The grandson of a pharmacist and son of a dentist, Cristiano Canali originally intended to continue the family tradition and become a pharmacist. He studied for five years in Italy; however a chance encounter with Mysore sandalwood while writing his thesis on Ayurvedic products in India changed his career trajectory. Thanks to his experience, he was easily accepted into the Institut Supérieur International du Parfum, de la Cosmétique et de L'Aromatique Alimentaire (ISIPCA). After graduating he worked at International Flavors and Fragrances (IFF) in The Netherlands before heading to Paris where he worked alongside master parfumeurs. While at ISIPCA he developed a close relationship with Patricia de Nicolaï, the president of the Osmothéque. He continues to work with the Osmothéque and has a special fondness for vintage fragrances.