Friday, December 16, 2016

Unique sensory experience

When a friend called me to invite me for a meetup about Bespoke Fragrances, I had almost said 'No' when I was reminded of the article I had written at the start of this year - Make 2016 your most memorable year ever with these 12 tips - 'Visit a place where you can't find a topic to discuss or where you feel out of place'. Following my own advice from 1 year earlier, I sat down and thought about why am I saying 'No' instantly?

First of all, I had no clue why he included me on the guest list. My knowledge in perfumes ends at knowing names of some perfume brands. Usually, when I have to buy a perfume, I walk into a store, try few of them and buy the one I like without even noticing the brand name. I have some friends who can identify the perfume by the smell and who sometimes ridicule me for my illiteracy in the topic, but the subject never interested me much. So when I thought about the meetup for fragrances, I imagined a room full of people like those 'expert' friends of mine, passionate about perfumes, who know everything there is to know about perfumes, who might be arguing about why Fresh is better than Floral? I found it hard to imagine myself among this group, having no clue what to say. I could visualise myself getting bored in a corner sipping on my tea quietly. So finally just to take it up as a challenge to myself, I said 'Yes'.

The venue was comforting, 'Taj tea house' which has been on my list ever since I read about it for the first time. I consoled myself that even if I find it difficult to be part of any conversation, at least I will have visited this place and tried at least couple of their teas (you guessed it right, I am a tea lover). We were greeted by Nisha, the host for the evening with a warm smile, a lovely venue and pleasing fragrance in the air. As I settled down and got to talking with 'the others', I realised that they were anything but perfume fanatics. The crowd was from varied background right from someone who is travelling 42 countries on a bike to the creator of Angry Maushi. In fact, I ran out of time to meet each one of them as each one of them was unique and had a lot to talk about. I was delighted to meet a fellow WriMo with whom I connected instantly. Before I realised the discomfort and apprehension I had at the time of accepting the invitation, evaporated with the lovely scent in the air.

To my surprise, the meetup had turned out to be anything but what I had imagined. The best part? I didn't have to know anything about perfumes, my nose did the job! Never in my life had I realised (or to be honest thought about) the fine details which go into perfumery. To make it easier to understand for naif like me, our host Nisha took us through the journey of perfume making. I was amazed by how she managed to give us so many technicalities without a single dull moment. To make it easier for us to understand, she had brought few basic, natural elements along with their respective extracts, for each tone. There was Rosemary representing herbs, Cardamom for spices, Blackcurrant for fruits, Bergamot for citrus & Rose oil for flowers. Smelling each one of them ignited a different feeling, emotion and sometimes memories. I started to imagine what would combination of few of these would spark in the end.

I was especially intrigued by the travel range where NIsha has created perfumes for certain places, Marrakesh spice souk, Balinese Temple Bay, Cotswold county & Miami Bay Marina. How could one capture the essence of a place in a scent? Having fond memories of Cotswold myself, I tried it the first thing and was taken down the memory lanes by it. Nisha had certainly done a good job of capturing the essence of Cotsworld, but the question remained how? But I didn't have to wait for too long. There was a game planned at the end, to capture the essence of Darjeeling in a scent. I rolled up my sleeves happily sharing the things which came to my mind about Darjeeling. As we progressed and shared our list at the end, there were many elements Fresh, Earthy, Pine, Eucapyptus, Green Tea, Flowers, Oak, Burny/smoky (reminding of the coal railway). We were witnessing a beautyful journey of capturing the essence of a place. How lovely would it be, if I could carry around the essence of all the places which are special to me and wear them to be in those places again and again? Sounds poetic. Our journey ended with an assurance from Nisha that she would go back, create the unque perfume for Darjeeling and send it across as a reminder of our wonderful experience there.

Though the clock had been whispering in my ear 'Traffic..Traffic...' I stayed back as long as I could to chat with as many people as I could, but ultimately I had to leave the cozy setup and get back to the honking, crowded roads back home. I carried a lesson back home, Perfumery isn't a rocket science as I had initially thought, but it is an art, making our lives rich.

Here is a snippet for all of you to get hang of the event, though it does no justice to all the lovely fragrances we got to experience -

#KaoriMoments #BespokeFragrance #Perfume

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