The Olfactor

Will An­drews, fra­grance ex­pert and cre­ator of some of to­day’s most cov­eted per­fumes, de­liv­ers his top notes on scent se­lec­tion

Hong Kong Tatler - - Style -

There are so many op­tions out there. Where should we start when choos­ing a fra­grance? The choice of brand is sig­nif­i­cant—its style and gen­eral at­ti­tude must be a good fit for your per­son­al­ity. You should also as­pire to the brand, as this will make you feel spe­cial ev­ery time you reach for the bot­tle.

How do I choose a scent? First, know the fra­grance type that suits your skin best. You can find this out by shar­ing our favourite per­fume with an in-store ad­viser. Then, ex­plore other fra­grances of the same type. It’s sim­i­lar to lik­ing a cer­tain grape va­ri­ety and try­ing wines from the same grape.

What are the gen­eral scent cat­e­gories? In or­der of in­creas­ing rich­ness and com­plex­ity, it’s cit­rus, aro­matic, flo­ral, woody, chypre and ori­en­tal. There is of­ten a sub-fam­ily, such as the white flo­ral found in Dolce & Gab­bana Dolce or the flo­ral-fruity in Dolce & Gab­bana The One Essence.

Is there a best time to sam­ple scents? Your nose is most sen­si­tive when you are hun­gry, so sam­ple scents just be­fore meal­times. And, of course, don’t wear other fra­grances.

What’s your rec­om­mended sam­pling strat­egy? Start by spray­ing a pa­per blotter with each per­fume and make a note of the name on each. Wait for 20 min­utes and re-smell. This will give you a bet­ter idea of how the fra­grance smells day to day. When you have found your favourites, ap­ply to the backs of your hands and wrists; one fra­grance on each lo­ca­tion gives you four easy test points.

Any in­sider tips when scent-shop­ping? If your nose is tired due to smelling lots of dif­fer­ent fra­grances, bury your nose in the crook of your arm and in­hale deeply. The smells of your skin or your cloth­ing are both highly fa­mil­iar base­lines, and act as a re­set but­ton. Don't reach for the coffee beans.

How should we store our favourite per­fume? Treat it like a fine wine. Di­rect sun­light, fluc­tu­a­tions in tem­per­a­ture and pro­longed ex­po­sure to air all re­sult in pre­ma­ture age­ing of the per­fume and will even­tu­ally lead to off-odours. So the bath­room win­dowsill is not an ideal stor­age place.

What are your thoughts on chang­ing scents for sea­sons or oc­ca­sions? Chang­ing your per­fume to match the sea­sons is a great way to re­fresh your out­look through­out the year. A new fra­grance can act as a pow­er­ful emo­tional cat­a­lyst to help you move on to the next stage in your life.

For fra­grances, do splash out on… A few fra­grances that to­gether form a “wardrobe” so that you have a spe­cific scent for spe­cific oc­ca­sions. This will give you the con­fi­dence you need for any oc­ca­sion; Gucci Bam­boo is a nice light scent for work, while Dolce & Gab­bana The One Essence is a fruity scent that’s great for a party.

Do not waste your money on… Su­per-luxe fra­grances just be­cause you think spend­ing more will get you some­thing bet­ter. Whether you like a fra­grance or not is very per­sonal. A high price point buys you ex­clu­siv­ity—not nec­es­sar­ily some­thing that suits you.

Where should we spritz for op­ti­mum im­pact? Women go­ing out for din­ner who are wear­ing a skirt or dress can ap­ply fra­grance be­hind the knees. The fra­grance will not be over­whelm­ing at the din­ner ta­ble, but will gen­tly drift up­wards dur­ing the course of the evening. Men can ap­ply fra­grance to their chest so that it rises gen­tly from an open col­lar. There’s re­ally no wrong place to ap­ply fra­grance—just avoid the eyes, the mouth and freshly shaven skin.

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