interview by Whitney Mercurio //
photography by Michael Donnelly//
I met Chad Murawczyk, the owner of SoHo’s MiN New York, the luxury apothecary and atelier on Crosby St., at a friend’s loft party in July. After about a minute of talking with him about his niche business of exclusive rare and hard-to-find fragrances and cool comprehensive selection of “dear old things”, I realized he was someone who understood people like me who function from the emotional side of their brain, who cre-ate and register “moments” through smell, sound, touch and whose personal litmus tests are good-old visceral reactions when choosing a scent, or anything for that matter. His shop on Crosby St. is so beautiful to look at and exist in, let alone breathe in. He has managed to create an envi-ronment which embodies the MiN concept of “the art of living”. A genuine and uncontrived experience for those who appreciate luxury.
- Do you create scents based on your life’s expe-riences? How do you formulate them? I am inspired by so many things in this world... memories, places, people... The moments that are precious, once captured, remain with us forever. I may draw inspiration from a certain raw material that inspires me. I feel that fragrance should have a confident sig-nature.
- Do you feel that scents are chosen by process of involuntary and subtle emotional responses? Our memories, experiences and emotions are all triggered by the scents we are exposed to. Before we are even able to register the scent and categorize it, it has already activated the limbic system, triggering more deep-seated emotional responses. So, yes!
- We have all had times where a smell triggers the memory of a moment or time in our life. Can you speak to any of yours? I have many great memories that I share with my family and loved ones. One was from years back when I was in Sinai by the Red Sea. We did a lot of diving but one of the strongest memories I have from that trip was night diving. It was an absolutely lunatic idea and honestly, that’s what made it even more appealing to me! It was a hot dry night and even by the sea you can smell the dry desert air with a smoking fire lingering through it. Under a canopy of stars, it was one of those nights when you look up at the sky and you get al-most dizzy from the beauty of it, the feeling of being alive and possibilities ahead of you. The scent that is very vivid in my mind is the combination of that dry desert air with the sea saltiness that you can almost taste when you breathe in.
- What role does each person’s individual chem-istry play in an applied scent and does it fade into different notes after it is applied? Each person’s individual chemistry will react with the fragrance in slightly different ways, that is the beauty of it all. You are creating some-thing that will evolve into all these different directions, each one interesting in its own way. Perfumes are like potions! It is alchemy.
- How do you orchestrate the top, mid and base notes of a fragrance? The process of perfume creation depends on the inspiration behind it. A niche perfume tend to have a well-de-signed and orchestrated journey. Molecular chemistry kicks into gear utilizing ingredi-ents as instruments in a composed sympho-ny with the intention that the result is a mas-terpiece that magically captures a moment of time or emotion.
- Does the mass luxury fragrance market suffer because it must appeal to such a wide demo-graphic in order to survive? It is the mission of the mass market to please the public, cut cost, and round out all the edges. At the mass luxury level, a good portion of the pro-cess is risk reduction finding opportunities to increase shareholder value. That’s why most beauty products, including designer and celebrity perfumes, lead with money sunk into marketing campaigns, endorse-ments, packaging, and born essentially out of focus groups.
Once one acquires a more distinctive point of view in personal style and develops a more refined taste in consumption, you be-come curious about our world and the eyes open to a universe of wondrous indulgenc-es. Individuality is the key and exploration is endless. It’s no different than fashion, art, food, wine, and spirits. Timeless things, made with love by hand, born out of inspi-rations only inspire. It’s a bit like falling into a rabbit hole into wonderland... The world that I live in is a place of creativity. The im-possibility of things is where the air is most crisp. Breathe in, find the edge, take a small step back to capture it in my mind and then go to work and build it.