective.

Photography credit: AKJP Collective, House of Godzawa and Francis Marais

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