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Poppy Barley

Magazine  v

The Tutorial

Bespoke Perfume and How Scent Triggers Memories

It is a matter of seconds from scent to memory. As a child, I recall the evenings my mother would go out. As she leaned over to kiss me goodnight, her perfume – rich and silky – would flood into my nose. I would be left still softly inhaling the aroma even after she had walked out the door. A comfort I will never forget – as if her perfume encapsulated her womanly essence, and froze it in time. This is the power of perfume. It becomes our invisible legacy, even long after we are gone.

I didn’t foresee becoming an alchemist and perfumer. But when I think back to my childhood, the markers are clear. From an early age, I had an obsession and deep appreciation for nature, with a passion for mixing natural ingredients, especially with scent. I was the poet kid, who studied song lyrics, and set up potion stands on the end of my street. Thinking back, I guess I was little eccentric.

The Tutorial - Pura Botanicals Lane Edwards writes about bespoke perfume and how scent triggers memory

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Perfuming is an unpredictable process at times, not an exact science. You can predict what you get when you mix two colors, but you can’t actually predict what will happen when you mix two scents. Art, intuition, enchantment, and a trained nose allows a good perfumer to create a scent that is not yet found in nature, but something new that captures the evanescence of nature. It starts with an abstract idea, and transforms into a personal masterpiece. Your perfume should smell impossibly lovely with intense purity, like a secret you must lean-in so close for, it envelopes your whole body in its fragile trinity of base, heart and top notes.

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The Tutorial - Pura Botanicals Lane Edwards writes about bespoke perfume and how scent triggers memory

At Pura Botanicals, I sit down with our clients one-on-one to build them their own signature bespoke perfume. First, I conduct an intimate scent analysis. This helps me understand your scent history. I ask questions like, “ What is your first memory of perfume? What perfume did you wear at age 16, 25, 35…? What are your comfort smells?”

Second, I’ll ask a question you may not expect, like, “When do you feel most naturally beautiful?” Your custom fragrance is profound, so there is nothing superficial about this process. Together, we tap into your femininity and primal qualities, which makes it fun and interesting for both of us.

The Tutorial - Pura Botanicals Lane Edwards writes about bespoke perfume and how scent triggers memory

The Tutorial - Pura Botanicals Lane Edwards writes about bespoke perfume and how scent triggers memory

When building a perfume, we begin with choosing your top, heart and base notes. We are attracted to different notes according to our inherent likes and dislikes, mood, and personality. The classic fragrance families like Floral, Oriental, Woody, Fresh, Leather, Modern, Chyse, and Fougere make up the different notes.

At Pura, we acquire the most pure oils and essences to build our non-toxic perfumes. Traditionally, perfumes rely on 80% synthetic ingredients, and usually a mere 15% natural ingredients. Synthetic molecules are cheap and long lasting, but lack complexity, richness and depth.

The Tutorial - Pura Botanicals Lane Edwards writes about bespoke perfume and how scent triggers memory

The Tutorial - Pura Botanicals Lane Edwards writes about bespoke perfume and how scent triggers memory

Natural perfumery is almost a lost art since it takes so much time, knowledge and investment. Natural oils are composed of tens and hundreds of molecules, and our sense of smell is capable of recognizing their true beauty and esoteric allure. Synthetic perfumes contain harmful phthalates and chemicals that accumulate as toxic pollutants in our bodies, oceans and water supply.

At Pura, we feel science is grand, but nature is opulent. When we apply perfume there is an unspeakable romance that happens between the scent and your skin. It has the power to evoke deep emotion, recall a forgotten memory, and express a side of you that is sometimes hidden. Self-expression through perfume is one of life’s greatest luxuries. In pure we trust.

Lane Edwards

Guest Contributor
Lane is the founder, alchemist & perfumer of Pura Botanicals, an eco-luxe collection of skincare for the urban naturalist based out of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Inspired by her travels, and her studies in Australia, Lane ensures the quality of her green beauty potions down to the formulating, concocting, hand labelling, and shipping worldwide. Pura's pristine in-house production studio and bespoke perfume services are a rare gem in our pursuit to live well, and nourish with nature.