Always wanted your own signature scent? We created our own bespoke perfumes with the help of Oo La Lab's fragrance mixologists and designers
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my perfume collection, it’s to never underestimate the power of scent – it’s the strongest connection to memory, and can even evoke intense flashbacks. If you love perfume, it’s time to take control of your personal scent; forget about buying off the shelves – create a bespoke fragrance that’s entirely made for you and only you, and you’ll own an instantly identifiable scent.
In my search for a tailor-made scent, I sniffed out Oo La Lab: olfactory experts who specialise in fragrance design and mixology services. Lucky for me, Allsense and Oo La Lab founder, Terry Jacobson, was on-site to personally share nuggets of wisdom with me, including the core goal of these workshops: to demystify the chemistry behind fragrance-making through an entirely hands-on process.
25 notes, plus two accompanying complex notes, are available for you to build your perfect blend. Housed in uniform brown glass bottles, these are kept identical – Terry stresses that this is to prevent attendees from being “fooled into preconceived notions of typically male or female fragrances”. While 25 notes may not seem like plenty, it’s rare for two perfume blends to smell exactly the same; even if they do contain the same notes, it’s highly unlikely that they’d boast the same ratio. Below, I take you through the steps of creating your very own perfume.
Step one: Smell everything
The first thing you’ll notice upon stepping into any Oo la Lab location is the elegant fragrance display. Bottles are arranged according to the fragrance table – scents that work from the lightest to the heaviest, giving you an idea of top, middle and base notes for your scent.Take a whiff of everything and pick out the scents that speak to you most. Aim to narrow it down to about five notes to work with, though you’ll want to take note of others that catch your fancy in case you need to tweak the formula.
Step two: Find the golden ratio
Here comes the trial and error bit in finding your signature scent. Using an end goal of 20 drops, work out the right ratio for your scent, by choosing how many drops of each note you’d like to go into your blend.
On my first try, I added a single drop of Gourmand (a food-based note reminiscent of vanilla, candy and pastries) but found that it overpowered my heaviest base notes of Wood and Oriental. On my second try, I removed it completely, and added an additional drop to my wood ratio for an earthier scent.
Step three: Make it full-sized
Now that you’ve nailed the formula, it’s time to transform it into your full-sized scent. Working with a one drop to one millilitre ratio, get those beakers out, and start building your scent. Once done, pour your blend into the glass bottle using a funnel, and you’re done!
Step four: Name your fragrance while it’s being prepared
If you’ve always fantasised about owning your own perfume line, you can finally live your dream by coming up with your own name for your fragrance. Once done, perfume mixologists will top up your blend with alcohol, and get it professionally packaged to prevent it from leaking.