Explore the complex and romantic world of fragrance to discover your signature scent.

Scent is linked to so many things in our world, including triggering memory recall and influencing preference for food and drink – so it’s no surprise that fragrance has attracted our interest for thousands of years, beginning with the perfume creators in Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, before the craft was further refined by the Romans and Persians.

Modern perfume came into its own in the early 20th century as technology improved and the blending of fragrances became commonplace. Emma J. Leah, master perfumer at Fleurage Perfume Ateliers, says this blending of scents is what perfumers aim for when creating a good fragrance.

“You don’t want people to be able to instantly say what’s in it,” she says. “We always aim for what is almost like an alchemical process, where we put the parts together in such a way that they become something else.

“Chanel No. 5 is a particularly good example of that, where you can read the list of ingredients but you can’t actually smell them – it’s this whole other creature.”

Leah uses personality traits to help design signature scents for customers – a bespoke process that has become increasingly popular.

“We call it cross-sensory referencing. We can actually allocate personality to ingredients,” she says. “We look for the warmth of a person, the nature of them, as that all relates to different scent families.

“For instance, someone who is really calm, practical and serene is probably somewhere in the fresh fougère family, while someone who is fiery and passionate would be firmly in the oriental family, because the ingredients all reflect those kinds of things.

“It’s much easier for people to tell me what colours they like and what foods they like than to express to me what scents they like. That’s why cross-sensory is so important.”

To build your own personalised perfume with Emma Leah’s expert guidance visit Westfield Chermside’s Scent Studio until 22 December. For more information and to book visit www.scentstudio.com.au

The scent families explained


All things green, fresh, herbal, woody – a very cool family and quite masculine


Divided into three parts – fresh floral, including cucumber and violet; true floral, including rose; and floral Orientals, including scents like day jasmine, gardenia and lily.


The oldest family – “It’s been around for thousands of years,” says Leah. Includes: resins, warm woods, frangipani, honeysuckle, and gourmand Orientals – chocolate, cherry, mango, ginger.


“It’s a really unusual family and very, very old,” says Leah. “It’s hardly used these days as a scent category, but it’s coming back into favour.”

Includes: iris and other powder florals, moss, animalic notes like amber, and herbal citrus. Also includes marine aldehydic scents – the ocean smell.


Iconic scents

Joy by Jean Patou

Considered one of the greatest fragrances created, Joy is a classic example of the floral ge

nre in perfumery. 10,000 jasmine flowers and 336 roses are required to make 30ml of the parfum, and in 2000 Joy was voted ‘Scent of the Century’ at the Fragrance Foundation awards.

Chanel No. 5

With its pared-back bottle design and sophisticated composition Chanel No 5 is one of the most famous perfumes ever created – thanks in part to iconic comments from screen siren Marilyn Monroe who, when asked what she wore to bed, answered “Chanel No. 5”.

Elizabeth-Taylor-webWhite Diamonds by Elizabeth Taylor

More than 20 years after it was first released, Elizabeth Taylor’s White Diamonds fragrance is still the best-selling celebrity-branded perfume, generating over $1 billion in sales.