retail Luxury

On the nose

The olfactory glands get into overdrive at Scentido, a 1,000 square foot experiential perfume store nestled on the corner of Sir Phirozshah Mehta Road, in Mumbai’s swanky Fort area. Citrusy, woody, aquatic and floral notes vie for your attention as you step in, and a visual treat follows as you trace a geometric-patterned flooring, clean grey walls and a high ceiling. Add the art deco charm of the wood panels and the quiet after the traffic outside, and it is sensory overload — of the welcome kind.

Shishir Mehta, owner of Scentido

Shishir Mehta, owner of Scentido  

As a line of bell jars wait to be nosed, and the Roja with Swarovski diamonds on the stopper sparkles, the owner Shishir Mehta sits us down. Guiding us to a marble-top round table seating and offering us a cup of chai, Mehta delves into his story. And its a fascinating one, which begins in a family business of metallurgy, that he sold on its 50th golden anniversary, and ends at a store that exemplifies his passion forbespoke scents.

 

Rare air

“When I used to take money from my father, I would buy Azzaro and Davidoff eau de toilettes, after which I moved to and Chanel, Dior and later Tom Ford,” says the 53-year-old, who discovered niche perfumes a decade ago, and began spending time in perfumeries around the world. Released in smaller batches, niche perfumes are valued for their rare ingredients and complex scents. There are many niche perfume houses that are close to a century old, but there is an advent of more distinctive new-comers in this space. Mehta explains the break up: “ Scents that are created by a niche perfume house will often include natural essences, rather than lab-created ingredients. The complex perfume oils created are used in different purities and content. For example, in a cologne there is less than five percent oil, EDT have about 10 per cent, EDP has 15-20 and a parfum has between 20 to 40 per cent oil content,” he adds.

Find your scent
  • Roja, one of the most expensive perfumes in the world, is an attraction at the store. The owner releases only 50 bottles every year and one of the scents even contains gold flakes. But there are many lesser known gems you can buy at the store:
  • Escentric Molecules: Created by genius perfumer, Geza Shoen, Escentric Molecules celebrates perfumery as the art of chemistry. He took the Iso E Super, an aroma molecule, and isolated the aroma from the molecule to a invent binary fragrance. In layman’s term, you spray the base and then the aroma. When I wear Escentric 4 on my right arm and 1 on my left arm, the two fragrances come alive, and is nothing like I have ever smelt before. ₹6,000-₹ 14,000
  • Berdoues: Founded back in 1902 by Guillame Berdoues, the fragrances are a traveller’s journey. Each scent inspired by a place, there is the orangy, lemony Sicilia, green and lush Selvo Do Brazil, Cherry Blossom flavoured Somei Yoshini, black tea and sandalwood in The Assam of India, and a woody vanilla Masai Mara. Personally, I’d take home all of it.
  • Ormand Jayne: Founded by London’s Linda Pilkington, this perfume house matures the oils in their London laboratory. One of the rare ingredient in this formula includes black hemlock. It is one of the first perfumes to use oud as an ingredient. The citrusy and woody Ormand Man is our favourite pick.
  • Laurent Mazzone: Founder Mazzone, was not a perfumer. He was a DJ and a fashion designer! His fragrances are casual, wearable and weave stories and mythology. Chemise blanche is a Mediterranean fragrance encompassing lily, bergamot and mandarins. The Aldex, on the other hand, is aquatic and woody.

Presently, the store has nine brands and over 100 scents, and four more brands are in the midst of being signed on, with prices ranging from ₹6,000 to ₹2 lakh. “We want people to experience the fragrances and spend time with them, till they recognize their scent,” says Mehta. For this, he plans to host perfume workshops and intimate events at the store.

Stand out scent

Rising trends India, in the last couple of years, have seen a growing perfume landscape. In 2015, Jahnvi Dameron Nandan launched The Perfume Library that works with memories, followed by Manan Gandhi’s Bombay Perfumery, a contemporary perfume house in Mumbai that captures Indian experiences in a bottle. In September last year, Perfume Library collaborated with Bombay Perfumery to release a limited-edition scent, Again, and only last month, designer Rohit Bal launched his range of perfumes drawing inspiration from history, fantasy and folklore. This was in collaboration with Spicestyle, a fashion house by Spicejet. So what has taken so long for to bring them to India?

“Scope,” says Mehta. “Indians are well-travelled, so there is a heightened awareness about brands. India is now what China was say 20 years ago— a booming market.”

Keeping it personal

“When it is the fragrance that identifies the individual wearing it, that is when bespoke perfumes come into play,” says Rukshana Isa, grooming and etiquette expert. According to Isa, you will know who wears a certain scent if they follow their own instinct while choosing a bespoke fragrance. “It is all about you, who you want to be, and no celebrity can help you make that choice,” she adds. If that doesn’t inspire us to start sniffing for that defining scent, what will? And might we add, the rarer the better.

Scentido Niche Perfumery is located at Unit no.1, Ground Floor, Kermani Building, Sir Phiroze Mehta Road, Fort 022 67479600

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Printable version | Apr 22, 2021 1:14:22 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/luxury/on-the-nose/article23332536.ece

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