My love affair with Chanel No. 5 has been going on for almost twenty years now.

I remember getting a talc when I was little, and every Christmas for the past five years or more, there’s been a familiar bottle of eau de toilette under the tree.

Last year my husband got me J.Lo Live, and I fell head over heels for something new. While Lady Chanel in the classy clear, black-topped bottle sits more-than-half full a year after it was given to me, harlot Live in its brightly colored flacon is down to the very dregs. I’ve been fiending for a new signature scent for a while now, and I recently had the good fortune of sampling products from not one, but TWO companies that allow the consumer to create customized scents. Let me tell you bellas, being a perfumier isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be!

The first company that approached me was Scent Design, an online custom fragrance store that allows customers to devise their own signature scent combination. 1 oz. fragrance oil bottles blend up to 5 different scents and cost $20. I recieved a 1/3 oz. bottle that combined three different scents. At $10, these could make for a wonderful, personalized stocking stuffer.

But make sure to choose your scents carefully!

The company’s owner, the very friendly and helpful Stephen Jackson, encourages his customers to think long and hard about the mix they’d like because scent has such a strong emotional/memory connection.

I went through the lengthy fragrance list, and decided to be creative. Too creative. I looked at the notes of some of the perfumes I want to buy at Sephora, and asked for a combination of jasmine, vanilla, and sandalwood. Extreme floral,sweet dessert, and woody earthiness.

These wonder twin powers activated into a funky Eau de Grandma scent that clung to me for hours (I blame my sandalwood + jasmine oil combo. The smell was like musty flowers).

Despite my struggles to find my perfumier feet with Scent Design, I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a unique holiday gift. At ten bucks, you can’t go wrong! The personalized touch is perfect for the season, and if you stick to a simple blend, I am sure that the results will be delicious and long lasting.

If I had to choose three scents all over again, I’d go for a safe combination of gardenia and green tea, or vanilla hazelnut.

Urban Botanic takes a more hands-on approach to fragrance customizing. After filling out a detailed six page survey, consultant Shawna Straub declared that I was “herby”.

The description was dead on: “An Herby’s favorite place to be is at home. They’re happiest there when a friend is with them, relaxing on the porch with a cup of tea, talking about the latest drama in life. Herbies worry about everyone and everything. They love to be flattered and are very enthusiastic when you’re telling them a story.” So true, it’s scary!

I felt a bit frustrated at the end of the survey, because I wasn’t immediately able to read a description of the notes of my scent, or see other possible blends. But Shawna got in touch with me ASAP and helped me figure out the best way to customize my signature scent. I told her I wanted to smell like a magnificent dessert.

Almond is in the herby family, so I knew I wanted that in there. The scents in the spicy family sounded delish- brown sugar, chocolate, and cinnamon!

Shawna listened to my olfactory ruminations and came up with “Just Baked,” a shower gel and lotion combo that I am completely enamored with. She blended almond, brown sugar, allspice, cinnamon, and vanilla to create a scent that is just totally delicious. You should have seen me around the office yesterday, wandering from cubicle to cubicle sharing delicious lotion with all of my dry-handed amigas. Everyone loved it, and they all asked me more about Urban Botanic.

The price of their products is reasonable, considering that these are full-size items on par with Bath & Body Works or Calgon quality. Body lotion costs $14.50, shower gel and bubble bath both cost $12.50, and parfum spray is $24.95.

Shawna also sent me a parfum spray in “Beach House”, which used notes of naked, violet, honeysuckle and green apple. Beach House is a very light, fruity scent evocative of “ocean” scented candles and sprays you may have already tried. I like it, but my heart belongs to Just Baked!

If you’re looking for a fun, unique idea for a bridal shower, bachelorette, or birthday party, Urban Botanic does scent parties where all the guests get to create custom scents for for no charge, no obligation, and purchase that scent creation in perfume, lotion, or bath product form. I think it’s a darling concept, and having tried the products, I’m even more bowled over.

If you want to customize your own scent without having a house full of guests, check out the MyScentsâ„¢ Signature Scent Collections. The adorable little package comes with perfume oils, a mixing stick, a mixing glass, disposable droppers, and instructions on how to combine scents. Prices range from $39.95 for three perfume oils, to $99.95 for nine. If you’ve got a family member who yearns to unleash their inner chemist, this could be the gift for them!

Through attempting to make my own scents, I discovered that sometimes it’s best left to the professionals, and often less is more. I love that these two companies offer options to the same store-bought scents I’ve been using again and again. I’m still looking for my signature scent, but Scent Design and Urban Botanics are great places to start for any bella who is looking for a unique expression, or gift idea.

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Patrick Jnr says:
December 15, 2006, 10:53 am
Bella sounds like Ma Bella is 'herby' too! Take care lil sis, see you soon!
Noviebaby says:
December 15, 2006, 10:32 pm
I'm Leafy!!! You're right, this test is so on its scary.
LBellatrix says:
December 17, 2006, 3:19 pm
If you ever decide to try making your own: I've been collecting essential oils for years but have yet to hit on a single signature scent for me. I'm about to get serious though, using the information on this page:
anoukh says:
January 4, 2007, 5:10 am
For some of the hook custom scents try this sista she's in Oakland California. She creates custom perfumes and oil blends. 100% Handcrafted. The line is called Juju, by DjonDelius Perfumerie (
May 25, 2012, 3:25 pm
Good luck!


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