THE SENSE of smell awakens something primal in many of us. While smelling something might bring back memories of an elevated, cherished status, it’s a different story during social interactions. Humans are still animals, and through scent, we pick up on cues the same way animals do: through scent, we pick up on a person’s health, values (I mean, does this person take the time for grooming? Does that person respect me enough to take a shower before meeting me?), and, like it or not, social status.
Seeing how personal scent could be, and the hundreds of things a single whiff can reveal, a company allows you to put your own personal stamp on your scent, quite literally.
In Greenbelt 5’s Scentsmith, for a fee of about P1,200, one can fill up a 100 ml bottle from a line of pre-blended eau de parfum (that’s 20% fragrance), watch it blended through a window, and then have it stamped with your name. While the service is available through several other international perfumers like Le Labo in France, those won’t cost P1,200. According to Scentsmith Brand Manager and Managing Partner Kristine Torres, while the temptation for a customer to mix their own perfume is appealing, it is not a service they offer. They rely instead on their overseas perfumer, and more adventurous customers can opt to layer the scents instead.
While only the two scent notes — the most dominant top and base notes — are included in their name, Ms. Torres says the base and top notes mentioned have at least five or six hidden elements to them. She also noted that perfume is a very personal choice, and factors like diet, weight (according to her, a person with more fat would secrete more oil, thus giving the perfume more of a strong base to stay on your skin; one should thus take note of the strength of a scent), and medications taken can affect how a scent smells on you. Thus, what smells great to me might not smell so good for you.
During a launch last month, BusinessWorld went on a smelling bonanza. The scents, in solid form, were lined up against a trellis. Bergamot Patchouli smelled medicinal, while a Mandarin Amber smelled almost seductive in its sweetness, like a pretty and nice girl with hidden depth and substance. Raspberry Gardenia smelled like innocence, while a White Magnolia was clean, with a hint of spice and mystery. Rose Musk smelled like something you sense when you wake up in bed next to someone (and it was great). Mandarin Musk was fresh and sexy like a 20-something on the beach, and Apple Geranium smelled woody and fresh.
Pink Pepper and Leather smells like something trendy that you buy at a perfume counter. Neroli Sandalwood smelled like cleanliness in that it smelled like old-fashioned bath soap. Lavandin Sandalwood smelled like someone clean-cut and masculine, a guy you bring home to Mamma.
Saffron Oud was a different tone: it was exotic and powerful; manly and domineering. Orange Cardamom was spicy and old-fashioned, while Nutmeg Cedar smelled solid and caring, like a man already on the make. We didn’t get so much of a result on a Grapefruit Amber, while the Pepper Guiacwood smells a bit like lunch, if that’s more your thing.
Lemon and Moss smelled fresh and fizzy; the spirit of a summer garden in a bottle. Ambrette and sea salt didn’t create so much of an impression on us, while a Lavender Nectarine smelled like car freshener (to be fair, new car smell is highly desirable).
Their most popular scent, Lavender Tonka, present in a line of diffusers and other products, smells healing and relaxing.
The personal and homecare products of Scentsmith are formulated without parabens, SLES, phthalate, mineral oil, petroleum, paraffin, and DEA.
According to Ms. Torres, a scent would usually last five to six hours, barring the other factors she cited above. We bombarded Ms. Torres with questions about lifestyle and personality, but in the end, it all boiled down to this: “Each scent brings out a personality.
“It’s really much of your personal preference.” — Joseph L. Garcia