Janetta Mackay: Nosing about

By Janetta Mackay

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Fragrance's ability to tap into our emotional olfactory memories gives it a unique power and a connection with our sense of well-being. Picture / Babiche Martens
Fragrance's ability to tap into our emotional olfactory memories gives it a unique power and a connection with our sense of well-being. Picture / Babiche Martens

The other day I had the fun experience of mixing up my own scent for a home diffuser. It was at a beauty event where I'm sometimes lucky to find what passes for work ends up being more of an indulgent experience.

But this PR exercise did underline that while everyone may be able to make a fragrance, it's not that easy to make a good one. Even mixing up a simple composition of a few essential oils requires imagination because, in their concentrated form, the oils may not smell as you expect them to.

Fragrance is a subject we all have preferences and opinions on. Its ability to tap into our emotional olfactory memories gives it a unique power and a connection with our sense of well-being. That is one reason people get so passionate about the subject as various recent Viva articles have explored.

This week's issue of Viva features another fragrance-maker with a unique take on the topic, thanks to Frances Shoemack's background in the New Zealand wine industry.

She enlisted the help of Australasia's only classically trained nose - former Aucklander Isaac Sinclair - to realise her vision. Hers is a boutique venture based in Amsterdam whereas The Aromatherapy Co. launch I attended here is from a big beauty business aimed at everyday affordability. Founder Sarah Townsend has spent years refining the balance between commercial success and her aromatherapy training.

What both women have in common is a commitment to authentic aromas and an international outlook.

Their "can do" stories, combined with the allure of fragrance, are inspiring. Townsend has done much to popularise home fragrances in this country and Australia. She is supporting much needed fundraising for the Mental Health Foundation with a special Therapy Range "Love" Mother's Day.

Stores will be awash with new fragrances in the lead-up to next month's big money spinner occasion. But don't discount the classics, they've endured for good reason. There's a huge range to choose from and people do get a bit precious about perfumes - myself included - but I say go with your instincts.

That's what I did when I combined bergamot, sandalwood, sweet orange and few drops of tea tree into a little glass vial. I'm hoping the team from The Aromatheraphy Co. turn my stumbling efforts into some semblance of the real deal.

Who wouldn't love a signature scent.

- VIVA

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