Robert Gerstner

Photo: Brad Paris

What does Aedes de Venustas mean?
Temple of Beauty. We carry rare perfumes from all over the world, so we wanted a name in Latin, the mother of all languages.

What do you wear?
Right now I love Costes. It’s a Paris hotel that my co-owner Karl and I are obsessed with. I’ve taken it a step further, and I’m wearing the room spray.

What’s your least favorite perfume note?
Oud. It’s a Saudi Arabian fungus; they bury it in terra-cotta urns, dig them up, and extract from it. It’s disgusting.

What’s your application technique?
After a shower, I layer on the pulse points: ankles, behind the knees, close to the pubic hair, chest, neck, wrists, hair.

How did you get into fragrance?
Ever since puberty, we were suckers for grooming. Other guys were into sports; we were into skin and body care.

What’s your rarest perfume?
Soon we will sell Escentric Molecules. It has an unprecedented 65 percent concentration. Most fragrances are around 20 percent. They say that it is to perfume what Bauhaus is to Baroque. The smell will be so intense, it’s almost pheromonic. Oh, that sounds good.

Do you go to workshops to educate your nose?
I go to the epicenter of fragrance—Grasse, in France. Have you read Perfume, by Patrick Süskind?

It’s my favorite book. It’s about a serial killer with an extraordinary olfactory sense. He ends up in Grasse, following a girl because he can smell she is a virgin.

Robert Gerstner