Perfume Chronicles: Crafting My Signature Scent in Singapore

Spice Spiked Tonka Tales perfume

Scent holds an indescribable power, capable of evoking memories, influencing emotions, and defining identity. It is this magic that brought me to the doorsteps of Sifr Aromatics, an oasis of calm on the otherwise vibrant Arab Street in the Kampong Gelam neighborhood in Singapore. I met Johari Kazura, a third-generation perfumer, the creative mind behind the artisanal perfume house, and my guide in crafting my very own scent.

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Enchanting Ambiance

Exploring the Sifr Aromatics Workshop on Arab Street

The Sifr Aromatics workshop exudes an inviting ambiance with its dark wood and gold shelves, creating a serene and relaxing atmosphere. Nestled within a stunning heritage shophouse on Arab Street in the Kampong Glam district, it held a sense of hidden charm. As I entered, the air carried delicate wisps of incense and the comforting scent of burning candles, setting the stage for an immersive perfumery experience.

The shelves showcased an array of captivating items, including candles, perfume samples, and ornate decorative bottles, adding to the allure of the space. During my visit, Johari, shared an interesting insight—that perfumes tend to improve with age, much like the enhanced flavors of pasta that mature over time. This comparison drew a fascinating parallel between the art of perfume-making and the culinary world, highlighting the creative and transformative nature of both endeavors.

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Creating a Lasting Impression

The Power of My Signature Scent

Johari is the master guide on my journey to creating my signature scent. It will be my memorable imprint– what people will associate with me from this point onwards. I hope to create something so unique that it becomes my personal aromatic statement. Something that will make me stand out in a crowd– for all the right reasons, lol.

Johari says that at Sifr Aromatics, we’ll not only craft a unique fragrance, but also embark on an olfactory adventure. “Sifr” translates to “zero” in Arabic, signifying a state of emptiness that precedes the birth of all creations. That’s deep, right? In the end, I hope to blur the lines between a scent and souvenir– the mental recollections of all my travels– into a perfume that is exclusively me.

Sounds like creation to me. And I’m down with that.

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Finding the Extraordinary in the Ordinary

Crafting a Personal Fragrance

I’m not a celebrity. I recognize that designing a personal fragrance, especially in a place as glamorous as Singapore, is quite an indulgence for most people ( my husband). But, I don’t think we need to be rich or famous to feel extraordinary? In my humble opinion, being a celebrity shouldn’t be a requirement for indulging in something that makes us feel special. Creating my own unique scent goes beyond luxury; it’s a journey of self-discovery and a celebration of the collection of my personal experiences. Because, isn’t it true that we all deserve to feel a bit extraordinary in our own ways?

The price isn’t cheap. Prices start at $250 SGD and go up from there. Prices increase based on the ingredients used, such as rose or sandalwood. However, according to Johari, only 5% of his customers spend more than $300 on their signature scent.

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From Idea to Aroma

The Initial Steps in Perfume Creation

Crafting a personal fragrance isn’t something that happens in an instant; it’s a meticulous and thoughtful process, a journey from a conceptual idea to a tangible aroma. The first steps start with understanding yourself, your preferences, and the memories or emotions you wish to evoke through the scent.

A workshop at Sifr Aromatics is a carefully curated experience. Because it is a deeply personal endeavor, workshops are by appointment only. This ensures that each person receives undivided attention and that the atmosphere remains intimate and conducive for such a unique journey.

During the first appointment, which lasts about two hours, Johari, tries to understand the type of perfume you want to design. This is a critical part of the process as it sets the foundation for the scent you will create. Johari facilitates this by asking a series of questions designed to uncover your scent preferences, memories associated with certain aromas, and the overall olfactory profile you’re attracted to.

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Scent Mapping

The Journey Begins with a Lot of Questions

This conversation with Johari is more than a simple Q&A session; it’s an exploratory dialogue where you delve into your past experiences, lifestyle, and personality traits. This helps Johari understand your unique story and how it can be translated into a scent. By the end of this initial stage, you’ll have a clearer idea of what you want your signature scent to embody, paving the way for the actual creation of the perfume. Some important questions to think about:

  1. Why do you want a signature perfume?
  2. Do you want to wear this perfume daily?
  3. What is your favorite perfume that you’ve worn previously and why?
  4. Do you want a strong or subtle scent?
  5. Are there any scents you don’t like?
  6. Do you have any allergies?
  7. What’s the maximum amount you’re willing to spend on creating your custom scent?
  8. What types of scents are you naturally drawn to? (e.g., floral, woody, citrus, spicy, sweet)
  9. Are there any specific memories or experiences you want your scent to trigger?
  10. Would you like your scent to change throughout the day, revealing different notes over time?
  11. What mood or feeling would you like your scent to evoke? (e.g., calm, energized, sensual, confident)
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Unearthing Aromatic Echoes

The Selection of My Signature Scent Ingredients

Following our insightful Q&A session, we plunged into the hands-on part of the process—exploring and selecting the scent notes that would compose my signature fragrance. This is the part I had been waiting for. For the next hour or so, Johari presented a number of scents for me to smell.

In the end, we selected ambergris and Jamaican allspice as the top notes. The ambergris, a rare and luxurious ingredient with a unique marine-like aroma, mirrored my affinity for deep and mysterious scents. The Jamaican allspice, a vibrant and complex spice, resonated with my energetic and multifaceted personality. These top notes would be the first scents to make an impression.

For the heart notes, we picked white pepper and vanilla bean. The white pepper, with its bold, slightly pungent aroma, added a touch of adventure and daring to the blend, reflecting my spirited nature. The vanilla bean, a comforting and universally loved scent, brought a sense of warmth and sweetness, akin to my nurturing attributes.

Finally, for the base note—the scent that would linger the longest—we selected tonka bean. The tonka bean scent profile is complex. The primary are often described as vanilla-like. The scent is similar to fresh-cut grass, giving the scent an earthy character.

I carefully picked out each ingredient. Now, they were all ready. Next up was the cool mixing process. The goal? To create a scent that was totally unique —just like me.

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Alchemy of Aromas

The Blending of My Signature Scent

Once the ingredients were carefully selected, the next stage was the blending process. Johari masterfully started mixing the ambergris, Jamaican allspice, white pepper, vanilla bean, and tonka bean. But then, something wasn’t quite right—the citrus element was overshadowing the spicy nuances. Johari tweaked the blend, readjusting the quantities until the mix perfectly represented my personality and preferences.

With the adjusted blend in hand, it was time to really put it to the test. But this trial wasn’t confined to the workshop. Johari recommended that I take a stroll around Arab Street for about an hour. The goal was to see how the scent would evolve with my body’s chemistry and Singapore’s tropical heat.

The evolution of the fragrance during my walk was a captivating experience. The top notes of ambergris and Jamaican allspice, with their spicy kick, initially took center stage. As my body warmed with the walk, the heart notes of white pepper and vanilla began to unfurl, adding an entirely new layer to the scent.

Yet the true spectacle occurred as the fragrance melded with my skin. The tonka bean, rich, sweet, and subtly woody, began to unfold, crafting a scent that was uniquely mine. Interestingly, by the time I returned to the workshop, Johari had already picked up on the overbearing citrus and rectified it, putting the finishing touches on my signature fragrance.

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Spice Spiked Tonka Tales

Crafting Personal Fragrance Memories with Johari

To me, the bond between memories and aromas is powerful and deeply personal. Despite the variety of commercial perfumes available, I had yet to find one that genuinely spoke to me, worked with my chemistry, or didn’t provoke my allergies. Working with Johari, I’ll get address my particular requirements.

Aromas such as curry, the ocean, lilacs, and cotton candy aren’t just random scents; they’re like bridges that take me back to special moments in my life. Each time I smell them, it’s like a trip down memory lane–a tangible link to specific moment in my life. Now I have a brand new one. Spice Spiked Tonka Tales is my signature scent. Hopefully it will live up to the hype and become a new source for future memories.

Immerse yourself in the captivating world of scent creation at Sifr Aromatics. Uncover the power of aromas that bridge cherished memories. Discover a signature scent that speaks to your soul, like Spice Spiked Tonka Tales. Embrace the sentimental significance of a personalized fragrance—an everlasting keepsake that connects you to your past with every enchanting spritz.

Stacey Peters

I guess it’s no secret, I am a sentimental person. I’ve always cherished souvenirs that carry significant personal meaning. Unlike ordinary trinkets, I shop for something more significant, usually something useful. A personalized fragrance, in this context, like the one I created at Sifr Aromatics, is more than just a scent. It’s a sensory keepsake, a piece of time and personal history that I could reconnect with every time I wear it.

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42 Arab Street, Singapore 199741

Opening Hours
Mon & Tue by appointment only
Wed – Sat: 11am – 8pm
Sun & public holidays: 11am – 5pm

Phone+65 6392 1966

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