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Fragrance Story: PREFACE

Hello friends. To begin with, I must thank you for reading this, as I start on my exploration and indulgence in the realm of Fragrances. 亲爱的朋友们,我很抱歉。 我的中国语言表达能力不够好。所以我不能用中文写这篇“香水故事”。 但我仍然会尽我所能,并添加一些用中文写的段落。 我也会偶尔使用一些成语。 因为英语中没有相同的说法。

Unfortunately, my 10 years of learning Mandarin Chinese is just not sufficient for me to write this story in Chinese as well. However, I will add some paragraphs in Chinese or use some Chinese phrases which explain what I can't in English.

First and foremost, I am NOT a trained perfumer. I am a trained and seasoned (a.k.a. bitter & cynical) lawyer.

I have always been fascinated by perfumes. As a little girl, I would often see my mother, aunts and grandmothers applying them. I think what drew me in was not only the scent but the shiny pretty glass bottles that these magical fragrances would come in. I also noticed that it would affect my mood when I could smell them and also the mood of the women who applied it.

I have been told that I have a fairly keen sense of smell. I could smell these women in my life as they approached me and also smell which room they had been in. It did help me out as my cousins and I would get up to a lot of mischief during school holidays!

I cook by scent/smell rather than taste/sight/touch. Some people who has seen me cook/bake and have noted to me that this was unusual. This became more noticeable to me when the timer on our oven broke down (it still has not been fixed) and I just forgot to set a timer and just relied on my "scent memory" to tell whether the pastry/roast was done.

I believe that we all have scent memories. That is another reason why I love fragrances. For many people, certain notes of fragrances will evoke memories and bring them back in time to certain events. When I describe a fragrance, I often talk about it in terms of what I "see". Certain notes or combination of notes, conjure up visual images in my mind, like a recollection of a certain object or place or even atmosphere. For example, when I test fragrances, I often close my eyes and my mind is instantly filled with images of things. Indeed there are studies that have shown that there is a strong connection between the how visual images affect one's perception of scents (click here to refer to this one study for example). There is even a name for this condition. This neurological condition is called "synesthesia". "Synesthetes" experience involuntary experiences in one or more sensory/cognitive pathway when a different sensory/cognitive pathway is stimulated. For me, I "see" and "feel" scents.

Packaging design is something that I always look for in products that I buy. I am also a very "visual" and "tactile" person. I get an odd sensation, not a good nor bad one, when the packaging does not match the fragrance. I like to learn about this step in the creation of a fragrance. The most often quote you see from a famous perfumer, in this case, François Coty, is:

"Give a woman the best product to be made, market it in the perfect flask, beautiful in its simplicity yet impeccable in its taste, ask a reasonable price for it, and you will witness the birth of a business the size of which the world has never seen."

A cheap looking bottle can "kill" a gorgeous scent and vice versa. A beautifully designed bottle can change your perception and valuation of a cheaply produced fragrance.

Obviously, the most important part of a fragrance is HOW DOES IT SMELL? What magical notes did the perfumer/designer mix to create the overall impression of the fragrance as well as the head/top; heart/middle; and base notes that you perceive when the fragrance is applied to skin. I'll be learning about what ingredients are "natural" or "synthetic" and figuring out if that matters. When I found out that there was an INTERNATIONAL ARCHIVE of fragrances i.e. the Osmothèque, it just blew my mind. To me this conveys the sense that fragrances are such an important part of our lives that the people and the industry behind it have gone to such great lengths as to create this treasure of a resource which we can refer to.

I believe a good perfumer is an alchemist and wizard in all sense of those words. Who else can create fragrances that evoke physical and mental sensations?

As I indulge in this fascination about fragrances, perfumes, EDTs, colognes, whatever you wish to call them, I will refer often to quotes from famous perfumers both from historical and contemporary figures. My study of fragrances may lead me into "uncharted territories". I will often refer to Luca Turin's writings. Luca Turin is a well known biophysicist and authority on the sense of smell, perfumery and the fragrance industry. It is highly likely that I will edit/amend this foreword to my "Fragrance Story", as I learn more and more about fragrances. To be quite honest, I do not even know how my "Fragrance Story" will be structured. I may possibly collate each "chapter" or review into a e-book. I guess I will see how it turns out as I go along.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Sephora Australia, L'oreal Australia, ELC Australia, Coty Australia, Cosmax Prestige and Agence de Parfum, as well as their PR teams for sending me samples. Also a huge thank you to Laura Slatkin, the founder/creator of Nest Fragrances, who unwittingly inspired me to take this path and who has been so generous to me.

As a final point to this foreword (for now); in my preliminary research, I stumbled upon a website that noted that "there are studies that shy, introverted people are generally more sensitive to smell than sociable extrovert". Reading this sentence gave me immediate goosebumps. Perhaps my "Fragrance Story" is as much an exploration and indulgence in fragrances as it is about a self examination of who I am.


I hope you follow me on this fragrance journey! Please do subscribe to my blog (see various (they are irritating and I am sorry about that) pop up boxes or sign up in the box below). Drop me an email ( or DM me on my Instagram (@teacupofmakeup) and let me know what you think and if you have any suggestions for me. I always love hearing from you.

Yours Truly with Lots of Love, TeacupOfMakeup. 待会见! 可爱的小茶杯!


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