October 5th, 2014

Mill Beauty and LOOKER recently hosted "Fragrance Creation Evening" at The Mill’s New York studio. Sue Phillips, fragrance expert and President of Scenterprises, introduced guests to the art of fragrance creation and gave them the opportunity to create their own personal scent from eleven fragrance blends. We asked Sue to share her expertise about the power of scents and the art of creating personalized fragrances.

The origin of perfumes can be traced back to ancient Egyptian religious ceremonies where scented smoke – or incense - was used to communicate with the gods. The word perfume actually derives from the Latin for “through smoke” or "per fumus".  As perfumes expanded into personal use, so did the formats and range of scents, becoming the $8-$10 billion global industry it is today.

The Sense of Smell

The sense of smell is our most primal sense and the strongest sense after sight. It’s the only sense linked to the limbic system which supports a variety of functions including emotion, behavior, motivation, long-term memory and olfaction. As one of the structures of the limbic system, the olfactory bulb connects the smell with memory and emotion, explaining how certain smells can evoke powerful reactions and alter experiences.

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The Power of Scents

Scents are also used to alter moods, stimulate the mind, or calm and relax. For example, Citrus scents are great for productivity – they make one feel uplifted, productive and energetic. Herbaceous scents, such as lavender, are ideal for making you feel calm and relaxed.

The creation of perfumes requires knowledge of art and scent to utilize the best ingredients that span the seven main olfactive families. Perfumes are created by combining Top notes (usually bright sparkling notes of Citrus, Green, Ozonic notes), Middle notes (florals, spices, fruity notes) and Base notes (Woody, Amber, Patchouly and Mossy notes).

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Personalized Scents

To create a personal scent, Sue recommends matching the scents with the person's lifestyle and personality. Sensual scents, such as the Oriental category (Spicy, Ambers and Musks), convey a sense of sophistication, and Woody fragrances, such as Sandalwood, give you a sense of being ‘grounded’. Florals are associated with feminine attributes, while Green, Sporty scents with a hint of Juniper berry are ideal for masculine personalities.

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With the power of modern technology, product customization is a growing trend across industries, including “bespoke” fragrances. From the shirt on your back to the waft of your scent when you enter a room, the avenues of self-expression are endless.

Find out more about bespoke fragrance creation and how you can create your own scent at