A ScentSory Experience from Sue Philips’ Scenterprises

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A ScentSory Experience from Sue Philips’ Scenterprises

I know a fair amount about fragrance, but  there is always room to learn something new.  When it comes to fragrance, that’s what makes each new bottle, so exciting.

Sue Phillips , the President and CEO of Scenterprises is an expert in cosmetics, personal care and perfume/fragrance fields.  Her custom fragrance studio named “The Scentsorium” located in Tribeca (85 Franklin St., by appointment only) is designed to create bespoke perfumes.  But Sue also shares her considerable knowledge about fragrance and fragrance history with those who visit, thereby enriching their experience.

I didn’t know what to expect, but I assumed Sue’s offer to blend my own scent would be similar to the other experiences I’d had doing this — pick a few notes, ask someone to blend them together, and voila!  But Sue has a different approach to both blending and educating her “guests” (I hesitate to call them clients, because she really did treat me like a guest in her home) about fragrance.  Her Scentsorium was only a few weeks old when I visited on a very cold day.  Strains of Beethoven, and some steaming tea, beautifully presented in a pretty cup, immediately relaxed me.

sensorium test vials

Sue guides people through the process of building a scent in a very organized way so no one gets overwhelmed, but they can’t help but get excited. We sat in front of a large display of different fragrance samples.  I know my fragrance preferences and I didn’t need to sniff anything to know what categories I like, but if you arrive clueless Sue will patiently take you on a voyage of discovery, letting you sample scents, and helping you to  understand how perfumes are developed. She peppers her presentation with tidbits of fragrance trivia and history   The end goal of is for you to be confident enough to know what you like and to create your own fragrance at the end of the “journey.”

To begin, Sue told me a bit about her business background and how she got into fragrance (a lot of hard work including some on the crazy, difficult sales floor of Macy’s). Since I like Chypres, she told me a bit about their history and shared some tasty tidbits of information I didn’t know.    She told me that she personally owns 400 fragrances and wears a different one every day.  Since she couldn’t find one in her bag that morning she dabbed a few things together (from her own vials and potions) that morning before our meeting. I didn’t get close enough to smell what she was wearing but I’m sure it was lovely.

After chatting, Sue handed me the questionnaire she gives to all clients. I hate questionnaires and this one had the sort of questions I dislike, such as who are your style icons and what kind of vacation do you like.  Gamely, I took the quiz.  I was shocked when my answers were tallied and my fragrance profile was so perfectly “me.”

18 custom blends make it easier to create a bespoke fragranc

Sue’s 18 custom blends make it easier to create a bespoke fragrance

Soon, it was time to make my own fragrance.  Neophytes might not realize that fragrance has top, middle and bottom notes for complexity, but also to work off one another and balance out the scent. This is not something that an inexperienced person can do in an hour, or even a day or a bunch of days. It takes many tries, weeks, and months for even an experienced perfumer (nose) to get just the right blend of notes. Obviously, that is not an option for anyone unless they’re a fragrance company or fabulously wealthy with a lot of time on their hands.  Sue has made this process much easier and successful, by putting popular notes into 18 different blends in the various scent profiles. Although I understand a bit about blending and I know which scent categories and notes I like the best, when I started to blend, my fragrance choices ended up being bottom heavy–traditionally all bottom notes.  Since this is a process of discovery, Sue patiently let me try my top three (bottom heavy choices) first,  knowing what would happen but not saying anything.  But when I smelled it,  I knew, intrinsically, that all woods, spices and musk would would not make a balanced fragrance.  I figured that adding some citrus to the top would help, and I liked the woods and some aldehyhelic and ozonic, but it still it didn’t work. Sue gently and skillfully directed me without being pushy, to try different notes that would round out the fragrance and make it more balanced and wearable. We finally came up with a formula that was feminine but still spicy.  I called it “Leather and Lace” after my web site.

I was surprised how much I liked this (and I’ve since used it up–I own several hundred scents).   I spritzed some on and walked out, happily sniffing my “Leather and Lace” scented wrist and neck. I went shopping and as was in a store, a man came up to me and said:  “I don’t mean to bother you miss, but what is that fragrance you’re wearing, I’d like to buy it for my wife.”  I had to think for a minute what I was wearing, and then realized it was my new Leather and Lace fragrance. I told him it was one of a kind and not for sale. He looked really disappointed.  Later that morning, a woman leaned over in the subway and said “You smell really good.”  Again, I forgot for a moment it was my new Leather and Lace fragrance –rocking the world of scent in it’s first five hours!  That evening, my husband leaned over and smelled my neck and said “you’re wearing something new and I like it.” Leather and Lace has staying power, too..  Do I need to say more?

my signature fragrance: Leather and Lace!

my signature fragrance: Leather and Lace!

THE FRAGRANCE:  Leather and Lace  is a “fresh oriental” that is  slightly spicy. It’s sexy but not too heavy. It is meant to be smelled up close but it will encourage people to come closer to smell it.  It is so exclusive it even has its own registration number. Right now, Leather and Lace is exclusive to me, but if you want to experience Leather and Lace for yourself, I can have Sue make more — if there is a demand– contact me!

The experience of visiting the Scentsorium was more than just fun, it was unique.  Sue offers this service for individuals, and also for groups (there is a discount for groups of 5 and groups of 10).  I didn’t get an exact price of the Scentsorium, but Sue did say that the normal cost of a visit is several hundred dollars, although it includes your signature fragrance.  On the other hand, if you were really developing your own fragrance you couldn’t do it for a couple of hundred dollars.  The sample vial you see in the photo is what she offered me as a journalist. Paying clients get a larger bottle and it’s genuine, concentrated perfume which is always costly.  The experience plus the ounce of genuine fragrance is actually reasonable.  You can upgrade to a fancier bottle, or a larger one.

sensorium colelction of fregrances

some of the fragrances that Sue owns, attractively displayed

This is a fun experience to share with the special women (or men) in your life. The Scenterprises’ Custom Perfume experience can be enjoyed anywhere and any-time by individuals or corporations as there are “fragrance ambassadors” across the country who canoffer this experience in your home, your office, hotels, and restaurants.For more information visit: http://scenterprises.com/the-scentsorium/ call 646-350-6562 or 917-449-1134or email info@scenterprises.com

*apologies for the less than perfect photos–my camera phone diva’d out of me–but I still wanted to use my own photos to illustrate my personal experience. You can see better ones on the Scenterprises web site scentsorium area

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