Roja Dove (born c. 1957) is a fragrance specialist, fragrance historian, , an affectionate name for a perfumer. Dove was born and raised in Sussex (southeast England), his career in perfumery began in 1981 when he joined the French perfume house Guerlain, working there for 20 years before leaving to set up his own companies RDPR and then Roja Parfums.
Dove's interest in fragrance was sparked at an early age when his mother kissed him goodnight; as she lowered her head to kiss him, he was aware that her fragrance lingered in his room long after she had gone, keeping the image of her cocktail dress and the kiss alive. This interest developed whilst Dove grew up, as a teenager he spent his money purchasing small bottles of scent and was impressed that the tiny containers could contain such an overwhelming effect.
Following his school days Dove became a medical research student at Cambridge. Whilst studying there he celebrated his 21st birthday with a visit to the Guerlain Boutique on the Champs-Elysées. It was after this visit that Dove resolved to pursue a career in perfumery and with Guerlain.
Time at Guerlain
In Dove's enthusiasm for learning more following his trip to the Guerlain boutique, he frequently wrote the classic French perfumery requesting information and experience. Eventually, pestered but impressed by Dove's interest, Robert Guerlain offered him a position. In 1981 Dove was recruited into the Training and Public Relations Department where he began to consolidate a professional understanding for the industry. Dove remained with Guerlain for nearly 20 years; after a number of years he was honoured with the position of Global Ambassador, the first non-Guerlain family member to be given the role, and eventually became known by the industry as the world's sole, Professeur de Parfum.
After two decades with Guerlain, Roja Dove left the house to set up his own public relations firm RDPR Limited, with a head office based in his hometown of Brighton. Specialising in luxury Beauty, Lifestyle, and Perfume, RDPR have represented and worked with a wide variety of internationally acclaimed companies including Baccarat, OPI Nail Lacquer, Clive Christian, and Houbigant.
The Roja Dove Haute Parfumerie
In 2004 the Roja Dove Haute Parfumerie opened on the fifth floor of Harrods in conjunction with Urban Retreat. The concept behind the project is a ‘store within a store’ providing a luxurious environment for which to experience and discover a range of fragrances, each chosen by Dove. Women who are looking for a more refined perfume are given the opportunity to arrange a consultation, either with Roja himself or one of his personally trained consultants, to be guided to their signature fragrance.
“Physically, it is going to be a sensual haven… Silks and satins, lots of glass, mirror and crystal, as well as the black lacquer, give the salon the air of an exotic boudoir”
Since it opened in 2004 the Haute Parfumerie has stocked scents from many famous and unfamiliar brands including: Tom Ford, Caron, Lalique, Xerjoff, Dior, Atelier Flou, Clive Christian, and Grossmith etc.
In addition to these brands Dove decided to experiment. Having received requests from customers to smell ‘Roja Dove’ creations, the perfumer resolved to try something different. Previously, in 2002, Dove joined names like Manolo Blahnik in donating prizes for the annual Terrence Higgins Trust fundraiser, the perfumer created a bespoke scent for the highest bidder contained within a Baccarat crystal presentation bottle. In 2005, Dove drew inspiration from this event and created a range of Semi-Bespoke fragrances for customers of the Haute Parfumerie to purchase; however these scents come without bottles, names, and with only enough liquid to make 50 of each.
"A sensory haven of fragrance; it is the most inspiring, distinctive and lavish perfumery anywhere. Roja Dove is the fragrance connoisseur’s connoisseur. Every item is selected by Roja himself; they are fragrances that he believes to be innovative, directional and of true quality" Tom Ford
Independent fragrance expert, public speaker and collaborator
Roja Dove has collaborated with a wide variety of companies, institutions, and individuals over many years. Within the perfume industry itself Dove has been actively involved with The Fragrance Foundation, The Jasmine Awards, and The Cosmetics Perfumer Retailers Association, all of which are organisations focused on recognising talent and great contributions to the industry.
As an independent expert Dove has been called upon by, and commissioned to write for a range of global titles including Vogue, The Times, Vanity Fair, and Wallpaper. These assignments vary in focus discussing anything that could possibly relate to perfume, for instance celebrity fragrances, classic favorites, or even the ‘Smells of London’.
As an academic Roja Dove has also given lectures and spoken at charity events for The Barbican, The Science Museum, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. In 2010 Dove worked closely with the Victoria and Albert Museum for their exhibition Diaghilev and the Golden Age of the Ballets Russes, which ran from 25 September 2010 to 9 January 2011, where he created an accompanying fragrance named ‘Diaghilev’ and gave an evening lecture upon 1920s Parisian society and perfume.
With regards to new initiatives, in 2007 Dove teamed up with BA Highlife Shop, the British Airways onboard retail publication for duty-free products, as their regular fragrance expert. Then in 2009 Dove began to work with World Duty Free to create an online resource to help the user discover their ideal scent; www.discoverfragrance.com. Shortly after Dove collaborated with The Macallan Scottish whiskey house where the perfumer created a new way of experiencing whiskey; using an odour profiling technique referred to now as The Macallan Aroma Box.
List of collaborations
- 2005, Hardy Amies, Hardy Amies
- 2006, Kelly Hoppen Candle
- 2009, 6, Pierre de Velay
- 2009, 11, Pierre de Velay
- 2009, 23, Pierre de Velay
- 2010, Blessings, Belinda Brown
- 2010, M, Puredistance
- 2010, Buzz, The Sun
- 2010, Diaghilev, The Victoria and Albert Museum
- 2011, Four Seasons Amenities, Four Seasons Park Lane London
Following on from his bespoke fragrance experience Dove decided to present his own fragrance range. Initially referred to as ‘The Trilogy’, Dove created a scent for each female fragrance family; Oriental, Chypre, and Floral, entitled ‘Enslaved, Unspoken, and Scandal’ accordingly.
In 2011 the existing Roja Dove line becomes Roja Parfums. Simultaneously, following 2 years of research, the first Roja Parfums candle 'Neroli' was released, to be followed up in the future by additional scents. Furthermore, the same year Roja Parfums is introduced to the Black Hall Perfumery in Harrods, alongside fragrance houses such as Chanel.
Roja Dove’s reputation is based upon his principle of using the finest quality ingredients; the perfumer travels the world to achieve this as well as relying on trusted locations such as Grasse in the South of France.
- Helen Greenwood (December 7, 2010). "Roja Dove is making sense of scents". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2011-01-01.
- Maggie Davis (February 13, 2008). "Smells of London". Time Out London. Retrieved 2011-01-01.
- Van Der Post, Lucia (September 2004). "Genius With A Bottle". Financial Times, How To Spend It.
- Schofield, Diane. "Roja Dove Interview". Sniffapalooza Magazine. Retrieved 01/04/2011.
- Ford, Tom. http://www.rojadove.com/#rdhp. Missing or empty
- Davis, Maggie (February 13, 2008). "Smells of London".
- "The Seduction of Smell". The Barbican Website.
- Pearce, Antonia. "Roja Dove". The Luxury Channel. Retrieved 15/11/10.
- "The Macallan with Roja Dove". www.notcot.com. Retrieved 01/04/2011.
- McCurrach, Ian (03/09/2006). "Roja Dove's Aromatic Adventures". The Independent.