Using Scent to Tell a Story

How Fragrance Designer, Tonya Kidd-Beggs, developed her first Eau de Parfum, Fragrance No. 01.

My story has a smell. It is impossible to describe the complexity of its scent but a desire to do so took me to the French Riviera several years ago. Under the tutelage of a master perfumer, I worked my way through hundreds of tiny, brown bottles. I was determined to find the elements of the divine aroma I wanted to transcribe. Joy and Light I was enticed by the sharp Hesperidic notes of Grapefruit, Bergamot and Orange Flower. They were uplifting scents that spoke of joy and light on a long journey. I wanted that smell to be the welcome people received when they first sprayed my Eau de Parfum. These are the top notes of Fragrance No. 01. They are a zesty and bright introduction to a fragrance that deepens in complexity as it develops on the skin. The next scent that resonated with me was Fig-tea. While working on my fragrance, I stayed in the village of Eze. The fig trees were laden with fruit and their smell told me a story of abundance and a shaded place in which I could rest. When I inhaled the oil, I knew it would feature at the heart of my first fragrance. A Window to the Past Amber has been described by entomologist, David A. Grimaldi, as, ‘a window to the past’. The history of this aromatic tree resin is extensive but in the fragrance world it is known to add warmth and depth to a composition. However, when blended with the other ingredients in Fragrance No. 01 the effect is a vibrant and surprising aroma. The Foundation of the Story I was drawn to the warm, woody tones of Sandalwood and Vetiver that stayed with me long after I had capped the bottle. There was something comforting in their soft scent that I wanted to infuse into the blend. This would be the foundation of Fragrance No. 01’s story: a reassuring warmth that underpinned the lively, aromatic, abundance of the other notes. As the perfumer worked to balance the notes of Fragrance No. 01, I thought of the ground I had covered since my arrival in France. Each note that spoke to me, took me back to a different stage of my journey. Painful memories mixed with happier times and feelings of despair sat alongside moments of courage. The finished blend of my first fragrance is a harmonious celebration of hope. It is an olfactory voyage of discovery that took me to places I had long since forgotten. It is my intention that it will unlock memories and latent dreams as it develops on your skin and becomes part of your story.

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