This is one of my most enjoyable assignments to date – using my sense of smell to design a special gift for my other half for our upcoming love anniversary! I was on an important mission to get my man the right masculine scent that encapsulates my love for him.
For the longest time ever, I’ve been relying upon and exercising so much of my sense of sight, taste and touch that I almost forgot what is like to use my nose to distinguish scents again! Very often, we are stimulated by sights and sounds of this technological world that our ability to smell has somewhat forgotten. Aren’t we blessed that we can smell the scent of rain, grass and flowers? I can’t imagine myself having anosmia (the loss of sense of smell).
A week ago, I regained my love for fragrances as I entered this library of scents and perfume at Je’taime Perfumery, located right in Goodman Arts Centre. Je’taime Perfumery is founded by Ms. Prachi Saini Garg, a very pleasant and amicable lady whom I get to learn so much about perfumery from. She is one creative lady who is already making a significant impact in create awareness about Olfactory-art in Singapore and teaching people living here about perfumery.
I took up the individual workshop which lasted for about 2 to 3 hours but instead of creating a perfume of my own, I decided to create a perfume for my other half, Samuel.
Before I start to explore the scents, I did a perfume personality quiz for Samuel to find what his perfume personality is so that, from there, I could derive a fragrance formula to create a suitable perfume for him.
During couple perfume sessions, couples would first do the quiz for each other and against their own answers. As Prachi has shared, most of the times couples were surprised to find out that most of their answers would differ. But since Samuel wasn’t there to check my answers, I could only do my best to think like him and do the quiz to ensure it is as accurate as possible. And Prachi’s right! After I went back home and got Sam to do the quiz, I only had 11 out of 20 questions right. It turns out that he was more ‘woody’ than I thought. So, I might not have created a perfume that would represent him as a person but at least, I created a scent that I like to smell when it is on him and hopefully, he will like it too. Keep my fingers crossed on this one!
I have never really created a perfume of my own before and this is the first time, working with a library of scents and concocting a men’s perfume. It isn’t exactly easy because I was more acquainted with floral and citrus scents than woody scents. Nevertheless, I think I manage to nail it after putting in so much focus and concentration to pair the scents. Thankfully, the workshop itself was conducive to such activity. It was peaceful and quiet outside with almost no distractions. The greenery outside also helps me to settle down myself and clear my mind.
Prachi went straight to the fragrance wheel and explained to me about the 5 different groups of scent. I had prior knowledge to fragrances as I’ve attended my university perfumery module and workshops elsewhere which taught me about the basics of perfumery and our olfactory system but I just never had a chance to experiment with actual scents. Praise the Lord, my only chance has come!
I also learnt about how our preference for scents actually changes throughout our human life cycle. When you are a kid, you might prefer something more citrus. And as you mature, you will go for floral, woody and oriental scents. There is no scientific explanation as to why the older we get, we tend to go for heavier notes but I guess it is because as we grow older, we naturally tend to go for scents which can last longer on our skin so that we don’t have to keep applying the same scent. At least, that postulation did apply to me as I am starting to get fond of woody and oriental notes which would usually linger on my skin even after hours. It made me felt more secure whenever I smell such familiar scents. Also, it strangely reminds me of my childhood and grandparents whenever that powdery scent emerges. It evokes sensualness at the very same time. It has become rather comforting even to take a whiff of it. I also like men’s perfume with that heavy woody scent that exudes maturity and sexiness. Oh dear, am I getting too old for my age?
I personally like Paris by Yves Saint Laurents which is often describe as a granny’s perfume due to its powdery rose scent that often links to our grey-haired grannies who exudes a motherly love. That is one memorable scent which I almost could embody my past, present and future.
For the next 2 hours, I spent working with the various scents stored in dark-coloured bottles and I was enjoying every single bit of it that it didn’t feel like much of a chore. Smelling beautiful scents is akin to tasting delicious food. It’s somewhat similar in the sense that I felt this sense of satisfaction after having a sniff at my favourite floral scents like Rose, Peony and honey. I’ve come to realise that there are so many pleasant scents around in this world and it is a pity that we don’t get to smell them almost every other day. My life only revolves around the smell of dust, paper, machinery parts and sweaty kids.
I had no trouble picking which scents I want, based on the formula derived from the quiz I’ve done for Sam. The only challenging part is making sure that the scents paired well with each other and that’s when I got a little help and advice from Prachi who suggested to me some scents which can work together.
Other then pairing the scents based on my knowledge I have of perfumes, I also want to include my inspiration I had for this perfume. I wanted a scent that smells a little more unisex so that women would also find it sexy to wear it on themselves. Also, Sam loves Japan and its culture so I wanted to use ingredients like Yuzu which is a common fruit found in Japan. I also wanted to go for a clean scent which is not too musky and dark so that he can wear it during the daytime and not coming out of the shower (with the perfume sprayed on) smelling too overpowering. The clean scent would also represent Sam’s sincerity in treating the people around him and how genuine he is as a person when he cares for others.
So do you want to know what goes into the perfume?
Top notes: Subtle greens, bergamot, Lemonchillo on Rocks, Caipirinha, Chai Tea, Wisteria, Strong Aqua notes, Fresh rain
Middle notes: Yuzu, Asian Spicy florals, Irish Garden, Ylang Key accord, Satin Notes
Base notes: Sandawool, black agar, patchouli, Himalayan herbs, aspen woods and sensual amber
So I did 3 perfume samples in 3 test vials – varying in the composition of each scent. I went with test #2. It was exactly what I wanted it to smell like. Yes, I think it smells just like Sam – but with more sophistication. I was already getting all excited about making the actual perfume for him!
Throughout the entire perfume making process, I reckon I was smiling to myself most of the time. I’ve never been in such high spirits for a long time. Sometimes, I can get so caught up at work that I forget to smell the rain, grass, and flowers in our garden city. We have such a rich flora and fauna in our country but we often fail to appreciate the beauty of it sometimes.
Creating my test samples! Taking the world by one drop of scent at a time.
You would really need to focus on counting the number of drops and checking if there are any adjustments to be made. This explains why you would really need to concentrate and think about nothing else.
Finally, after I’ve done all the ground work and finalize my perfume formula, Prachi gave me this gorgeous perfume glass bottle to store the fragrance in it. My job is finally done! To be honest, the life of a perfumer is pretty fun!
Prachi also shared her collection of Singapore’s native orchid scent collection. She has created an orchid perfume for both men and women which will be out real soon! The scent is beautifully made and it just got me to realise how orchids can smell that lovely, like roses and jasmine.
I went home with a perfume glass bottle and 3 perfume test vials stored in an elegant box. I am definitely going back again to Je’taime to create a perfume I can call my own. I don’t think it makes any sense for me to buy perfumes out in the market when I can create my very own unique scents that tell a story of my very own.
Making a perfume for your loved one is a perfect way to say ‘Je’taime’ (in french) or ‘I love you’.
Many thanks to Prachi from Je’taime Perfumery for conducting the fruitful perfume workshop! She’s a lovely and passionate lady to talk to about perfumes.
To find out more, visit their website:
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They also featured on TripAdvisor too. You know, you don’t really have to fly to France to learn about perfumes where you can do it right here too, in Singapore.
90 Good Man Rd
Good Man Art Center
Contact: +65 91814871