ESSENCE OF MOI

Ruth Spencer has a go at mak­ing her own sig­na­ture per­fume

Weekend Herald - Canvas - - CONTENTS - ILLUSTRATION BY GUY BODY

Ruth Spencer has a go at mak­ing her own sig­na­ture per­fume

Aman holds a small, rib­bon­wrapped gift be­hind his back. Well, to be strictly ac­cu­rate, in front of his bot­tom. One word teases the prod­uct: Waft.

I hon­estly thought it was a joke meme. I even ad­mired the sub­tlety of the punch­line, when they could have gone with Parp, or Toot, or Odour. But Waft is real and Waft is se­ri­ous, an on­line per­sonal per­fumemaker that puts the del­i­cate art of con­coct­ing a fra­grance into ev­ery­one’s clumsy, un­e­d­u­cated hands. Ob­vi­ously I have to try it.

Be­fore I even start I’m stress­ing about what to call it. They let you en­grave any­thing on the bot­tle. Any­thing. I’m giddy with power but also racked with in­de­ci­sion. What should my sig­na­ture fra­grance be called? I’m sorely tempted to steal my cousin in law’s In­sta­gram han­dle, Sass­wolf. Ad­mit it, you’d spray Sass­wolf on a sam­ple card.

First I enter the WaftLab, which is to say I click on the link. It prom­ises an “ex­hil­a­rat­ing ex­pe­ri­ence” that will en­able me to “ac­ces­sorise each of my moods and mo­ments”. To think all this time my moods were go­ing around un­ac­ces­sorised. If I’d known, I could have bought my anx­i­ety a nice hat, although it would have been too self-con­scious to wear it.

My first choice is be­tween Mas­cu­line, Uni­sex or Fem­i­nine. I choose Fem­i­nine be­cause I like my per­fume as I like my gar­den, full of flowery non­sense and at­trac­tive to bees. The next choice is harder: do I want the “ra­di­ant

I like my per­fume as I like my gar­den, full of flowery non­sense and at­trac­tive to bees.

crisp­ness” of a Day per­fume, or the ‘dar­ing sen­su­al­ity’ of Night? Con­sid­er­ing I spend the mys­te­ri­ous, erotic hours of dusk on Face­book, ra­di­antly crisp it is.

This is like those in­ter­net quizzes where you find out which Dis­ney Princess you are based on your socks, ex­cept I’m go­ing to end up with an ac­tual per­fume at the end of this. Here are my next op­tions: Sport (haha), So­cial (also haha), Work (re­ally, this is quite funny) and Dat­ing (lol). Where’s Binge­watch­ing? Su­per­mar­ket shop­ping? Sleep? I choose Work, de­scribed as Light, Nat­u­ral, Earthy and Grace­ful, which doesn’t sound like any­where I’ve worked but makes me less phys­i­cally sick than So­cial’s Joy­ful, Play­ful, De­light­ful and Sweet. Now that I’m at work, am I Fresh, Sen­sual, El­e­gant or Re­laxed? Have I ever been Sen­sual at work? I re­ally hope not.

More ques­tions, then I get to choose some in­di­vid­ual fra­grances that ap­peal. I choose rose, white musk, pink pep­per. I add am­ber and leather for depth, be­cause now I feel like a per­fume sci­en­tist and it’s go­ing to my head. But I have ques­tions. What would a leather rose smell like, other than essence of bo­gan? Milk is an op­tion. Who wants to smell like milk? I once took my baby to a pet­ting zoo and a piglet chased me. A 12-year-old at­ten­dant said, “He can smell your milk,” which is far and away the most awk­ward thing ever said to me by a 12-year-old boy, and I’ve been a 12-year-old girl. I don’t tick milk.

Time for a re­view. I’ve cho­sen Fem­i­nine, Day, Work, Re­laxed and Trendy, which is not as in­co­her­ent as I’d feared. Maybe I work some­where cool, like a fash­ion stu­dio or a re­ally calm de­sign firm. Maybe I have a chic messy bun, Ruby Woo lips and man-style trousers that don’t go all the way to my an­kles. Ac­cord­ing to this per­fume I’m a bit as­pi­ra­tional. Def­i­nitely not Sass­wolf ter­ri­tory though. The vibe is more like Streep. Or Ikea.

I’ll have to de­cide be­cause it’s time to pick a name. Some­thing wist­ful and nos­tal­gic, a soft, ro­man­tic yearn­ing for the golden days of yore. Obama! Not Obama. What word sums me up? I toy with Vacil­late and Dither, but I just can’t com­mit. This process is fraught. Hang on, that’s pretty good: Fraught, a new fra­grance by Ruth Spencer. Done.

Time passes and my sam­ple of Fraught ar­rives in the mail. Oh. Oh no. This is Day? Maybe if by day you mean a Satur­day morn­ing after rugby when the shower isn’t work­ing but you’re meet­ing that girl off Tin­der and also you’re a man. Maybe it’s Re­laxed if you’re a ca­nary in a mi­ne­shaft and the fact you can smell it means you’re not go­ing to die of meth­ane poi­son­ing just yet. Fem­i­nine if that leather rose sounds like a cool tat­too. Is this Lynx? Have I been sent a $60 sam­ple of Lynx? If I don’t can­cel im­me­di­ately they’re go­ing to au­to­mat­i­cally send me a hun­dred millil­itres of $200 whiskey sweat with my name on it. I can­cel im­me­di­ately.

This is prob­a­bly a good time to men­tion this ar­ti­cle is not spon­sored by Waft. Although the next time you see me I may seem fraught, I’ll smell of Miss Dior, which I bought in a shop after smelling it first, like a nor­mal per­son.

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