Since launching Capsule Parfumerie in 2012, Linda Sivrican has created eight fragrance brands and opened her own perfume shop. From her inaugural natural Fiele Fragrances to her Litoralle Aromatica collection, each bottle tells a sensory story. Her namesake Capsule series pays homage to LA neighborhoods and features “Troupe” (for the night owls of North Hollywood, with notes of neroli and tequila blanco) and “Squad” (a tribute to Koreatown with citrus-infused soju and pink peppercorns). She won the 2020 Art and Olfaction Awards, Artisan Category for NIMBIS from her future-forward and unconventional Parallax collection. That conceptual scent contains notes of blue iris, vibrating violin strings and violet ozone rays, and aims to capture the scent of falling meteors.
Sivrican has collaborated with designers, artists and chefs, creating both limited edition and bespoke fragrances. Over almost a decade, she has become known for creating fragrances that bend, question and defy categorization—from natural and romantic to synthetic and mystical, and everything between and beyond.
Sivrican’s under-the-radar maneuvering and experimenting preserves plenty of mystery surrounding the brand. She (along with her business partner and husband, Mike) recently decided to share the sensory world under one umbrella, renaming their perfume shop—once called Orris—Capsule Parfumerie in order to spotlight all their products in one place.
Sivrican’s connection to perfume began at an early age. “The women in my family are very elegant. They always smell of beautiful perfume,” she tells us. “Since I was little, I always had an obsession with fragrance. Even in elementary school, I would give perfumes as presents, but I never had an idea that it was a career or occupation. I just thought someone magically made perfume. I have also always loved astronomy and chemistry. Perfumery is creative art and a little bit of science.” Sivrican also fondly remembers many delicious aromas emanating from her family’s kitchen, courtesy of her mother’s talent for cooking. “And in the backyard where I grew up, a neighbor had a horse,” she adds. “So some of my favorite scents still today are hay and animalic scents.”
The original inspiration for her career in perfume stems from when her son, at three years old, was in an accident and suffered a brain injury. Sivrican searched for something to help him. Eventually, she turned to aromatherapy. This exploration soon led to her making her first collection, Fiele Fragrances, made with natural ingredients. The ideas began to flow, leading to many more fragrances. Sivrican decided to release each as micro brands, to stay independent and to grow slowly. “It is not a brand you can mass produce in any way,” she says. “I have to keep it small-batch and artisan.”
In general, she has gravitated to natural ingredients more than synthetic molecules, but she has also challenged herself to learn how synthetics work in order to further understand her craft. Parallax is the result. “I prepared myself mentally,” she says. “Some of these materials are very aggressive and not really forgiving at all. If you overdose, you are done. I come up with an idea and then find the ingredients to tell that story.”
For the award-winning yet esoteric concept behind NIMBIS (to capture the scent of falling meteors), Sivrican combined classic notes with futuristic ones. “What will our world look like 30 to 50 years from now, when we have depleted all of our natural resources? What is left is synthetic,” she explains. “I feel good about it because the materials I use are sustainable. It is not meant to be dystopian in any way. We are not depleting natural resources. It’s a hybrid of what we have now and what is going to be if we fast-forward a few decades.”
Sivrican describes herself as an impatient creative person. “If I can’t get it right the first three trials, I just toss it. It’s not worth getting a headache over. Let’s move on,” she says. “With NIMBIS, I played with five new materials that I had never ever played with before. That makes it interesting because you are not sure how it will react. You have no history. When you make a fragrance, you have to wait a few weeks to see how it marries together and how it is going to perform. The thing about synthetics and that it is pretty linear and you know right away.”
Though she finds science and space inspiring, she also looks to music, nature and art—be it the curves of a Jean Arp or Isamu Noguchi sculpture or lines of a Christiane Spangsberg drawing. “It helps me imagine how a fragrance can take you on a journey through curves and grooves,” she says. “Nature is very difficult to replicate. It has such a complexity to it. That’s where fragrance becomes art and fantasy.”
This love of art led Sivrican to a collaboration with artist Cassi Namoda. When the painter was about to have her first solo exhibit at the Francois Ghebaly Gallery in downtown LA, she reached out to Sivrican. Namoda had an idea to bring another dimension to her paintings with scent. “She told me she likes oud, which is a deep mysterious agarwood,” says Sivrican. “I made a tropical woody floral fragrance. I took the time to learn about how her ancestors owned a tea plantation. She’s from Mozambique. I used a lot of materials from South Africa and Madagascar and celebrated the terroir of her homeland.” Namoda hand-painted a red chair on the label of each bottle.
For chef Jordan Kahn at LA’s Vespertine, the idea to work together came to Kahn while he was wearing her Juniperus scent. He gave the perfumer some thematic ideas, but complete creative freedom. He tells us, “When we discussed the initial Vespertine scent, I told Linda that the concept of the fragrance was based on aether, the air above the clouds. Without hesitation, she proceeded to blend some alchemic mixture of massoia bark, camelia sinesis, agar wood, carrot blossom, perilla, rice and green tea, and handed it to me a few days later.” He remembers opening the vial, shaking his head in disbelief and declaring it perfect.
Sivrican’s memory of the Vespertine scent begins with the first time she walked into the restaurant’s Eric Owen Moss building. “There was an energy and vibration about the building that felt feminine to me,” she says. But because the fragrance was for a restaurant, she wanted to incorporate food notes too. “I used ingredients that make you feel hungry and also calm you down so that you can experience everything,” she explains. “I made it to take you on a journey with aromatherapy with food notes.”
During the pandemic, she started her Fiele Fraiche line with new hand sanitizer and oils, and has been developing deodorant and hair products. Next up will be a series of cologne and grooming items intended for men. “Men are really open to not just the classical scents of vetiver and sandalwood and can explore more traditionally feminine notes,” she says. “It will be luscious and rich and sensuous, but not feel heavy or traditional or classic.”
Capsule Parfumerie will also collaborate with artists to create products to raise money for various non-profits. The first partnership will be with Ron Finley, the “gangsta gardener,” who works to transform food deserts into vibrant, healthier places. Together, they will create a fragrance and its proceeds will benefit the Ron Finley Project.
No matter the inspiration or the outcome, Sivrican will continue making fragrances, whether high-concept or classic. “I love creating perfume,” she says. “Each is very specific in the olfactory composition and the story I am telling. I have thousands of materials to play with. I have so many concepts and ideas. I can make you recall something you smelled at your grandmother’s house, but also take you on a trip into space.”
Special thanks to Natalie Toren for assistance with this article
Hero image by Michi Lee