Hedonista Artisan Perfumers in the Media
Hedonista Meets CityScape Magazine
I’ve had a lifelong interest in fragrant plants and trained for
a year as an aroma therapist to learn more about the raw
materials plant oils and resins. I then completed further
training in natural perfumery with a US-based botanical
perfumer. A lot of research into old texts was also necessary as the methods of traditional artisan perfumery are often considered a bit of a secret art.
What is natural perfumery?
Natural perfumery involves the creation of a fragrance with pure botanical extracts, rather than synthetic chemical substitutes. On a commercial perfume label: ‘Key notes of Sandalwood’ may mean Key notes of Polysantol (a fragrance chemical made in a lab at a fraction of the cost of real Sandalwood). At Hedonista we use real Sandalwood (from the sandalwood tree), and real roses, jasmine flowers and vanilla beans, rather than synthetic lab-made substitutes. This is why natural fragrances smell exactly like the real flower or plant used. Historically, all fragrance was created this way and is why scent used to be an expensive, luxury item. This is what makes natural perfumery, or botanical fragrances, special. We can achieve a very rich fragrance with real depth, whereas some lab- made brands may smell thin and brassy by comparison.
How do you capture the essence of your fragrances?
The method a natural perfumer uses to ‘fixate’ a fragrance also differs; fixation holds a fragrance together and makes the scent last longer. We layer the scent, with top, middle and base notes; this is a process which takes great patience and care, because even one drop too many of a resin or plant oil may completely overpower the blend. Care must be taken to preserve the scent of the key ingredient that we wish to capture because natural fragrances are created from plants they are more subtle. When we were making our Cedar fragrance it was a challenge to avoid drowning the wonderfully mellow fragrance of the Cedar tree with the powerful scents of the plants used as fixates in this fragrance.
How important is your sense of smell and have you insured your nose?
A discerning sense of smell is paramount to the process, it is necessary to be able to select raw plant materials which harmonise together to create a synergistic blend. I can visualise the smell in my mind as I create a fragrance – I can smell a blend of, say, base notes in my mind before they are blended. And no, my nose is not insured – yet!
What’s your signature fragrance?
Our signature fragrance, and the first fragrance we created, is Tropicale. Best described as a heady floral with tropical flowers as key notes, they are grounded in a luxurious sandalwood base.
Who would you love to smell Hedonista on?
Everyone who would like to smell good naturally! As far as celebrities go; Rachel Hunter has a bottle of Barbarella, and I would love Joanna Lumley to wear Hedonista! Because our fragrances are rolled directly onto the skin, a sensual experience which enables the fragrance to meld with the wearers’ natural body scent, they can smell different from one wearer to the next.
What inspires your scents and what’s your most unusual creation?
The skin absorbs —that is why it is important to use only natural products, and modern day perfumery is one of the last bastions where natural ingredients are largely substituted with synthetics because of cost. We are inspired by the natural creations of the old artisan perfumers, and by smells all around us in nature – the heavenly scent of jasmine and michelia flowers, the earthy smell of a forest floor. Our most unusual fragrance (so far) is Barbarella: a unique, wild and very bold fragrance capturing fresh grasses, rich, fruity layers, and deep earthy undertones. It’s also our best seller in New Zealand.
What’s the secret to creating a killer scent?
We know when we have created a killer scent when our customers are frequently asked what they are wearing. It is the art of creating a naturally-unique scent which allows the wearer to express their individuality and becomes part of their personality.
What’s next for Hedonista?
We are currently working on a fresh, green floral with the beautiful michelia flower as a key note and another fragrance with key notes of vanilla from Madagascar and a deep rich cacao. The creation of these two new scents is keeping us very busy. We are working on increasing sales into Asia, and further marketing of our online store. Longer term we aim to make Hedonista available as a tourist experience, where people can come and visit, get in touch with nature, walk through a patch of native forest, smell fragrant plants and experience the whole natural perfumery process!
Nothing smells better than... A synthetic-free, pure-botanical fragrance, because nature is the best perfumer!
In Healthy Options Magazine:
Metropol Magazine - Interview with Hedonista Perfumer - Sandra:
GOOD Magazine - Great Article on Natural Perfumery
HEDONISTA in THE PRESS :