Today I’m wearing something I made myself. No, not something knitted, instead it is my lovely perfume that was hand made by me.
My daughter and I spent an afternoon at Le Studio des Parfums Paris creating our own perfume under the direction of Sophie the fragrance expert. Nestled in rue Bourg-Tibourg in the Marais district the Studio des Parfum’s neighbours include tea merchants and more parfumiers amongst fancy boutiques. Along the road a cluster of typically Parisian café-restaurants hum with summer activity; waiters deliver glasses of rosé to accompany platters of cold meats and French cheeses while customers busy themselves with people watching from the shade of striped umbrellas.
Having telephoned a few days in advance to fix a rendezvous for our perfume making session we arrived in the fragrance focussed neighbourhood in time to take a leisurely lunch and obligatory bubbles at one of the cafés and simply enjoy being together in Paris in the summer.
An hour or so later at Le Studio we were welcomed and settled at our perfume making counters ready for the do-it-yourself workshop. We started with a chat about our perfume likes and dislikes – flowers yes, vanilla and spices no for me. Then armed with pen and paper and our noses we began the process of selecting and recording our preferred scents starting with the base notes, the scent that lingers longest. Oh how hard it was to be decisive; sniffing and re-sniffing, comparing notes and sharing opinions, we made our choices. Next up the middle notes – the heart notes – four or five more and finally the top notes; 4 or 5 scents that will be the first impressions of our perfume. It did get easier, we became bold. Sophie looked over our list of notes to confirm we had arrived at a harmonious mix and determined the precise recipe for our selection of notes.
Stage two, the formulation, was the most elegant lab work I’ve done! With measuring cylinder and beaker we tipped and dripped exactly the right volume of specified notes. Base mix first, then heart and head notes, mixed, sniff-tested by us and checked at each step by Sophie’s assistant to make sure we were on course. With the last few millilitres of notes added, and the final assessment by Sophie, our very own perfumes were bottled, labelled and presented for us to take home.
As we wafted out in a fragrant haze of happiness and satisfaction, Sophie and her team filed our worksheets safely away ready for the day we return to make a bottle or ten of our favourite personal scent. My gentle flowery scent with hints of bergamot, rose, lilac and lily of the valley reminds me of my lovely grandmother. My big question now: what to call this eau de Keiry? Ideas?