My sister wanted to do a workshop together when we were planning a day out to celebrate my birthday. Perfume-making was on my list of things to try, so we chanced upon Maison21g when searching for perfume workshops in Singapore.
We signed up for a session at the flagship outlet at Duxton, which was a beautiful and brightly sunlit space. The workshop started off with some theory about perfume, before we dived into the scent design.
The first step to get us started was for us to complete a quick personality test to discover our scent style - this is super helpful as a starting point, but the perfumiers who were assisting us reassured that we didn't have to limit our choices to the quiz's recommendations.
Boy, was he right about being helpful to start with! If you've followed my workshop journeys, you would know how indecisive I can be in general :D Having a starting point of I think, 8 scents to discover my preferences, was still challenging for me (in comparison, my sister took a much shorter time to decide what she liked / not). I suppose it's because I don't wear perfume, and she does.
One of the big struggles I had was trying to think of what I would like to smell like, versus what I would like a room to smell like. There's a difference between liking a smell vs being that smell. It's a bit more confusing for me because I've done a scented candle workshop and attempted to make scented candles so I kinda have a sense of what I like a room to smell like, but don't actually even have any experience wearing perfume on myself!
Matthew, the perfumier helping me, was a godsend. I couldn't decide, and I just started explaining the person I am, and the way I would like people to perceive me. And what I didn't want to smell like. And with all these bits of information, he picked out a bunch of scents as recommendations for me. A very cool thing he did was to turn the smell sheets over so I can't see the name of it, so that I could evaluate the smell before seeing the name of what it was. I tried to guess them, and got the general direction right quite a few times (or at least Matthew was super encouraging and made me feel that way!).
Most of the session was spent mutually asking each other to smell our choices for each other (but Was mostly me asking her for her help).
We were also advised to bring our shortlisted combinations near the entrance, because the fragrance can be a bit different when outdoors.
After careful mixing of our scents, I got my perfume! I was looking for something gender neutral, and also more unusual (I told Matthew I didn't want to smell like body foam since if I'm going to make the effort to wear perfume, I wanted it to be quite different).
Mine has a mix of Ginger, Myrrh, Oud, Tonka, Muguet - a bit of spice to surprise, and also a bit of unusual "historical" bits to have that special story (Myrrh is a gum-resin from a tress used in one of the earliest perfumes, and was also used to embalm mummies back in the day. Super fascinating and smells really interesting, too). My sister's fragrance turned out quite different from mine - just like how we're also quite different personalities in reality.
One super super cool thing (to me) was that we can come up with a perfume name and get it printed on our glass bottles directly! Apparently they can print emojis and other language characters too. My sister and I settled on a simple date to mark the occasion, with a small signature of our initial. It looks so professional, I cannot stop looking at it!
We were also gifted a few small solid fragrance and fragrance oils of the components in our own scents. Matthew mentioned that if we used them together with our perfumes, it helps to bring out the scent more, and allow the fragrance to last a little longer.
Here's us and the super awesome Matthew! (My sister had a little crisis at the end because she accidentally added too much of one scent into her mix causing it to become too sweet, but Matthew helped salvage the situation and bring in a new additional scent to rebalance the entire thing, and bring a new edge to her final perfume. She was so happy)
I had a really enjoyable time with my sister, and would recommend this as an activity with friends and loved ones. It was truly an enjoyable experiencing trying to figure out what's me + smell has a powerful impact on memory, and I hope the fragrance brings back all the good memories of the special day out I had with my sister whenever I use it <3
Details of the workshop
Duration: 1 hour (but because I took a while to decide, it took me closer to 2 hours)
Price: $150 per person, booked on Maison21g's website, where I got to bring home my own personalized perfume (complete with customization of perfume name printed directly on the glass bottle). I was also gifted a few small-sized pieces of solid fragrance and fragrance oil of some of the fragrance components of my final perfume
Level of "fun": 4/5
The part where I had the most fun was when Matthew was passing me some sheets which he sprayed some fragrance on to recommend to me, and I was trying to guess what the smells were. I got a number of them right! Another aspect that was enjoyable was trying to figure out what scent suits me - I appreciate how there was a mix of ways to help me find my scent (because I'm always so indecisive), and through the process, I was also trying to describe myself and what's "me" to Matthew to guide me along.
Level of difficulty: 1/5
Making the perfume itself is super easy - so it's really straightforward in case anyone is worried that you'll not get a decent fragrance at the end of it. However, the difficulty increases exponentially when it comes to choosing and mixing a fragrance that's truly "me". Because there are so many different scents you can mix and match, it can be a challenge to decide! Also, it does take a good nose to be able to tell different scent notes apart - after some time, I needed a bit of a break because my nose just wasn't that great and distinguishing different combinations. That is where the perfumier's guidance REALLY made a difference. It was so incredibly helpful to get Matthew's recommendations on scents that would fit the type of personality I was trying to convey. Highly highly recommend having a skilled perfumier beside to guide you in the process, especially for those (like me) who don't have much experience with fragrance or have distinct preferences.