(Scent Stories)

Lev Glazman Owns 500 Fragrances, But Favors This One The Most

It reminds him of his first love.

TZR/ Lev Glazman
lev glazman founder of the maker
Scent Stories
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Every scent evokes an emotion. In Scent Stories, TZR asks tastemakers, celebrities, and industry insiders to share the stories behind the smells of their past and present.

“Antoine is here. He just got back from Paris, and he says he loves you." Lev Glazman still remembers those exact words to this day, decades after first hearing them whispered through a window to his mother on a cold winter’s morning in St. Petersburg. As it turns out, Antoine was a code word for a fragrance smuggler who had arrived with his mother’s favorite perfume from Paris — Climat by Lancôme — a forbidden luxury at the time in the Iron Curtain-bound Soviet Union. “He gives us the box and my mom pays him one hundred and thirty rubles — a month's salary,” he recounts. As his mother feverishly opened the box and applied the fragrance to her pulse points, six-year-old Lev witnessed her transform — and so, in turn, did he. “That’s the moment I found that fragrance has such an amazing power to transform you, and take you to somewhere else,” he says.

After that clandestine experience, Glazman embarked on a long love affair with fragrance. His first brand co-founded with partner Alina Roytberg, Fresh, infused now-iconic scents through its beloved skin care and makeup — the smell of fresh cucumber in the brand’s Soy Face Cleanser, sugared citrus in the coveted Sugar Lip Treatment. His next venture with Roytberg, The Maker, allowed him to bring his passion for design to life in the form of a boutique hotel in New York’s Hudson Valley, the atmosphere both sensually resplendent and intoxicatingly cozy all at once.

A line of sleek, emotion-driven fragrances soon followed — a natural extension of The Maker brand and Glazman’s own lifelong passion for the power of scent. The Maker fragrance collection, which just launched at Sephora, features six scents created by Glazman that tell stories based on experiences he envisions playing out at the namesake hotel it’s named after. (Naked, for example, is a carnal-tinged skin scent inspired by the velvety sheets left behind after a lover’s romp in one of the hotel’s bespoke rooms.)

Ahead, Glazman shares the Scent Stories that make up his life — and the fragrances he can’t forget.

The Smell Of Childhood

“I was a little kid living in Russia in the 1960s. At the time, nothing penetrated through the walls of Russia, and people couldn't get their hands on anything except for whatever was available in Russia — and there was not much. There were two fragrances available: Red Moscow, one for women and one for men. And it smelled truly horrible. The problem with that was that this was the only fragrance that people were wearing. And everybody smelled the same. No matter where you would go, it could be in a train, theater, or a family gathering, everybody wore the same fragrance.”

The Smell Of Transformation

“Something so magical happened the moment my mother sprayed Climat by Lancôme. I had never smelled anything like this in my life. The whole composition was so different from anything I smelled. It immediately transformed me. But what I also saw was that my mother was completely transformed. I could see it on her face; I mean, there were tears in her eyes. There was something so special in that moment. Every time I smelled Climat, I would always remember that moment. And every time I would be walking into the apartment and my mom would not be there, I [still] would smell the fragrance, and it would put a smile on my face.”

The Smell Of Change

“We left Russia three years later and moved to Israel. Once I was old enough, I started going to the department store and smelling the fragrances. That was my big hobby. I started learning about the big perfumers and dreaming about being part of it. I very quickly discovered the House of Guerlain. I remember even when we were all the way to Israel via Vienna, we were in Duty Free and I spent over three hours around the counter smelling all these fragrances — that’s where I discovered Vetiver by Guerlain. There was no way I could afford to buy it at the time, but when I turned 15 years old and I was doing some odd jobs outside of school, that's the first thing that I bought for myself.

And it was my signature smell for a long time. People were commenting about it all the time and started remembering the fragrance. But I could not stay loyal to fragrance for too long because I found that fragrances are not going to be monogamous.

I've collected a lot of fragrances over the years — I have over 500. We have the Fragrance Library in The Maker, where we feature a collection of fragrances which I found to be very unique that I’ve collected around the world. But Vetiver by Guerlain — I need to always have it in my presence.”

The Smell Of Love

Givenchy Gentleman. It came out in the 1970s and represents a certain era, with a beautiful patchouli, sandalwood, and amber in it — and it had some creaminess, but also a little bit of a citrus. My first time falling in love with a person, that person was wearing that fragrance. Every time when I was walking away from our interaction, I would have that smell on my lips or on my nose and on my clothes, and it's just would lift me up.”

The Smell Of Connection

The Maker Fire. It's a gourmand fragrance and has a beautiful Tahitian vanilla, juniper berry, and tobacco. As I was designing The Maker’s lounge, which was the old carriage house, I started imagining this fragrance. As I was designing this fragrance, I was replaying this moment in my life with a person — we were sitting in front of the fireplace and Billie Holiday was playing in the background, we were having cocktails, we existed just sort of in the moment for each other.”

The Smell Of Freedom

The Maker Libertine was inspired by when you experience the moment of complete liberation — when you really don't care about what people think about you, your mind is so clear, you want to do what you want to do. When I was creating this fragrance, I was creating it with more of a citrus in mind, because it had to have some sort of more crystallized type of character, so it’s this beautiful citrus that's anchored with an amazing cypress and beautiful cedar —like whole dried leaves.”

The Smell Of Calm

“The Spiritus Candle from The Maker has this beautiful white sandalwood in it and a note of leather. It feels very rich and feels expensive. When you walk into The Maker, this is what you smell. So this candle, every time I light it, puts me in this great mindset — a sort of a sensuality. When I light it, I feel like I want to put it on in my house and be by myself. I'm thinking I want to continue and I want to live my life sensually, but also, I want to have that feeling of calmness and comfort. So that's the candle that I really love for that.”