Style Melbourne

Perfume Masterclass at The Powder Room

“Always reserve one perfume just for seduction” advocates Samantha Taylor, founder of The Powder Room. I was recently treated to a fragrance masterclass with Sam as she opened up her studio for the first time. Surrounded by chic bottles of boutique perfumes, I learnt that to take on the title of ‘Perfumier’ takes years of specialised, intensive training. Sam herself has spent over two decades working with artisan fragrances in Europe, particularly at Miller Harris, explaining she was “obsessed from an early age”. Today, via The Powder Room, it’s her personal mission to introduce us (as a nation) to niche perfume houses such as the aforementioned Miller Harris, Penhaligon’s, Six Scents, Bella Bellissima, and Jovoy as well as consulting on “sensory branding”. Sam likes to think of perfume as “finishing an outfit, the final accessory”.

The masterclass takes me through a fascinating, scented history; from perfume’s Mesopotamian origins, to the Romans inextricably linking fragrance to romance, to Marie Antoinette’s own obsession, to today. Sam shares her expertise on ingredients, how to choose and wear perfume based not only on olfactory preference but also skin type and personality. She thinks it risky to choose perfume for someone as a gift “unless you know them very well” (she can of course guide you through the process with some surprising questions about the intended recipient). Sam also lets me sniff rare samples.

Many of the perfumes we have mass access to today are apparently little more than cheap aromatherapy emblazoned with a celebrity ambassador. A good way to tell whether your money is well spent is whether the bottle is very fancy or changes from one house’s fragrance to the next; millions spent developing and marketing a bottle generally means less effort spent on what’s inside it. The classic perfume houses typically stick to one bottle with slight changes to distinguish between scents.

Sam’s personal favourite? A bespoke perfume developed just for her. We should all be so spoilt!

You can get in touch with Sam to host a private group perfume masterclass or you can reserve a seat at one of her upcoming events during the L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival by clicking here.

Thanks to The Powder Room I have one bottle of  ‘Figue Amere’ perfume by Miller Harris to giveaway to one lucky subscriber. Of the fragrance they say, “a curious contrast of fleshy fruit and astringent salt, this sun-soaked fragrance captures bitter green figs and sea air.” All you have to do to win it is;

1. Email with the subject line ‘The Powder Room’.

2. Include your full name and postal address. You will be automatically subscribed to our fortnightly newsletter if you aren’t already (don’t worry I will always keep your details private).

3. Wait to see if you have won this glorious prize! The winner will be drawn on 14th March 2013.

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