Meet the Maker: Jackie Brenner, de Kloka Botanical Perfumes
Jackie Brenner began her blending practice in the world of mixology after graduating with a degree in fine art from the San Francisco Art Institute. Throughout her bartending career, she garnered acclaim around the world for her original, award-winning cocktails.
It was the chance purchase of a perfumer’s memoir from a small bookstore in Paris in 2012 that changed the trajectory of her career towards the ancient art of perfumery. Jackie found that the languages of mixology and perfumery were not-so-distant cousins, and her knack for creating delicious cocktails translated well into perfume making. She believes that the ritual of anointing with aromatics can be used today to connect to ancient wisdom and invoke magic and wonder in your daily life. She has studied with master natural perfumer Mandy Aftel since 2013.
In 2022, Jackie launched de Kloka, a small-batch perfumery based in Berkeley, California. Her botanical perfumes are made from completely natural ingredients, hand-blended from essential oils, Co2 extractions, absolutes, concretes, tinctures, natural isolates and compounded natural isolates from around the world into pure, organic, perfumer’s alcohol.
Not long after she launched de Kloka, Jackie approached us about collaborating on a collection of perfumes inspired by each of our three Death & Co locations in New York, Denver, and Los Angeles. We immediately fell in love with the idea, and after months of experimenting, tweaking, and lots of sniffing, Jackie delivered three uniquely amazing perfumes that we’re proud to carry in our market. Here’s her take on the collaboration:
This project is the culmination of my life's work up to this point. It marries my past as a mixologist and spirits professional with my present as a botanical perfumer. I've known Alex Day and David Kaplan of Death & Co since the original East Village bar was opened in 2006, as we ran in the same craft bartender circles and rubbed elbows at national events like Tales of the Cocktail and Portland Cocktail Week. I've sat at that bar countless times and have even guest-bartended there.
Capturing the essence of the Death & Co experience in perfume form was a sensory adventure down memory lane for me. I tapped into all of my past experiences in the bar world, the different sensations of sitting at a Death & Co bar, and the smells and textures they evoke. All three perfumes share a handful of common ingredients: saffron, cardamom, coffee, and sweet incense. These core ingredients capture the Death & Co essence and carry a cohesiveness through each perfume.
The aspect of leather in different forms came up strongly for me as it has a masculine and animalic energy that I associate with the playful embrace of indulgence embodied by the Death & Co bars. I used the leather idea in New York as a patent texture, whereas Denver is saddle leather, and Los Angeles is a luscious suede.
Because of its close-wearing and ephemeral nature, botanical perfumes are the perfect choice for an evening of fine drinking and dining. These perfumes will not disrupt the enjoyment of food and beverage by overpowering the scent experience.
Like the cocktails at Death & Co, these perfumes are hand-crafted works of liquid art. I hope you enjoy them.
Photo credit: Brian Sullivan