Boutique fragrances for a truly sensory experience

Zielinski & Rozen Parfumerie is not to be sniffed at.

Erez and Lea Rozen: ‘If you use smell right, it is like wearing your personality.’ (photo credit: ROTEM KNAAN)
Erez and Lea Rozen: ‘If you use smell right, it is like wearing your personality.’
(photo credit: ROTEM KNAAN)
Smell is a powerful sense, summoning long-forgot- ten memories – be it of a grandmother’s kitchen, the onset of spring, or an old love. It provokes emotional reactions and first-impression judgments, and can in- fluence a certain state of mind. The power of scent has been used and revered by royalty for centuries; Napoleon was rumored to go through 60 bottles of perfume each month, while Louis XV scented each room individually in his spectacular Palace of Versailles. It’s no surprise, therefore, that the fragrance industry is pre- dicted to be worth a cool $38.8 billion by 2017. While perfume is considered a luxury item, it is a relatively affordable one, even fragrances produced by the most exclusive names in fashion. Why buy Gucci, however, when you can tailor-make a per - fume perfectly suited to you? Two of Tel Aviv’s most up-and- coming neighborhoods, Neveh Tzedek and Jaffa, are home to boutique perfumeries, with a chic and savvy businessman at the helm. Erez Rozen of Zielinski & Rozen Parfumerie has always had an affinity with scents and lotions, religiously applying each, even during his military service. After developing various cosmetics companies through- out Eastern Europe, Rozen de- cided to downscale from his 27 branches, and move back to Is- rael to focus on a more personal, boutique-style business where he could be involved in the day- to-day happenings. Zielinski & Rozen Parfumerie has branches in Jaffa, Neveh Tzedek and Eilat, with no plans to expand further. Rozen splits his time between each, and is content with the in- timacy of a small business where he “can be an artist.”
Meeting at his branch in Neveh Tzedek, Rozen arrives a little late, smiling widely and striding up the steps to unlock the front door of his store. The space is charming, stacked with uniform la- beled bottles of various shapes and sizes, with a nod to an apothe- cary’s shop of old. It quickly becomes evi- dent that Rozen is not only the brains behind his brand, but the face of it, too. He is dressed to complement the shop’s shabby-chic de- cor, in tight, all-black garments adorned with zips, and carefully styled sleek black hair, which he regularly tosses back. Behind his crafted dandy appearance, Rozen is obvious- ly a sharp businessman with a well-executed vision. Sharp, yet not harsh, he reveals himself to be a man ruled strongly by emotion, indicated by his “business partner,” Zielinski, his mater - nal grandfather who was involved in the fragrance industry al- most a century ago. Though Z&R’s pre-prepared per - fumes, soaps and creams are delightful, their stand-out service is the personal fragrance consultation, where one can cu- rate and design their own scents, determined by their taste and characteristics. “Smell is something that, if you use it right, is like wear - ing your personality,” believes Rozen, who is personally respon- sible for guiding his customers when creating their own unique fragrances, determined by who they are or who they wish to be. In fact, he is so dedicated to his clientele that Rozen has forgone his own perfume, ex- plaining that no fragrance can be detected against a parfum- erie backdrop. He simply smells like the last person he consulted with, and appears content in the knowledge. To design a scent, Rozen chats with each customer for between 30 minutes and an hour, to be- come familiar with them and gain a sense of how to build their story with a mixture of fra- grances. It’s a “gentle” process, which draws upon relationship status, if one is an introvert or an extrovert, and how they tend to spend their time. Once a general picture has been de- termined, Rozen invites his customers to smell and evaluate various picks, sourced both lo- cally and globally. “There are people who collect stamps. I collect ingredients,” says Rozen with a grin. Each customer must pick top notes (the first scents that ap- pear with a spritz of perfume, and the fastest to evaporate from the skin, usually strange or spicy fragrances to create in- terest), middle or heart notes (pleasant scents, such as florals, which evaporate slowly from the skin and are considered the essence of any perfume), and base notes (usually composed of woody or musky scents which stick stubbornly to the skin). The curation process of- ten triggers “emotional reactions... [it is] very in- timate.” Rozen is a gifted sto- ryteller, and relays some of his most memorable interactions with just a touch of the dramatic. One couple visited him to design a perfume for the wife, who returned to the shop a few months later totally trans- formed – her hair was styled and dyed, her clothes and gait were altered. She proceeded to slam her bottle of perfume down on the counter, inform- ing Rozen that she and her hus- band were to be divorced, and to “take away this boring thing and make it alive.”
Another lady of around 70, dressed to the nines, who had arrived in Israel from Russia in the 1990s, visited Rozen to curate a fragrance. During the testing stage, she began to cry after inhaling a certain scent, her heavily applied mascara running down her face in black streaks, “making it more dramatic.” She explained that until the age of 17, she had lived in a remote village that would not have been featured on any map, which she had not physically or mentally returned to since the day she left, until that moment when a certain scent evoked memo- ries of a boyfriend she had had there.
“Now he is in front of me, I see him now,” she tearfully ex- plained to Rozen. Rozen is only interested in the emotional side of perfum- ery, dismissing any questions regarding the science behind it with a flick of the wrist and a proclamation of “I’m not an- alyzing it, I’m experiencing it.” The link between our sense of smell and emotions is, how - ever, fascinating. Smells are processed by the brain close to a structure called the amygdala, which is vital in expressing and experiencing emotion, hence often triggering an immediate emotional response. •
If you choose to wear a bou- tique scent, it is recommended to set up a consultation at Zielinski & Rozen and create a unique per - fume. The process feels indulgent, and makes for a wonderful gift, although bookings should ideally be made a week in advance. Con- tact Lea, Z&R’s general manager, at 054-254-9588 for details.