I know it sounds quite irrational but like many girls (yes, a sweeping statement here), I am very intrigued by profiling tools, mind-reading and stuff like that. Remember the Handbag Reading analysis that I introduced last year? I believe that we never know ourselves well enough and it’s always interesting to hear another point of view, be it scientific or not.

So, when the folks at Penhaligon’s – a perfume house with a very deep history that hauls from London – contacted me about a fragrance-profiling session, my curiosity was piqued. A scent is like a lady’s signature – it is supposed to leave an impression and gives someone a vague idea about yourself before you even start to articulate. Many of us shop for fragrances based on many factors, such as packaging, brand name, maybe the campaign ambassador (I would love to smell like Rosie Huntington-Whiteley!) and just by the whiff at the counter. The fragrance-profiling session, on the other hand, would be more focused – with a process that narrows down a scent based on your preference as well as your personality.

After all, there are more than 34 fragrances to choose from…

Nestled at a corner of ION Orchard Level 3, the Penhaligon’s store in Singapore is a quaint luxurious boutique adorned with many traditional English furnishings, and lavishly shaded with burgundy and gold. I felt like a little girl in the candy store, instantly curious about the huge bottles of Penhaligon’s perfume replica on the wall, which I was informed later contained coloured water, not real perfume.

Seated at the centre table of the store, it felt as if I was gonna have my fortune taken. The fragrance advisor for the day, Mike, kick started the session with a quick chat with me (my guess is probably to have a brief sense of my personality from my mannerism and body language) before delving into exploratory questions on my relationship with fragrances.

“Describe your relationship with fragrances.”

“How would you describe your favourite scent?”

“What type of scent are you looking for?”

As the discussion process continued, I was also introduced to different fragrances to determine my preference and validate what I had mentioned. For instance, I indicated that I didn’t like woody scent and Mike promptly showed me this really manly (and woody) fragrance to gauge my response.

Every bottle of perfume has a story, or an imagery. For instance, Ellenisia was described to me as someone roaming at the open green fields in Spain. This is a sweet, powdery floral scent that I felt was a tad “the usual”. I wanted a fragrance that is unique and exciting, something that fit me with elements that I had never experienced before.

Mike then commented that I am someone who expect others to earn their respect from me. I was quietly surprised by that brief comment, which I thoughtwas not easy to observe but was somewhat accurate. He swiftly moved on to 3 more perfumes – Juniper Sling, Orange Blossom and Artemisia.

Juniper’s Sling is an interesting fragrance, intoxicating on the first whiff like an alcohol (I was told it resembles London Dry Gin). In my mind, it’s a great scent for a girl who enjoys nightlife and parties – mysterious and playful, and certainly leaves an instant impression with a rather distinctive combination of top notes. While I acknowledge that this is a unique and different perfume, I don’t think it fits my personality.

So next, was Orange Blossom which had a grand opening warm scent of citrous and slightly spicy notes and cools down to a refreshing smell of jasmine. I was bewitched by the initial exuberance of the fragance, but appreciated the low-key jasmine aftermath.

Then, it was the more subtle Artemisia. The name comes from “Artemis”, a Greek goddess “who is herself inviolate and vigorous, and also grants strength and health to others”. It belongs to the other end of the spectrum as compared to the Orange Blossom, very low-key and unassuming at the start, consistent with its creamy and feminine scent but gradually grows and get you hooked with the delicate green apple and jasmine tea, fused with base notes of sandalwood and musk. It is easy to brush it off as a typical feminine scent but turns mysteriously seductive later on.

Having narrowed down my choices of 2 perfumes – Orange Blossom and Artemisia, I tried them on my skin to determine my preference. As we know, fragrances react differently on individual’s body so skin-testing is essential. I was still in a dilemma at first, but eventually I chose….

Artemisia Eau de Parfum. (S$180 for 50ml and S$250 for 100ml)

The elegant and sophisticated subtlety of this scent allows to wear it to work in the day, and layer on for a sensual touch for the night. It is less spicy or overt, but tended towards the sweet creamy side, with a hint of powdery musk and sandalwood. In short, a quietly sensual scent that draws you unknowingly.

The fragrance profiling session at Penhaligon’s is free-of-charge. You can walk-in to the store at Ion Orchard #03-16 for the session, but if you prefer not to discuss with an advisor face-to-face, you could try out the online fragrance profiling on their website. The online advisors will help to determine 2 to 3 fragrances based on your responses, although it takes at least 10 days for them to email the results to you.

As for me, I am clearly no goddess (and far from it) but at least I could attempt to smell like one.

一踏入Penhaligon’s充满英伦风华的香水专卖店,我宛如踏入糖果店的小女孩,对琳琅满目的香水产品以及摆设感到好奇。Penhaligon’s在新加坡推出了香水配对服务,根据您的喜好以及性格分析出适合您的香水。通过测试,也能够更了解这品牌悠久的香水哲学,更欣赏香水独特的文化。毕竟, 每一种香水都有特殊的香味与适用的对象,所以您在选用香水的时候,可配合您的个性,才能藉由香水的衬托更加散发出您个人的气质。经过精挑细选之下,本人最终选择了低调的Artemisia。最初的感觉是典型女性化的淡香,可是却有一股即典雅又令人惊艳的特质。中段含有香草及奶香,似乎有一些少女的梦幻,但接着是沉稳诱人的层次。或许就犹如一个女人那样令人困惑。香水配对服务是免费的,若对这英式香氛老牌有兴趣不妨到其位于Ion Orchard专卖店参观参观。

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