Sunday, June 6, 2010

Creating a perfume for a Faerie part 2

The process of custom designing a Scent is a complex challenge....and one of my favourite things to do in the whole world! I think my approach is a bit different to that of many other perfumers, because I combine a number of different arts and disciplines...
First and foremost of course, you want to create a perfume that the perfume who has commissioned it will love. So you look for scent notes that the person likes. But beyond that, to create the "perfect" scent, I want to know more about the person I am creating for, so I can match the ingredients I use to their personalities.
Being a visual artist as well, I tend to associate different scents with different colours, so I often look at the persons favourite colours and the clothes they wear for inspiration too. My whole workshop is actually colour coded, and it never ceases to fascinate me how accurately you can translate one sense to the other....Music, food preferences, whether a person prefers the forest, quiet meadows or the bustle of busy cities, all of these things for me form a pattern that is the unique fingerprint of a person...and it is this unique pattern that I look for when I'm creating a perfume for them....And once I have a feeling for this pattern, you can then work with your client to find which aspects of the pattern they want to accentuate, which parts of themselves they would like to strengthen, maybe hidden sides they would like to bring out into the open....
Or maybe they want a complimentary note, something wild to inspire them...or something soothing and calming to help them to relax....
So the secret is to marry what the person wants to be surrounded by, to who they are.....
When Helen Wells asked me to create a perfume for her, my first inspiration was the woman herself.
Helen is a delightful Fey creature, small in stature with delicate elfin features.....the clothing she wears are as artistic as her beautiful paintings: Long Victorian style skirts and bodices in earthy browns, burnt orange and red....soft comfortable natural materials. Her paintings are also an incredible insight into her being: detailed, exquisite and always highlighting something special, brave and strong in each of her subjects....
While I was speaking to Helen about her Perfume, the very first thing that came to mind was Mimosa.
It's a perfume ingredients that has fascinated me for some time. The flower itself has such a "Will'O the Whisp" quality about it...delicate, intricate and amazingly beautiful...mimosa blossoms always remind me of Dandelion fluff...but it's elegant Dandelion fluff, designed by a Fairy artisan, with intricate colouring and cleverly designed architectural features.....The scent of Mimosa is just as special: It is soft and floral, gently elegant with a distinct honey like depth to it...much like Helen herself.
Helen sent me a detailed answer to the perfume questionnaire I send out to all custom design was a joy to read, and part of why I love custom design so's a bit like being invited into the persons private sitting room, where you get to know and appreciate the person....a bit like a private portraiture sitting.
And from this perfume brief, I then began to construct her Scent:

"I want the essence of my inner self to be expressed in a scent.
The essence that I want to bring forward is this:
My womanhood and passion for life. I want to feel safe, confident and uplifted, inspired and hopeful in facing my life. To celebrate the fact I am a woman, one who is sexy, wise, strong and gentle - flowing with life’s current. A hint of fun and cheekiness would suit me also."

The gorgeous Mimosa needed a more solid base to hold it, and Helen had requested "Something that would make her feel "like a woman, and also safe, confident". I found a lovely deep incense resin accord that echoed the honey like depth in the mimosa, and accentuated some of the elegant floral notes even further... the ingredients also had the added therapeutic effect from an aromatherapy point of view, of being both calming and grounding as well as aphrodisiac, which was exactly the effect Helen was looking for.
To give the perfume another level, I then added some exquisite Orange Flower absolute.
Now this to me is one of the Queens of floral notes. It fascinates me because it has a quirkiness to it that gives it a surprising and unique character, along with an incredibly feminine beauty and again, a sweet honey like depth...which married perfectly to the honey in both the mimosa and the incense resin base accord.
So what we now had was a gentle, exquisitely feminine perfume with sweet, honey and incense depths which was also unusual and interesting, without being loud or brash in any way.
I think it is one of the most beautiful scents I have ever created....and it is entirely due to the guidance of Helen herself.
It was such a joy to be invited to paint a scented picture of such a lovely person!
I couldn't resist creating a custom label for the perfume. For me, the packaging of the perfume is just as important as the content: The visual beauty is part of the experience of the perfume!
So I "borrowed" the latest of Helen's beautiful paintings off her website and printed a special label for her "Faerie" perfume!

If this has sparked your interest and you'd like to know more about custom designed perfumes, you can email me at

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