An olfactive journey helps Kasmiah Mustapha find a scent that suits her
I NEVER knew choosing a perfume could be somewhat of a journey until I spent an afternoon at Chanel Espace Parfums.
I hardly wear perfume except for the occasional scented oil, so I was looking forward to understanding the process of finding the right scent.
Espace Parfums, which means fragrance space, in Suria KLCC, has 27 fragrances for women, 10 for men, and 13 more from the Les Exclusifs de Chanel collection which comprises rare fragrances.
A fragrance specialist brought me to the olfactive bar comprising rows of white ceramic blotters dipped in the perfumes. Each row represents different scents: Citrus, floral green, soft floral and intense floral fragrance, aromatic, soft and intensely woody, fresh oriental and oriental.
The bar was developed by Chanel research and development director Christopher Sheldrake to entice customers into the world of Chanel Fragrances, allowing them to experience its heritage and eventually finding their perfume.
People often choose a perfume based on the bottle, or what others are wearing, but it is better they take the time to explore scents so that they can make an informed choice.
My olfactive journey began with questions on my preferred scent — whether it was green (scent of newly cut grass), sweet floral, fruity such as the smell of lemon or wood. While I prefer floral scents, the fragrance specialist advised me to be more adventurous and to try everything.
I was introduced to the citrus scent from eight fragrances including Cristalle Eau de Toilette, Cristalle Eau de Parfum, Allure and Chance. As the fragrance specialist told me the stories behind the fragrances, I was asked to smell three perfumes. I liked only one — Chance EDT.
BLOOMS ON THE NOSE
Next, I was asked to imagine the flowers blooming in spring as I smelt the floral green fragrances. I chose three from this collection which were all from the No. 19 range of fragrances.
My favourite perfume is Chance from the soft floral collection. I love the soft, almost dreamy, scent, so much so that I chose all three interpretations — Chance EDP, EDT and Parfum.
I finally came to the famous No. 5 which was in the intense floral fragrance row. There was the original No. 5 too. I couldn’t tell the difference between that and the new version, except that I liked the original better.
Chanel No. 5 is still the best-selling perfume since it was introduced in 1922. When Coco Chanel wanted to launch a perfume, she wanted “a woman’s perfume, with the scent of a woman”.
When I was introduced to the fragrances in the fresh oriental collection, I chose Coco Mademoiselle in both the EDP and parfum versions.
What was interesting about the experience was that in addition to evoking my sense of smell — and knowing the various perfumes — I was also given a lesson in history of the brand. I learnt about Coco’s personality and preferences as most of the perfumes had her personal touch. Now I know the story behind each perfume and its ingredients and how they complement each other to produce scent.
Each time I chose a scent, the fragrance specialist put aside the blotters in a tray. After I was done, I revisited the smell again and chose only one that I really loved. It was not an easy decision as out of the nine, I loved three — Chance, No. 5 and Cristalle.
In the end, I chose Chance Eau De Parfum with its sweet, floral and romantic smell. The combination of citron, white musk, pink pepper, orris absolute, jasmine, fresh vetiver, amber patchouli and hyacinth is perfect for me.
The ingredients have come together to make a more enveloping scent, arousing more emotion.
Women who wear Chance are optimistic, romantic and feminine. I have made the right choice as these traits describe me perfectly!