Saturday, March 14, 2009

Surprising Seaweed and a Lost Perfume (Contest)

Seaweed, originally uploaded by Ed Wenn.

My brief yet effective encounter with Shaw TV's Urban Rush hosts Mike and Fiona is an example for how different creating custom perfume for different people can be. Among custom-perfume seekers, I think there are two main kinds of people: There is the fragrance connoisseur (knowingly or unknowingly) that indulges in every moment of the process without necessarily knowing what they want the perfume to smell in the end; and than there is the very determined, goal-oriented person who know exactly what they want to achieve by the end of the process.

Fiona knew exactly what she wanted: a perfume to replace her favourite of 11 years, now sadly discontinued. She researched the notes, and came up with top notes of citron, rosewood and cardamom, heart notes of jasmine and lily of the valley, and a base of musk, vanilla and amber. And sure enough, a fan containing these notes (except for the lily of the valley, which does not yield its scent successfully to any form of distillation) brought back some of the spicy floriental characteristics of her signature scent. Sweet yet spicy and bold and delicious.

Mike, on the other hand, always goes au naturelle and seemed to be generally unaware of having any particular interest in fragrance (unless someone else is wearing it). From lack of a better word, he guessed he likes “musky” scents. But we quickly found out that he really “clicked” with my archetypal masculine scents ArbitRary and l’Herbe Rouge, and fell in love instantly with juniper, key lime, Seville and Kashmir lavender and liatrix. Even though there was hay and oakmoss and patchouli in both ArbitRary and l’Herbe Rouge he did not enjoy the notes on their own. Just before we run out of time, I decided to pull out a little unusual note - seaweed essential oil. To everyone’s surprise, this was an immediate love, and added an incredible lightness of sea breeze to the other herbaceous and woody notes.

There is never a right way or a wrong way in making your own custom scent. But each way is different, and walking a different path or following a different approach will definitely create a completely different scent in the end. The result depends on the person's sense of adventure and willingness to take olfactory risks; and ultimately - on the perfumer's listening abilities and attention to detail as well as intuition. I'm very curious to see how these two perfumes might turn out!

Now to the “contest”: Guess Fiona’s lost perfume correctly and you’ll be entered to win a bottle of hand-painted Magnolia Petal 30ml spray bottle.

* Enter the contest simply by adding a comment to this post. Contest closes March 21st.

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At March 16, 2009 4:12 AM, Anonymous Patricia said...

Is it Fendi by Fendi?

At March 16, 2009 9:29 AM, Anonymous Felicia said...

Could it be Anne Klein 2??

At March 17, 2009 10:32 AM, Blogger Perfumeshrine said...

The process of a custom made perfume always fascinated me. I think one would need to also communicate a feeling and a sense of tactile/volume aspects as well as "notes".

The contest is very fun!
I am guessing Jacomo Parfum or Diesel Zero Plus.

At March 17, 2009 10:05 PM, Blogger Srta. Anjos said...

If not Rose Cardin, its (maybe), Caron sacre, but not sure if the last is discontinued. I am very inrigued wha tperfume is.

At March 18, 2009 8:09 AM, Anonymous Lavender said...

I think it would be very cool to create your own fragrance - but I would definitely want to work with someone who really can guide me! :)

At March 19, 2009 3:14 AM, Blogger mark42 said...

I think that the lost perfume is...

the original Femme by Rochas (parfum)

One that I would love to find as well, from the sound of the reviews of it (including yours)

Congrats on being on TV! Post a link to the Youtube video when someone uploads it (I'm sure someone will) so that us in far flung corners of the globe can see the interview too!

At March 19, 2009 10:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Ayala,
Is the lost perfume L'Interdit by Givenchy?
Take care,

At March 19, 2009 11:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

PS--Ayala--I am the Sharon who just left the last comment about L'Interdit...clarification--I believe this perfume was reissued, so it would be the original fragrance that was discontinued-?
Also, I did not want to post as "Anonymous"--my email, if needed (!) is

At March 22, 2009 10:38 AM, Blogger Ayala Sender said...

Excellent guesses everyone; however, no one guessed the perfume Fiona wears. She wears Byzance by Rochas.
I know my hints were not very helpful (even the list of notes was very partial, but this is all I had that day at the studio myself!).

I decided to give the Magnolia Petal bottle to Mark, who guessed the correct brand.

At March 22, 2009 10:41 AM, Blogger Ayala Sender said...

Custom perfumes are fascinating to make, and the results are otentimes times haunting, original and different. But they remain in the customer's domain nevertheless.
It takes intuition and knowledge of the notes and how they will interact together to build something that would be more than just an assembly of pretty notes or a cacophony of someone's favourites (these don't always work together that well!).
Definitely my most favourite part of my job!

At March 24, 2009 7:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello!I just need to ask you this: Which are the best chocolate based perfumes ever, in your opinion, Ayala? (thank you)

At March 25, 2009 6:17 AM, Blogger Srta. Anjos said...

Sorry, wasn´t my intention post that as anonymous. I am Vanessa Anjos, would like to know your opinion about the best chocolate scented fragrances ever.


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