Dubai: Revealing the secrets behind creating your own perfume

How fragrances are made to order in a simple laboratory to create a unique aroma that determines the very essence of your individuality

By Leslie Wilson Jr; Photos and Videos: Shihab

Published: Thu 29 Sep 2022, 9:23 PM

Last updated: Fri 30 Sep 2022, 6:56 AM

Anabelle has been a fan of perfumes for as long as she can remember. She recalls that her mother had a big influence on helping her develop her tastes at a young age.

Anabelle’s favourite place in the house was her Mum’s dressing table, which was filled with a collection of perfume bottles.

The defining moment came when Anabelle entered her teens and she was gifted a bottle of cologne. That was the start of a life-long love affair with fragrances, which soon became a big part of her life.

Anabelle later discovered that scents could affect a person’s mood and that you could customise your personal fragrance to reflect your personality.

Today, most of her fragrances are made to order.

So, why choose a bespoke perfume?

Like Annabelle, it is a well-known fact that many of the world’s cognoscenti (perfume lovers) use unique, customised scents that allow them to feel distinguished.

This is possible through the growing number of perfumer-creators, like Safia Perfumes and Cosmetics in Dubai, one of the UAE’s oldest stores that stock a whole range of branded perfumes and also specialise in bespoke made-to-order perfumes.

A visit to the outlet is a testament to the popularity of made-to-order perfumes, with scent-loving individuals being focused on creating a smell that radiates their image, builds confidence, and puts a smile on their face.

The high-perfumery world of Safia

Being able to master fragrance notes is the key to making a perfect perfume. At Safia, perfume maisons Dilip Tahiliani and his son Manish (pictured below) have a deeper understanding of the business which helps them to create the perfect fragrance for you.

“As scent specialists, we are focused on creating scents that make our customers smile,” says Dilip. “We help you to choose a perfume that can reflect your personality. We make your perfume right before your eyes, without any fuss. The raw materials we use are sourced from the best perfumeries in Europe. They are genuine, economical, and long-lasting.

Manish, who spearheads the made-to-order decision of Safia, says bespoke is the actual way of using perfumes. “Over 300 years ago, there was no technology like the atomiser or pump. Perfume makers used to extract the essence of flowers, fruits, spices and create fragrances that were sold in a bottle. Then came the transition," he says.

“The wonderful thing is that perfumes are like a time machine. They take you back in time to a memory, incident, or notable occasion. They are sensory objects. However, while creating a customised perfume, it is important to consider a person’s body acidity, the food they eat, and the temperature,” adds Manish. “Perfumes are very sensitive and anything can alter the final odour.”

What goes into the making of perfume?

Like a music score, a fragrance is essentially the different scent notes or layers that combine to make up the final smell. These scents are split into three elements: top notes, middle notes, and base notes.

Graphic by Raja Choudhury
Graphic by Raja Choudhury

Even the Hungarians, who are credited with creating the first modern perfume, used this formula. The modern perfume is made of scented oils blended in an alcohol solution and a touch of distilled water.

The first perfume is believed to have been made in 1370 following a request by Queen Elizabeth of Hungary and was known throughout Europe as Hungary Water.

In 1976, Henry Jacques developed a reputation for creating bespoke scents of the highest quality which he created to complement their wearer and become an extension of their identities.

Jacques' clients were able to have their tailor-made scents filled in uniquely designed crystal, artisan bottles that were very unique at the time.

Henry Jacques has evolved into a unique perfume house that is deeply rooted in the French tradition and know-how of great perfumeries.

Jacques only offers perfumes in its own boutiques to guarantee an honest and personalised experience.

Graphic by Raja Choudhury
Graphic by Raja Choudhury

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