On any given day, getting ready begins with me doing my makeup – which I typically get carried away with – followed by running a brush quickly through my hair and running out the door. When I do remember to spritz on perfume I am drawn to fresh, citrusy scents for day and deeper notes for night.
I have a casual relationship with perfumes, mainly because they never last very long on me – couple of hours at the most. Which is why I’ve never really bothered to find a signature perfume. So I was intrigued to see what might come out of my Chanel Fragrance Journey that promised to find the right fragrance for my personality. Available at the Chanel boutique at Marina Bay Sands, it’s a one-to-one fragrance consultation that involves letting your olfactory senses lead the way to find you a perfume that is truly representative of who you are. All you need to do is call and make an appointment for a session.
“A woman who doesn’t wear perfume has no future.”
My session started with the Chanel Fragrance Expert asking me a few very specific questions about my perfume palate:
- Do you like citrus scents? – Yes.
- Do you like green notes? Somewhat, but not too excited about them.
- What about floral and fruity smells? I’m open to fruity scents but florals are a big no.
- How do you feel about powdery scents? Not a fan.
- What do you think about wearing a men’s perfume? Open to it.
She also asked me what I might want my perfume to represent. So I told her my criteria: the perfume should convey that I am confident and capable and, most importantly, it has to be long-lasting.
Using my answers as signposts, she mapped out my Perfume Journey pulling six different perfumed ceramic sticks from boxes that housed all the Chanel perfumes.
A ceramic stick allows you to experience a perfume in its entirety, giving you a clear idea of the top, middle and base notes. To ensure you pick a perfume that truly suits to you, the names of the scents are not revealed, so you have to let your nose and your instincts guide you. The point of the blind scent test is to negate any preconceived likes and dislikes you might have.
“No elegance is possible without perfume, it is the unseen, unforgettable, ultimate accessory.”
The first scent was fresh and easy. It reminded me of the sea and I liked it instantly, but it wasn’t long-lasting. The second one was fresh, but for some reason I can’t fathom, I disliked it immediately. The third one was a clean fragrance and ideally, I should have liked it, but I didn’t like how it smelled after it settled so I rejected it. The fourth was too citrusy for my liking and so that was a no, too. Perfume number five was too sweet for me. I liked the sixth one because it smelled fresh and uplifting.
Throughout the process she kept urging me to take a trip down memory lane and recall scents I’ve encountered in the past, and why I liked or disliked them. This isn’t easy when you’re suddenly put on the spot. No one gives much thought about smells from their childhood on a daily basis. But as I went through the exercise of smelling the ceramic sticks, I started to remember: for example, my first memory of any scent is 4711 Original Eau de Cologne, which always makes me feel cared for because my mum used to rub it on my tummy when it ached. Or powdery scents that are reminiscent of old age because my grandmother and her friends wore them.
Perfumes or smells have the unique ability to trigger memories or feelings linked to past experiences. This is because the region in the brain that processes scents is also closely connected to the regions that process memory and emotion. So it makes complete sense that I like scents that smell like sea air because I associate it with carefree days spent sailing with my dad.
The Chanel Fragrance Expert then removed the three I rejected and going by what I didn’t like about them as well as her own expertise, she replaced them with two others, both of which I liked.
We were halfway through the process of finding my perfect scent. Now that I had narrowed it down to the three that I liked, it was time to spritz them on. Perfumes are a very personal because each one smells different on different people so it’s absolutely necessary to try them on your skin. This was also the moment of the big reveal: I would finally find out which three my olfactory senses had led me to.
Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself. – Coco Chanel
The first was Chance aux Fraiche. Fresh and vivacious, it is for the woman who likes to go out there and claim her destiny. But it just didn’t sparkle on my skin like it should have. So we moved on to the next one.
Platinum Égoïste, a men’s perfume. Since I was open to wearing a men’s perfume, the Chanel Fragrance Expert decided to add the category into the mix. I often borrow my husband’s perfumes as they are not as sweet or floral as women’s. Think of it as wearing a boyfriend blazer – it’s masculine, but by the time you’ve accessorised with your bag and heels, it’s completely you.
It opens with fresh notes of lavender and rosemary, which gives way to exotic woods that ensures it lingered. While it ticked all the right boxes, it just didn’t smell like something I would wear.
So we moved on to the third one: Bleu de Chanel Parfum. Another men’s fragrance. The Parfum is the third iteration of the Bleu de Chanel range, with the EDT and EDP as its predecessors. For the Parfum, the nose, Olivier Polge pushed the zesty top notes of geranium and lavender and balanced them with cedarwood and a special type of sandalwood. It also has highest concentration of oils. And there were absolutely no floral notes. It was refreshing and it lingered and I loved the dry down.
This was it. The Perfume Expert even mentioned how it smelled so different on me – that made it uniquely me.
The Perfume Expert remarked that the fact that my Fragrance Journey lead me to a men’s fragrance means I’m a person who isn’t boxed in by convention and is quietly rebellious. It also signifies a person who is sure of who they are – unfettered by what society thinks. I have never thought of myself as unconventional, but I do dance to the beat of my own drum.
I must admit, on days that I wear Bleu de Chanel Parfum, I truly feel comfortable being myself. I am more assertive and focused and I actually want to wear the perfume. It’s fascinating how a fragrance can have such an effect on you. I had never really paid attention to how I felt wearing perfume before, but given the effect it can have on my mood and memories, from now on, I’m more likely to choose them depending on who I need to be on any given day.
This service is available at the Chanel Fragrance and Beauty Boutique at Marina Bay Sands, B1-132.
Tel: 6645 1970 The service is by appointment only and completely complementary.