Monday, 29 August 2016

Perfume Master Class with The Powder Room

One of my favourite things about my business is the perfume master classes that I run around Australia, and soon New Zealand.

Many years ago when I worked for Miller Harris in London, I used to host an educational night for the new stores that took the brand. I would chat about the brand, the founder Lyn Harris, and go through all of the fragrances. Customers had the opportunity to try all of the perfumes and then have a one on one consultation with me to find their perfect fragrance.

When I came home to Australia in 2008 and started The Powder Room, the core of my business was distributing niche perfume brands including Miller Harris and Penhaligon's. In order to educate people about my brands, I did these nights for my stores here, but started adding in a bit of history of perfume. Guests told me that they really enjoyed learning about perfume and would be interested to know more so I developed a Perfume Master Class that was more in depth. My shiny new class covered the history of perfume, perfumer's training, how they create perfume and the raw materials used, among many other interesting perfume facts. I had a selection of gorgeous raw materials from around the world, some natural, some synthetic and guests learnt how to select the perfect fragrance for themselves and how to wear perfume. 

After a few years doing this, I came across an organisation in Paris called Cinquieme Sens. They offer perfume workshops and have a wonderful tool called The Olfactorium. I was fortunate enough to be invited to be their exclusive licensee for Australia and New Zealand. Being affiliated with Cinquieme Sens enables me to offer a Perfume Creation class, among other classes they run in Paris and New York for enthusiasts and professionals. It also gives me access to a global network of perfume professionals and to a very prestigious firm that worked with all of the major perfume houses in Europe for over 40 years.

Thanks to Cinquieme Sens, guests who attend my perfume master classes have the opportunity to create their own perfume using the Olfactorium, a mini perfumers organ filled with 19 fragrance families. This gives my guests the tools to create a beautiful, complex fragrance  using a limited amount of materials. 

Image Credits Castle Towers, Maurice Meade, Zest Fashion Blog and the Fashion Heist.

Below is what we cover in the Master Class

  • ·       Origin of the word perfume
  • ·       History of perfume
  • ·       Who wore perfume throughout history and how they influenced the perfume industry
  • ·       Perfumers training and how they create perfume
  • ·       Fragrance families – demonstrate with example of each
  • ·       Famous fragrances and their stories
  • ·       Synthetic versus Natural materials
  • ·       Discuss origins of raw materials and guests have an opportunity to smell some examples
  • ·       Mass  versus Niche perfume
  • ·       Fragrance wardrobe – Different fragrance for different seasons and occasions.
  • ·       How to chose a fragrance that suits
  • ·       How to wear and store perfume
  • ·       Latest perfume launches
  • ·       Fragrance creation

Public classes are held regularly in Melbourne, and occasionally around Australia in various locations according to demand. I sometimes work with shopping centres around Australia, so keep an eye out on my social media channels for updates, or check out my Eventbrite page

Eventbrite - The Powder Room

If you are an organisation and would like to arrange a perfume master class for a conference or team building exercise, please contact me at


Friday, 4 March 2016

RepreScent Fragrance Lab at Castle Towers

Castle Towers is a shopping centre in the gorgeous hills area of North West Sydney. It is a lovely centre comprising of over 300 specialty shops and they invited me to create bespoke fragrance for their VIP guests for two weeks as a part of their Age of Style celebrations last year. Their idea was to take their shoppers on a sensory journey and help them discover their fragrance style.

Collen and Luke Cuneo of Cuneo Productions built me a fragrance lab in the middle of the centre near customer service.

My favourite part of the lab was the stunning flowers by Melinda from Lucien Shine Designs. She created a a veritable wall of flowers representing the different fragrance families.

Customers began their session with a cup of tea from Tea 2, they were then ushered over to my little lab, and we discussed all things perfume while I created a bespoke perfume for them based on what fragrance would suit their skin. I met so many women who told me they only wear Chanel No 5. While it is the best selling fragrance of all time, and I love the story and admire Coco Chanel, the fact that it is the best selling fragrance also means that it is the most worn perfume of all time. I like to encourage my clients to explore their individuality and step outside of their comfort zone. At first they can be little resistant to change, but once they smell my creation or recommendation, they often come around! I also recommend other fragrances for them to try when they are in the centre, customers are spoilt for choice at Castle Towers as they have great stores to visit for perfume, such as Mecca (my favourite), L'Occitane, The Body Shop as well as Myer and David Jones.

Me at the tools!

I look at things like the customers skin colour, hair colour and the way they dress as well as their personality to recommend a fragrance style that will sit well on their skin. This is a method that I have refined over 20 years of selling, marketing and creating fragrances. Lyn Harris, perfumer of Perfumer H and ex perfumer of Miller Harris, taught me a lot about this as well. She was the first to show me how different skin types react to different raw materials.

We had a press event where I met some lovely bloggers such as Sharon the Makeup Artist, Yan Yan Chan and Madeleine from The Daily Mark. I guided them through the process of creating their own scent using the Cinquieme Sens Olfactorium. The Olfactorium is a mini perfumers organ with little vials of the 19 fragrance families, I show you how to create a formula, and then you start creating! The juice comes from the leading perfume house in France and is possible to create a very good fragrance using these raw materials and my guidance and evaluation.

Image credits - Sharon The Makeup Artist, The Daily Mark, Taleisha Bonora and Yan Yan Chan

We also had some great press for the event as I was interviewed by a few different publications and even appeared on the cover of the local newspaper! Links below.

If you work with a shopping centre and would like The Powder Room to create a Perfume Master Class for you, please contact  Samantha Taylor at

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Autumn Winter 2015 at Pacific Fair

In April I was invited to present a Perfume Master Class at Pacific Fair on the Gold Coast to celebrate the launch of their Autumn Winter Fashion campaign. Pacific Fair invited local Gold Coast bloggers and fashion blogger super star Sara Donaldson from Harper and Harley  to enjoy breakfast by the river. The setting was gorgeous, and the bloggers were treated to sparkling wine and  yummy food followed by a fashion parade of the latest fashions. I love presenting my perfume master classes, but it is quite daunting choosing an outfit to wear when you know you will be standing in front of 20 fashion bloggers!

Once this part of the morning was complete, I went to work. We covered the history of perfume, and a little of how perfumers train and how they create their works of art. Not many people know of the extensive training required to become a perfumer, it makes me very sad that they are not often given the recognition they deserve. We then covered raw materials, how they are extracted and how they are the building blocks of perfume. 

Our bloggers then had an opportunity to create their own perfume, using the Olfactorium from Cinquieme Sens, our partner in Paris. The Olfactorium contains 19 accords, all representing the 19 fragrance family that Cinquieme Sens have identified.

Image Credits - Sassy Australia, Fifi Deluxe, The Fashion Heist and Zest Fashion Blog.

 I love seeing the photos that people post on Instagram. One of the main goals of The Powder Room is to change the way people think about perfume, and I find it very gratifying when people post lovely photos and comments about their experience.

The next day shoppers at Pacific Fair had the opportunity to attend perfume school with me. Guests were able to see the fashion and taste the food that the bloggers had in a series of stores across the centre, finishing with a perfume talk with me. I taught them how to chose a new fragrance for cooler weather, how to wear and store fragrance, and we smelt some new perfume launches including B. Balenciaga.
Image credit - Pacific Fair

If you work with a shopping centre and would like The Powder Room to present Perfume Master Classes as part of an activation, please email us

Tuesday, 7 July 2015


Earlier in the year I met the lovely Luc Wiesman from D'Marge, a style blog for stylish men. Even though I am not the target market, I do read lots of the articles posted as they often feature beautiful cars and lots of good looking men looking all brooding and sharp.

As we were presenting at the launch of a new men's fragrance, we naturally started talking about what kind of fragrance Luc wears. I mentioned that I do write fragrance articles for various publications and Luc said he would love for me to write something for D'Marge.

Image credit D'Marge

Of course I was thrilled, and immediately said yes. As we were approaching winter, I suggested the article be about how to chose a fragrance for cooler weather. Most people don't think to change their fragrance with the season, so this was my chance to educate D'Marge readers how to go about it. Here is my first column.

D'Marge Winter Fragrances for Men

Monday, 11 May 2015

Kerastase 50th Anniversary

Kerastase Paris is one of the world's leading hair care brands, and last year they celebrated their 50th Anniversary. They hosted a conference and gala ball in Melbourne and invited their brand ambassadors from around Australia. They were kind enough to invite me to present a perfume master class and create a fragrance to give as a gift to their guests. I was to present after Ita Buttrose and Megan Quinn, so I was in excellent company!

Before I began preparing my presentation, the first thing to do was to create the fragrance. I worked with my perfumer to create a fragrance using the scent of a signature Kerastase product as inspiration. My suggestion of diffusing the fragrance into the room during the conference was enthusiastically accepted. I work with Dan from Scent Australia on all of my sensory branding projects and he supplied me with two units that we positioned behind some signage in the front corners of the room. This placement allows the fragrance to disperse throughout the room evenly. The fragrance was set quite low, just enough to give the guests a hint of the fragrance without it being too overpowering.

Now to the presentation. I started with the history of fragrance, and how the perfumer trains and then creates fragrance. I touched specifically on the use of fragrance in hair care and explained why using fragrance in hair care can enhance the pleasure of the customer as well as mask the use of chemicals.

We then explored the fragrance families and I taught my guests the basics of perfume creation using the Olfactorium, a traveling perfumers organ from our partner in Paris, Cinquieme Sens. Everybody loves this part of the class and starts hashtaging away on social media!

After the event, Kerastase wished to gift their guests with a  bottle of the fragrance to say thank you for attending. We used the fragrance we had created, decanted it into bottles with a gold lid and we applied custom made 'K' stickers on to the bottle. 

The Perfume Creation Master Class is an excellent team building exercise for a conference or staff event and we can tailor the event to suit the needs of your business. If you would like The Powder Room to create a team building exercise or a custom fragrance for your business or event for you, please contact

Saturday, 9 May 2015

How to Up Your Brow Game

Recently I was asked by Brittany from The Glow for some tips on how to use makeup to give the illusion of fuller brows.

Being of South European descent, from a young age I had full brows (read: Mono Brow) when plucked thin brows were on trend. Years of plucking, waxing and threading has thinned my brows down. but they lacked a definite shape. I was fortunate enough to visit Amy Jean Eye Couture where Amy Jean herself tended to my neglected brows, and it completely changed my view on brows. It was no longer acceptable to just have neat brows, it was necessary that I have arched and fierce brows from that point forward. Amy lightened my brows and instructed me on the use of brow powder. I love the brush she gave me, and I switch between her brow products and the Anastasia Dip Pomade I recommend in this article.

Friday, 24 April 2015

Scents and the City. Samantha's Guide to Perfumeries in New York.

In August last year I went to Mexico, New York and Los Angeles for a working holiday. I had the most amazing time discovering perfumeries and various department stores in NY and LA. I was a woman possessed in Bergdorf Goodman and Barneys as I was determined to try every brand I had never heard of.  I went a little crazy and bought this much....

I had to buy another bag to bring all of my loot home, as all of these products weighed about 6kgs. I am about to head there again and am compiling my list of perfumeries I have to revisit. Needless to say I will be taking a spare bag this time.

As a perfume specialist, it is my job to be in the know about what perfumes are out on the market, but it is also a pleasure for me to do so as I love what I do. Who wouldn't love strolling around the streets of New York, smelling and chatting to other perfume aficionados?

Below are some of my favourite perfume stores in NYC, there are many more which I will add to this post when I return in June.

 Aedes de Venustas

Aedes looks more like an opulent yet quirky Parisien salon than a perfumer, but that is part of its charm. I found the staff extremely friendly and eager to help me find a new fragrance from their array of brands. I fell in love with their signature fragrance by Bertrand Duchaufour, which is no surprise as I am quite partial to his fragrances. My other favourite of his is Rhubarb in the Sherbert series for Comme des Garcon. He clearly likes this particular raw material as it features in Aedes de Venustas along with tomato leaf, red berries and vetiver. It is deliciousness in liquid form, and was on high rotation in my perfume wardrobe for all of summer. 

Aedes de Venustas website

MiN New York

MiN boasts a pretty impressive range of fragrances in a gorgeous building in SoHo that looks more like a gentlemens club. They take their fragrance pretty seriously at MiN, and I was excited to visit the store, yet the staff member there that day didn't offer me much in the way of help. After sniffing around, I did end up purchasing R'Oud Elements by Keroscene and I am looking forward to returning to discover more of the range. I am hoping that the staff may be more attentive as I am curious to try their Scent Stories range.

MiN New York website


Out of all of the perfumeries I visited in New York, I would say that Oswald interested me the most as it had lots of brands I hadn't experienced before. I also ran into a colleague from Miller Harris from about 7 years ago. He used to work in the Miller Harris flagship store when I was the Wholesale Manager, and now manages Oswald in New York.  Clement introduced me to Profumum Roma, and I immediately fell in love with a fragrance called Arso. The fragrance makes you feel like you are strolling through a dark pine forest in winter, with the promise of a fragrant fire in a log cabin with a whisky at the end of your walk. I purchased this for my GBF, it was as if it was made for him. I nearly cried giving it to him but I get to experience the fragrance regularly as he wears it often. I will certainly be returning here in May to discover the rest of the range along with many of their other hard to find brands.

Osswald NYC website

By Kilian

Ye gods, this store is gorgeous, I want to move in. I have long been an admirer of By Killian fragrances and packaging, and Kilian Hennessey is quite the looker. He also is from the Hennessey Cognac family. Le sigh. 

As I had purchased dark, complex fragrances in my perfumed journey around New York thus far, I was determined that today I would invest in something light and summery. That is to say, the exact opposite of what I am normally drawn to. After swooning over Amber Oud, I firmly pushed the tester away and asked for something light and fresh but with some complexity. I purchased Imperial Tea, an impression of Jasmine tea that is like inhaling a freshly brewed pot of tea. It was also utterly essential that I have one of their black boxes with a silver lock. Stunning.


Krigler is a little corner store in The Plaza hotel that stocks only Krigler fragrances. I wanted to discover their fragrances as they have been making perfume since 1904 and have an interesting history. They began in Russia, moved to Grasse and then to America in 1931 to cater to the growing US perfume market. I was assisted by a young man who was clearly new to the role and was being 'guided' (told what to show me) by a senior staff member. Sadly I was not asked what kind of fragrance I would like to experience and they kept offering me sweet florals that didn't appeal. I will do some research before I go this time and ask for specific fragrances. 


I first fell in love with Caron at Fortnum and Mason, they have a counter there with their spectacular fountains on display. I was further lured by the range at Roja Dove's Haute Perfumery in Harrods when a former colleague introduced me to Poivre, a hot, spicy pepper fragrance.  Tabac Blonde is another favourite and a staple in my perfume wardrobe. Caron fragrance hark back to a time when perfume was bold and daring, even if this is not your perfume style, go just to see the perfume fountains. I need to have one of these in my life one day.

Parfums Caron website 

New York has amazing department stores with extensive rages of fragrances. Bergdorf Goodman perfumery has some gems so stop by and have a wander around. Go and smell JAR, a perfume line by luxury jeweler Joel Arthur Rosenthal. The brand is so secretive, they wont tell you the notes in the fragrance and I can't even find a website for them. Some other brands to have a sniff of are the Roja Dove and Diane Vreeland ranges.

Barneys also has a great perfume range, I bought  Cologne du Maghred, a natural fragrance from Andy Taeur. I have a few clients who like natural perfumes so this was more for them  than me. Barney also have Odin, a really interesting range from NY. I did not buy anything from this brand on my last trip, but I plan to rectify that this time.