Volkswagen and DDB Brussels discover the unspoilt nature of the Ardennes, with artisan perfumer Romain Pantoustier.

The final episode of ‘Off track’ transforms emotions into perfumes.

Today, DDB Brussels launches its sixth and final episode of ‘Off track’, the Volkswagen documentary series that looks at passionate people who have turned their backs on the mainstream and now go their own way. In this episode, artisan perfumer Romain Pantoustier took us to Torgny en Gaume and to the unspoilt nature around Han-Sur-Lesse to find inspiration.

This sixth ‘Off track’ story starts at dawn, near the summit of the Citadel of Namur. Romain takes us down a pathway to the old town. Having worked for 13 years in one of the major perfume houses, he now runs NeZ ZeN, an artisan perfumery where he develops his own perfume creations in total freedom.

Unlimited creative possibilities

Romain works with roughly 160 (mainly) natural ingredients. By combining, dosing and balancing these, he can create a fragrance palette that contains tens of thousands of scents. A finely developed sense of smell is his most important instrument. As Romain says: “If I smell a scent, I divide it into primary scents so that I know all the different components. Perhaps a bit like a musician who can analyse a Beethoven symphony, note by note.”

Emotions to be found in nature

Romain is inspired by the memories of his childhood in Provence, France but also by walking in the unspoilt nature of the Gaume and Han-Sur-Lesse. This is especially the case at sunrise … it’s the time when nature awakens and the dewy herbs release their first aromas. To Romain, the scent of pine trees, bark, earth and damp rocks evoke strong emotions. Emotions that he patiently brings back to life in his studio by juggling with ingredients, doses and concentrations. Like a true magician.