Perfume is Pleasure

Mona Lisa perfume

Mona Lisa, the Woman and the Perfume

April 28th, 2009

Mona (the real Mona) lives in Aspen, Colorado with Missy, pictured here. Mona is an entrepreneur and owner of Main Street Reprographics, a digital graphics company.  Father Ray, a pilot now deceased, often brought fragrant potions home from his world travels to little Mona who developed rich tastes in scent early on. The journey begins.Mona left home in her late teens to begin a career in printing. Arriving at the airport upon transplantation from Connecticut to Colorado, she felt lost. But then, getting a whiff of her own baggage, realized “it smelled like me.” Mona was suddenly grounded, returned to herself. The scent? Civet.

Closer to the present, I tell her about my obsession: Personal delivery of scents that bring exquisite pleasure. A one-on-one experience. Mona shares her history: Opum, Beautiful, Fracas, L’Air du Temps, No. 5. I see  some patterns and reply with an array of small glass vials of commercial scents containing olfactory tangents.  Mona selects her favorites: Aromatics Elixer and Cannabis Santal. I explain emerging themes. Together, we confirm my observations about her preference for various notes.

The list grows: Amber, musk, nutmeg, cardamom, oakmoss, sandalwood, clary sage, vetiver. The memory and the experience of distinct smells crystallize in Mona’s mind. We can hardly ignore the tuberose and mandarin – these notes keep coming up. We are in mid journey.

But civet! The longing in Mona’s voice is pungent. We must have the real thing.

To meet the needs of clients desiring a unique fragrance, something crafted just for them, I have gotten to know perfumers with a variety of specialties. One of them is Abdus Salaam Attar, also known as Dominique Dubrana, a natural perfumer in Italy whom I had reason to believe might rise to this occasion. We agreed that I would coach Mona to the point that she was ready to request her scent.

I guided Mona to select for him the top three fragrance notes, the notes that make her heart sing: They are mandarin, tuberose and civet. All my clients should intuitively select top, middle and base! She mentions other favored notes as well. Abdus Salaam Attar designs “Mona” and sends it to her.

The word from Aspen: “I got it!! I just got my perfume. It is like nothing I have ever smelled before. It is a little bit musky, powdery. It is very light, like a feather. It is not an old scent, it is not a young scent, it seems very natural. As soon as I can I would like to create another. What fun having my own scent. I feel sooo special.” The journey will continue.

Abdus Salaam Attar took a special liking to this custom creation, shared it with some Basenotes bloggers who have commented on a few threads upon the scent, and added it to his own permanent repertoire of scents available to the general public. My own personal comments on Mona Lisa are on Basenotes along with the rest. On this post, I write as the midwife, not as a perfume critic. Obtain your sample here. And of course, contact the real Mona for all of your digital printing needs. You don’t even need to travel to Aspen, Colorado, though of course, you want to!

Posted in “Stylin’ With Scent” on April 28th, 2009 at 3:31 pm at (the link is now broken)


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