Find Your Scent Soul Mate

Is a sig­na­ture fra­grance—one that truly ex­presses who you are—ac­tu­ally sold in stores, or is it some­thing far more elu­sive? Abby Ellin takes us on a jour­ney.

Cosmopolitan (India) - - BEAUTY -

“I’ve never been able to find and wear a per­fume that’s to­tally

me. That’s be­cause I have an al­most nonex­is­tent sense of smell—a con­di­tion called anos­mia that af­fects nearly 2 mil­lion peo­ple in the US. It’s not fatal, but it is re­ally an­noy­ing. Maybe I’ve just seen too many ro­man­tic films where a man be­comes in­tox­i­cated by the scent of a woman, but I firmly be­lieve that noth­ing ex­presses a woman’s

per­son­al­ity as much as her sig­na­ture per­fume. I’ve had to rely on the pref­er­ences of the men I’ve dated to help me make my choices. I’ve even con­sulted the nos­trils of friends (and a few door­men!) to tell me if I’ve over­dosed or re­quired another spritz. But af­ter my last re­la­tion­ship ended, I de­cided it was time to find a fra­grance that fit me.

That’s where Sue Phillips—a New York–based ‘scen­tol­o­gist’, fa­mous for her 11-ques­tion Scent Per­son­al­ity Test and cus­tomised fra­grances that stem from it—came in. Af­ter quizzing me, I was told that my per­fect scent fell in the fresh fam­ily (think cit­rus, grassy, and ozonic notes...a ka the smell af­ter a rain­storm). Sue set out a tray of 18 bot­tles filled with blends of 15 to 20 dif­fer­ent in­gre­di­ents. Given my is­sue, I didn’t ex­pect to smell a thing. Still, Sue prod­ded me on, un­til—mir­a­cle!—I was able to de­tect a faint whiff of four

in­di­vid­ual blends: cit­rus, ju­niper, green, and bal­samic. Ac­cord­ing to the sci­ence of aro­mather­apy and Sue’s ex­ten­sive re­search, they all evoke easy­go­ing, up­lift­ing, and sprightly feel­ings... words that, I like to think, de­scribe me. She blended them in a lit­tle glass bot­tle and handed it over. But at home, when I placed my nose against my wrist and in­haled... again, there was noth­ing. How was this pos­si­ble?

Ac­cord­ing to my ENT spe­cial­ist, Stacey Sil­vers, MD, we all have 12 cra­nial nerves in our brains. Most smells hit the first one, the ol­fac­tory nerve... and mine was dam­aged. But my fifth one worked. Its func­tion was to de­tect strong smells

like those I picked up on dur­ing the ses­sion with Sue. How­ever, once I sprayed the fra­grance and the notes were

dif­fused into the air, they lost their po­tency. Now I buy per­fume for dif­fer­ent rea­sons: per­haps it’s the best-seller du jour, maybe I love the shape of the bot­tle. What­ever the rea­son, no-one can say there’s one scent that

screams me. What I wear to din­ner tonight will likely be to­tally dif­fer­ent than what I leave in my wake tomorrow. And re­ally, that’s who I am: some­one who is hard to pin down,

un­pre­dictable, and thrives on chang­ing the rules.”


6. Le­mon Twist Al­ways one to push bound­aries, RiRi chose an un­con­ven­tional cit­rus base that’s equal parts en­er­gis­ing and sexy. Ri­hanna Rogue, ` 3,317 ap­prox./ 75ml

7. Per­ma­nent Va­ca­tion The beachy mix of berg­amot and co­conut milk will help get you through the off- sea­son. Mai­son Martin Margiela Replica in Beach Walk, ` 6,000 ap­prox./ 100ml

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