Smile-in-a-VialOver the winter holiday, a serendipitous encounter with an utterance of the phrase “perfume artist” catalyzed a transformation of my decades of casual but purposeful fragrance-sniffing into a foray into the world of perfumery. I resolved to learn to deconstruct scents with the aim to create new ones.

This would be a perfect pursuit for me, to sharpen my nose—a fine physical challenge, which also requires the mental component of slowing down and paying attention (a small, conscious choice that reaps dividends in so many situations)—and stimulate my brain with new concepts and vocabulary that have nothing to do with my work.

Fortunately, I did not have to wait too long to satisfy my newbie eagerness to run before walking and make a concoction. With the expert instruction of Cher, I was able to select key ingredients (which she provided advice on, proportioned, bridged, and mixed while I sat in anticipation and sniffed the interim blends) for my first custom natural perfume—a happy pick-me-upper with an orangey-floral aroma.

  • Top notes: grapefruit, bergamot
  • Middle notes: sweet orange, tangerine, rosewood
  • Bottom notes: amyris, rose, neroli

Of course, getting to name your fragrance is arguably as exciting as the alchemy itself. Ergo, not something to be rushed, I told myself as I drew a large blank on what to call this new wonder. A few days later, as I was drifting off to sleep (or trying to), it came to me.

I’d been listening to Nathalie’s whimsical song “Smile-in-a-box” and had felt compelled to share it with a friend, who said it brightened her mood. So there it was. Smile-in-a-vial!






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