Tell me your perfume and I’ll tell you who you are. Woody or floral, citrus or spicy, your fragrance might just be the most lasting style statement you make. But don’t just take my word for it.
Scent, says LA based Interior Designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard, is a personal thing that allows others to see into your soul. Lifestyle blogger Athena Calderone of Eye Swoon agrees. Recounting her meeting with Mathilde Laurent, the in-house perfumer for Cartier, Athena writes: “She reminded me that scents hold power, and that the scent you choose will create memories in your life and the lives of people you love.” No pressure then.
So I asked Jill Timms of world renowned perfumery Peony, to share her insider tips on choosing the perfect perfume.
Is it true that the morning is the best time to choose fragrance?
Yes this is true because the nose hasn’t been assaulted by a full day’s ‘aromas’. It’s preferable to seek a new fragrance in the morning but not crucial.
Blotting paper or skin?
Both blotting paper first to gauge first impressions and then skin, so both really.
Does smelling coffee beans in between scents really help?
We do not use coffee beans in store. Smelling fresh skin or fabric works best.
How long should you leave a perfume on your skin before deciding if you like it?
The skin is another raw material and I always suggest having the perfume on the skin for a minimum of 15 minutes to allow the perfume to dry down. As part of our ‘Perfume Portrait’ service, it’s important that a client chooses two to three scents to try on the skin.
What’s the first question you ask a customer who has no idea what perfume they want?
We start our perfume consultation by asking the client what fragrances they are currently wearing to gauge their scent preference. If the client is unsure we select a citrus, floral, wood and oriental fragrance to start our fragrance selection process.
Peony has recently been listed by Osmotheque as one of the world’s most remarkable fragrance stores. How important is the environment when it comes to choosing a new fragrance?
I think this depends on the customer – the person that perhaps walks through Peony’s doors is looking for something more exclusive. We pride ourselves on giving our client a unique scent experience in our store.
Peony has a strong focus on giving the customer a wonderful in store experience. We have created an inviting space filled with fresh flowers, burning candles and an educated personal service. Gift wrapping and our perfume portrait’s are just part of our complimentary services in store. We hold seasonal perfume educational events, where clients are invited to come to the store after hours in a small group.
How many perfumes are too many? Do you have advice for customers when it comes to how many fragrances they need in their personal fragrance collection?
I encourage my clients to have more than one scent – a scent that is a daytime scent, a warmer/denser fragrance for winter and a lighter one for summer. Therefore creating a scent wardrobe which is based around mood and the appropriate occasion. To maintain a scent’s freshness we highly recommend keeping perfume away from light, in a cupboard that is cool. We suggest that a perfume is used within 3 years.
Fresh, woody, floral, oriental… does understanding your scent preferences actually help when it comes to choosing a new perfume?
We do help clients to learn more about their fragrance choices but also encourage them to try something different. I think taking the time to choose a perfume that is perfect for them is one of life’s pleasures. You notice a beautiful- smelling man or woman. Getting it right is quite powerful.
What advice do you give customers looking to choose a perfume for someone else? Does this really ever work?
We give our clients two options when choosing a scent for someone else – we can choose a scent based on what they think that person would like – as part of our service we always include a sample to be tried first – if the perfume is unsuitable it can be returned and exchanged. The second option is to do a gift voucher for the customer to come into the store and choose a scent with our complimentary perfume consultation.