“Perfume is a driver of emotion.” With these words, Paolo Ternzi introduces the world of Tiziana Terenzi, the Italian perfumer and maker of luxurious scented candles that has been his family business for the past three generations. Paolo, who serves as the brand’s president and the main nose, or creator of scents, and his sister Tiziana, creative director and designer, recently welcomed us into their atelier via the above video to give a behind-the-scenes peek at the creation of their latest scent, the Barneys-exclusive Lunanera.
The focus on telling the story of an emotion through scent comes naturally to both Paolo and Tiziana, as they have been surrounded by fragrant oils, woods, and musks their entire lives. “We grew up playing with candles, perfumes, and molecules the way other kids played soccer in the streets,” Paolo tells us as he and his sister speak from their offices in San Giovanni in Marignano, Italy. “I remember working in the garden with my grandfather, and he would cover my eyes and put a flower under my nose. It was my job to identify it by fragrance alone. It was a game.”
Paolo has since taken that early experience and used it to bring Tiziana Terenzi full circle. His grandfather made his own personal scents from homegrown bergamot and roses before translating those aromas into candles. It’s only under Tiziana and Paolo’s direction that the shift back to creating perfumes and colognes has taken place. “We don’t see a difference between home fragrance and fine fragrance, and I think we’re the first brand to make scents at the same level of quality for both,” Paolo says.
For their latest scent, Lunanera—which means Black Moon—Tiziana and Paolo drew inspiration from a very personal memory of their grandfather. They lovingly recount the story of sitting in the garden of the family’s country home as children, nestled in front of a crackling fire, swathed in an explosion of floral scents from the surrounding roses, ylang ylang, jasmine, and other flowers that their grandmother grew, and seeing the shadowed halo of a new moon rising over the horizon.
“The experience was one that was at once mysterious, astonishing, intriguing, surprising, and alluring. The moon was something that I knew, but at the same time, it became something completely new,” Tiziana says. “That’s the emotion we wanted to capture with the fragrance—the layers and levels of mystery and surprise.”
Paolo adds, “At the same time, it’s like a warm hug. You can picture two kids, seated on the grass outside, looking at this phenomenon, and our grandfather wrapping a strong arm around each of us and saying, ‘Don’t worry. It’s natural and everything is good.’ With his protection, we felt strong. It was exciting, and that’s what we put inside the bottle.” He’s quick to point out that the warmer notes of the fragrance, the heliotrope and Madagascar vanilla, make the scent “perfect for fall and wintertime in New York. It’s like a warm scarf that protects you from the cold around you.”
The concept of the moon has also been translated into the bottle and packaging, thanks to Tiziana’s deft design. The bottle, with its black glass, gold cap, and round shape, is different from any other fragrance in the collection. The top of the cap is emblazoned with the stages of the moon, based on a sketch by Leonardo da Vinci, and a white label completes the design. “For fragrances others in the same series, the bottle became white like the moon, but in this case, it simply had to be black to embrace the idea of Lunanera,” she says. “Then the label takes on the white of the moon because, in the end, the moon is still there just behind its shadow, waiting to shine again.”