Say ‘Abercrombie’, and instantly images of ripped abs mingled with that signature heavy perfume comes to mind. Here’s another one for you, have you ever wondered why ION Orchard always smells so good?
That is all the secret (or not so secret) power of perfume. It turns out your olfactory senses are a lot more sensitive and important than you think. When it comes to perfume, no one knows it better than the CEO of Maison 21G, Johanna Monange.
With more than 20 years in the perfume industry working with industry giants such as Lancôme, Johanna can take a whiff of anything and know if it’s Channel No.5 or Victoria’s Secret. Perfume, as she relates to me, is a highly personal accessory one has in their repertoire. The one size fits all model for fragrances just doesn’t cut it anymore.
Sometimes, you’re in a flower-child kind of mood and want to smell of daisies and fresh, citrusy grapefruit. But other times, when date night rolls around, a dab of sensual jasmine and sultry musk is mandatory.
Undoubtedly, the world of perfumes run the gamut from the super high-end-costing-an-arm-and-leg premium Eau de Parfum to the watered-down nauseatingly sweet perfume sprays.
It’s complicated, overwhelming and will leave you heady with all the labels. That’s where Maison 21G comes in, to democratise the art of perfumes and thereby, making it more accessible to everyone. Maison 21G is where you can create your unique scent that’s suited to your personality.
That’s where I experimented and found my bespoke fragrance at Maison 21G’s newly opened outlet at ION Orchard, no less.
Maison 21g’s private atelier is where the magic happens. To make it as effortless and straightforward as possible, Johanna has crafted an AI-guided personality quiz from Schwartz Theory of Basic Values to suss out what your scent would be.
It ranges from practical questions such as age and skin colour (different skin tones react differently to fragrances) to more philosophical notions of what you value more and what traditions mean to you.
As an absolute sucker for personality quizzes, the 14-year-old me rejoiced and did this with gusto. The quiz will give you up to four combinations—two possible blends for a day and night perfume.
I was told to create a perfume that is different from anything you have in your collection. So, I opted for a combination of orange blossom and vanilla. Seeing as I have a horde of day scents, I decided my perfume shall be one for the evening.
Johanna works fast and swiftly, a master chemist with a nose attuned to even the slightest changes in the scent profile. At Maison 21G, there are two ways your perfume can be mixed.
The first one is with this high-tech machine, dubbed La Source, where Johanna worked painstakingly with engineers for three years to create.
This machine can distil perfume in 30 seconds which enables the process of creating bespoke perfumes a breeze. Like a Nespresso machine, all Johanna has to do is to insert the ‘capsules’ and with a click of a button, voila you have your own perfume.
For a more hands-on experience, you can create your perfume by weight. It involves the conscientious dropping of Maison 21G’s cruelty-free essential oils into their sleek perfume bottles. Not to mention, Maison 21G’s concentration of essential oil is 21%, which is by far the highest in the industry—a win for sure.
To give you an idea, the standard Eau de Parfum usually has a concentration of 20% of essential oils. While the Eau de Toilette, your usual run-of-the-mill perfumes, has a concentration of about 10% to 15% of essential oils.
As an Eau de Parfum, this bottle was indeed more intense with the intoxicating, earthy-sweetness of vanilla, accentuated by the sweet elegance of orange blossoms. I did feel a small swell of pride as I gave it a spritz, a scent of your creation is special indeed.
A perfume workshop like this will set you back S$120, where you’ll get more time to explore and design your unique scent. If you would like a quick grab-and-go, a bottle like this will be priced at S$80. There are even couples workshops for lovebirds, you can find out more about them here.
While it might be tempting to get cheaper, mass-marketed perfumes, the attentiveness and quality of essential oils at Maison 21G makes this bottle a steal. Not to mention, you can always go back for a refill when you’re done. It’s another way Maison 21G saves on packaging. Can we adore this brand anymore?
You know what they say, armed with the right perfume—you will be unstoppable.
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