I recently had the AWESOME experience of creating my own signature custom fragrance in a little hidden gem of a place in downtown NYC.
At The Scentarium, you will meet Sue Phillips who is a scent connoisseur and a renown fragrance expert.
Sue will teach you all things olfactory before you sit down to experience her bespoke blends which, while insanely pleasing all on their own, you ultimately will combine for your own custom fragrance.
You start by completing a quiz which gives insight into your tastes and preferences, which usually align with which blends you later choose.
Over tea, Sue takes you through her 18 blends and shares some incredible scent trivia that I’ll omit here just so you can experience it for yourself.
Now you may think, with the countless perfumes and colognes there are in the world, that 18 blends wouldn’t cover much territory. But Sue is able, with just her 18 blends, to recreate any existing or discontinued scent to “about 97% perfection and accuracy.” To be clear, if you have ever loved a scent that you can no longer get, Sue can make it for you!!
After my session, I asked Sue how she came upon the final 18 blends that guests mix and match from. And she explained –
In my 25+ years in the fragrance industry, I was immersed in fragrance and studied different fragrance families and the way fragrances are typically constructed – with Top Notes, Middle Notes and Base Notes. I wanted to be able to offer beautiful fragrances that didn’t take months or years to create and that were luxurious and affordable and not too complicated with hundreds of different blends or fragrances. So, I designed the 18 different ‘blends’ that span the entire Olfactive palate and collaborated with a lab to create exquisite blends. Each one is a perfume that can be worn alone, AND the beauty is that each blend can be combined to work in harmony with each other. So clients are able to combine 3 or 4 blends they love, to create a beautiful, unique, distinctive ‘custom’ fragrance. Each combination can be recreated as we store the formula in our database, and our clients/guests can reorder them anytime.
Sue sprays a scent strip of each one for you to experience and, because of the quality of her product, you are able to assess all 18 (with no confusion and no headaches!) and create piles of those that don’t appeal to you, those that do, and those you aren’t immediately sure about.
Sue shares that Americans typically like clean and sporty scents. Citrusy and fresh. Some like floral-y scents. But true to DIVA form, I am not your typical American.
I like spicy and earthy and sensual and seductive. Although I am a pretty decisive and instinctive person, it was surprisingly hard for me to pick my final 4 blends to create my custom fragrance. Having said that, I definitively knew what I did not like. So from those that I did like, Sue suggested holding the strips together in sets of 4 to experience them as a whole. This was super helpful. I ultimately realized I needed to add in a scent from my small ‘maybe’ pile to balance the blends in my ‘oh m god, yes yes yes” pile.
And with that, I confirmed my final 4.
And my signature scent was in the works.
Before Sue created it — in equal parts, if you were wondering the mix — and bottled it right before my eyes, she had one final request: that I name the scent.
This too was more challenging than I could have imagined and I repeatedly took the feather Sue spritzed with my bespoke perfume to smell it for inspiration. And then it finally came to me.
Ladies & gents, friends & lovers…. DIVAspice was born. [Whoooo wheeeeeee!]
I absolutely LOVE my custom fragrance and wear DIVAspice every single day. To me, it is the scent of a powerful and strong yet feminine and sexy woman.
It is a crowd-pleaser, yes, but most importantly it pleases me. It’s intoxicating in how it makes me smell – and feel. And that, at its core, is what fragrance should be.
Of course I think nothing compares to my own custom fragrance, but I had to ask Sue if there are ever duplicate final scents or if client’s tastes were generally more unique than the same. Sue surprised me with this one –
It’s extraordinary but there are never any duplicate scents, unless friends likes what each other has created. In the same way that everyone has their own DNA and thumbprint, everyone responds to our blends differently, and that is why it’s so wonderful that people can create and design their OWN custom scent and not have to wear what everyone wears.
This got me thinking about names. Were there duplicate names and also which names were Sue’s favorites. Sue had so many…
A woman going through a divorce called hers “Transition”; A young woman became a US citizen and called hers “Ms Independence”;
A man called his “Woodman’s Delight.”
Some others… Hampton’s Blue, Distillery, Kismet, Naked Chef, Pleasure K, Wedding Day, Kinky Penguin, La Bohemienne Urbaine.
It’s clear from her stories that everyone who spends time with Sue loves their experience and their takeaway fragrance.
Including very recently, Jamie Foxx.
If you want to get in on the bespoke action, Sue hosts Fragrance Bars for events like bridal showers, bachelorette parties, corporate team-building, and client entertaining, and also private experiences like I had at The Scentarium. Want to learn more? Contact her here. Note: it is a luxury experience and a prestige product and is priced accordingly.
For a special occasion or an unforgettable gift or for something totally unique and personalized for clients (or for yourself!), it is HIGHLY recommended.
Want to get your hands on my very own DIVAspice?? Or organize a fun group event with Sue? Women (and one man so far) are already asking!! Just complete our contact form and Sue & I will work together to make it happen!!
Believe me, you too will feel the #instaLOVE.
SNEAK PEEK!!! 🎥 I created my very own bespoke fragrance at this hidden NYC gem! Review coming soon to the site but I am ★obsessed★ with my custom scent and literally want to bathe in it. SO SO GOOD. Thank you @scentfullysue for the amazing experience!! PS, lesson learned – even when you don’t think you’ll be shooting photos or videos, wear makeup just in case! Oh well – next time!! 💋
NOTE: This post is not sponsored. All thoughts are unbiased and my own. Samples were provided for editorial consideration and/or my use as a professional makeup artist. All photos are property of DIVAlicious.
Lauren Cosenza is the creator and editor-in-chief of DIVAlicious, a trusted beauty/fashion expert, an on-camera personality and spokesperson, a leading NYC-based professional makeup artist, a published contributor and writer, a brand consultant, a product junkie and an insatiable style seeker — with a former life at Cosmopolitan and Shape magazines.
Serving up style with a side of attitude, her site DIVAlicious gives women (and men) the confidence and permission to be fabulous. The site, with a goal to SPREAD BEAUTY, is filled with must-have products, pro tips and tricks, how-to DIY tutorials, makeovers, style inspiration and insider access. Topics range from beauty, fashion, culture, career, fitness, wellbeing, men’s and unisex offerings.