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Portrait Of A Perfume


How many times have you been gifted a bottle of perfume for no other reason than that it reminded the giver of you? Whether you loved or loathed the fragrance, did you ever pause to wonder how it reflected the giver’s perception of you?

Scents are not just powerful memory triggers but also an extension of our individuality. When a woman spritzes on a beloved perfume, she is subconsciously revealing a part of herself to the world. And if she understands the intimate connection between her scent and sense of self, then she would have likely seen Emma Leah for a bespoke perfume.

As the founder of Fleurage Perfume Atelier and Melbourne’s sole master perfumer, Emma has spent a decade creating extraordinary fragrances for women who desire a signature perfume. woman with drive spoke to her about bespoke perfumes and signature scents. But first, a few tips from Emma on the right ways to wear a perfume.



Where does olfactory rank among the five senses? 

I think olfactory should be the highest ranking sense. It is our primal system of attraction and repulsion, and the one sense that has uncensored processing of information. What we smell becomes memory. It is a pure experience. In reality though, olfactory is probably ranked last. We are ruled primarily by our eyes, despite the fact that sight is the one sense that can be fooled by illusion and light.


Do we all need a signature scent?
If you identify as a unique, empowered, individual woman then you would never be content smelling like everyone else. Scent creates memory. If you want to be memorable, your scent should set you apart.


How would a woman choose her signature scent?

A true signature fragrance should be designed as a bespoke perfume based on a woman’s personal relationship with scent. However, bespoke perfume is not within everyone’s reach so education is the key to finding a signature scent from the many shelf ranges.

Explore your taste palette to find out what you love, and then explore fragrances that mirror those tastes. Try them on to see how they make you feel, and how others respond to them. Your signature scent should be uplifting and bring you joy with every breath.


What is the difference between a create-your-own and a bespoke perfume?

It is the same difference between a seamstress-made dress and a couture piece. The former is beautiful but the latter carries more detail and finesse. Create-your-own perfumes are hugely popular because the ingredients are familiar. With a bespoke perfume, we are working with details from a person’s life and memory bank, and the ingredients are unfamiliar to most people. Everyone loves the idea of bespoke perfume but it is not for everyone. You must be really interested in the idea of customisation and not everyone is.




Is there such a thing as a type of skin being unable to wear a perfume?

We all have different body chemistries and natural body odours. Fragrances that match that odour will be absorbed, those that do not will be repelled and there are fragrances that your skin will radiate.

Wear a perfume for 24-hours to see the process it goes through and its longevity. A good perfume will last 24-hours and you should love it all the way to the dry down. Never choose a perfume based on the scented paper strips as it inaccurately represents the scent and does not tell you whether it suits your skin.


What is the average lifespan of a perfume?

A couple of years, if you keep it away from heat, sunlight or humidity. As soon as you pop the cap, it starts evaporating. You then have about a year before the top notes sink into the heart and base notes, and the fragrance changes completely. With old perfumes, all you smell are the base notes.


Does our scent palette change with age?

Yes. It deepens and broadens as we grow older. We become more open, tolerant and interested in a wider range of smells. When we are younger, we have a more linear, simplistic palette.


How did you find your signature scent? Tell us in the comments below.

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