Birthdays. Showers. Girls’ Night. Bachelorette. The list of events for which we buy gifts is never ending. In a Pinterest obsessed world, pressure mounts to find the best idea/bargain/wrapping/everything for every gifting event. I’m an experience person – I’d rather LIVE it than unwrap it. To celebrate my birthday this year, I thought it would be fun to visit the Custom Perfume Studio at NOTE Fragrances in downtown Scranton. When I discovered that Danielle and her team host Private Perfume Parties, I was completely sold. A few girlfriends were excited at the idea and so we headed to the corner of Spruce and Wyoming.
Nine of us gathered in the boutique and chatted, ultimately sitting down with champagne, mineral water, strawberries, and truffles. Before each of us was a Perfumer’s Organ where fifty vials of fragrance and essential oils fit into scent families such as “Fresh,” “Floral,” and “Earthy.” A perfume pyramid explained how scent is built with base, middle, and top notes. Most importantly, the team of Scentologists mingled with us, guiding the creation of our own unique fragrances. Before unleashing us with paper wands, known by the professionals as fragrance blotters, and freedom to smell, Danielle encouraged us all to sample the Frangipani vial. As she explained the fragrance notes and complimenting scents, she introduced us to the magical world of perfumery. She encouraged us to be bold and be honest. Perfume is very personal and completely visceral: when you find your scent you know it.
Our group was a varied one ranging in age from 10 to 50, representing a broad spectrum of careers, hobbies, life choices, and temperaments. As we started, each of us gravitated to vials that we knew we liked. I dipped my first wand blotter into Sandalwood. As we progressed towards the 3-7 wand blotter combination that would result in a bottle of our signature scent, there were moments of doubt. “Just give me a bottle of ‘Deanne!’ exclaimed Sarah, frustrated to not have found the right blend and envious of Deanne’s perfume. Danielle soothed, “Trust the process, I promise it will come to you.” And it did. Sarah nailed it! We waffed and waved and sniffed. We sampled each other’s final products, marveling at the cheery, citrus notes of Scarlett’s and earthiness of Cathryn’s. We gladly accepted input from Danielle and Alyssa when we couldn’t find that missing piece to our perfume puzzle.
It was a perfect Sunday afternoon. Creating our “scent story” was one part science, one part art, and many parts heart. We learned a little more about each other, and certainly something about ourselves. I’m headed back to NOTE for Mother’s Day with my mother, sister, sisters-in-law, and my trusty nasal palate. Bottling memories, friendship, and a good time was the best gift I’ve found.
401 Spruce Street | Scranton, PA
570-343-2100 | notefragrances.com
By Juliet Dunham