The Psychology of Scent

Danielle Fleming has clients bottling up their feelings. This Scranton entrepreneur has shaped her graduate studies in psychology into NOTE Fragrances—a sleek Custom Perfume Studio & Boutique Perfumery, where a client draws upon memories and moods to blend a palette of fragrance and essential oils into a uniquely customized scent. A retail boutique of organic luxuries for the bath, body and home, NOTE Fragrances is also a sensory playground of endless olfactory possibilities.

mugshot“You determine your scent story,” explains Danielle. “That story has roots in the limbic system of your brain, which supports emotions, behavior, memory–and connects directly to your sense of smell.” Danielle’s penchant for psychology plunged her into a study of scent, mood, and behavior. Spending time with the famed Swiss-based fragrance house, Firmenich, as well as studying herbal techniques in Italy and perfumery at Cinquieme Sens, a Parisian perfumery training school, Danielle found her way to “placing the creative process of scent into the consumer’s hands.”

Lured by the NOTE ad in Local Flair, Kristina and Amanda Amato—two sisters—ventured out from their vacation cottage in Pocono Summit and into the trendy strip of Spruce Street. “NOTE looked like a perfect ‘girls day out,’” says Amanda.  When the sisters stepped into the gleaming NOTE studio, the psychology and chemistry of scent was soon to be explained to them.

The moment Danielle placed a “Perfumer’s Organ” of 50 color-coded vials of scent before each sister, the fun began. A short lesson on scent families and note classifications preceded Kristina and Amanda’s dipping fragrance blotters into the amber vials and fanning their

olfactory receptors with the dampened strips. They shared scent blotters and musings. The coconut conjured shared memories on the beach; the amber brought reflections of their love of the Pocono outdoors.

Kristen immediately zeroed in on fragrance_bar2_2mbFrangipani, a tropical scent. “It’s so nicely floral, so relaxing,” she mused. “I love summer, and a clean, ‘out of the shower, smell,’” she explained, as she wafted strips of amber, coconut, vanilla, and sweet bay leaf in shifting combinations with the Frangipani. Kristen, a kindergarten teacher, relied upon her supreme organizational skills to strategize her way through the tiers of scents.

Amanda, a professional artist, preferred randomly selecting among the amber bottles to come up with the perfect combination. “I’m in love with pretty much all of them,” she laughed. Then came her epiphany. “Wow! I love the hiking and the outdoors! And every scent in my fragrance clip is an outdoor one!”

Danielle wove the sisters’ “ah’s” and giggles with gentle, professional guidance. “Did you try the clary sage with that combination?” she asked. “It’s a perfect middle note.” Danielle recommends notes that go well with a client’s selections. “I help the customer connect with the scents,” she says. She then formulates the choices, adjusting the proportions of each scent to produce a perfect balance. “In these bottles is where psychology, chemistry and art come together,” she professes.

If you love fragrances but want to leave the creative process to the expert, Danielle also carries eight “house blends”—a Signature Collection of eau de parfums for both men and women. Inspired by travel and love, these scents are sure to connect to the heart of all.

NOTE Fragrances is located at 401 Spruce Street in Scranton, PA. For more info, call 570.343.2100 or visit You may also follow them on to see the Custom Perfume Studio in action!

By Karen Tetor
Photos by Rob Lettieri

Fun Fact: NOTE Fragrances were included in 2014 Primetime Emmy Awards Swag bags.

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We are the premiere lifestyle magazine of the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania.