Perfumer Alberto Morillas on creating a garden of fragrances with Alessandro Michele for Gucci

Gucci: The Alchemists Garden Fragrance 2019
(Image credit: gucci)

For perfumer Alberto Morillas, fragrance is ‘medicine for the soul’. Fitting, then, than his new family of creations for Gucci, formed in close partnership with creative director Alessandro Michele, appear as if grown from an alchemist's medicine garden. Available today, each of the 14 bottles is clad in gold-guilded petals inspired by memories of Michele's mother's bathroom tiles. Inside, molecularly advanced, naturally produced elixirs balm the senses like herbal tonic.

Morillas speaks about fragrance as a gardener speaks of roses. He compares the diverse collection to ‘a large bunch of flowers’, and suggests we close our eyes before breathing it in. Each scent – which can be layered together, or worn alone – is a single stem, that doubles, triples, to create a complex spray.

Play with the scent to find your favourite, as an alchemist would work to find the gold formula

The gender-neutral collection comprises seven eau de parfum, three acque profumate, three oils and a candle, fine enough to be combined together, or built throughout the day. ‘The oils and acque profumate create individual statements,’ Morillas explains. ‘Personalise your beloved scent with an oil or a floral water to build a unique sillage. Just play with the scent to find your favourite, as an alchemist would work to find the gold formula.’

Gucci The Voice of the Snake fragrance, 2019

(Image credit: gucci)

A stand-out is the only black bottle in the otherwise white, blue and green collection. Evocatively named ‘The Voice of the Snake’ (pictured above) is mixed around the note of oud – highly prized for its singular, aphrodisiac aroma. Patchouli, leather and saffron complete the woody nose, intended – with some imagination – to evoke the scent of a snake weaving through a mystical forest.

Each bottle design reflects this sense of whimsy, without tipping into theatrics. The design is inspired by the bottles found on wooden shelves of vintage apothecaries, curious pharmacy jars and the first perfumery containers. Think: eccentric greenhouse filled with home-handled remedies on the fringe of a walled Roma garden.

Morillas, who showed each new development of the collection to Michele to be meticulously vetted, compares the creative process to that of old perfumery experts – unbiased by gender specificity, devoted only to creating the purest, most emotion-driven scent. ‘Alessandro shares my passion for fragrance’, Morillas explains. ‘He is addicted to perfume, and knows how to use it. We worked on this collection iteratively, and it's dear to us both.’ 


The Alchemists Garden, available now. For more information, visit the Gucci website

Elly Parsons is the Digital Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees and its social platforms. She has been with the brand since 2015 in various roles, spending time as digital writer – specialising in art, technology and contemporary culture – and as deputy digital editor. She was shortlisted for a PPA Award in 2017, has written extensively for many publications, and has contributed to three books. She is a guest lecturer in digital journalism at Goldsmiths University, London, where she also holds a masters degree in creative writing. Now, her main areas of expertise include content strategy, audience engagement, and social media.