You guys. Seriously. This is definitely one of the highlights in my 6 years of blogging. I got to make my own custom perfume by my all-time favorite perfumier, Kedra Hart of Opus Oils Jitterbug Perfume Parlor, an Artisan Perfume Atelier in Hollywood. Kedra and I have known each other “online” for years, and she makes my all-time favorite men’s perfume, Dirty Sexy Wilde (inspired by Oscar Wilde and Dorian Gray). It’s the sexiest scent for a man in the entire world. It just is.
Kedra is the multiple award winning, and FiFi nominated Master Perfumer and co-creator of Opus Oils. With extensive product knowledge and a strong background in luxury product development, Kedra designs custom fragrances for individuals and businesses, hosts “scent events” and “custom blending parties,” and teaches perfumery in Los Angeles. Kedra has over 25 years of experience in the fragrance and beauty industries and was one of the original developers of The Apothecary at Barneys New York in Beverly Hills.
Well, when she offered to “paint my scent profile”, I almost wet my pants, I was so excited! I went to her perfume parlor and immediately fell in love with Kedra’s vibe and her amazingly vintage-sexy-victorian-apothecary-style digs. Opus Oils is open by appointment only, and they recently moved down the street from their old place (so give her a call before you go). You can also purchase their products online, and nothing is tested on animals!
I spent four hours with Kedra because we couldn’t stop chatting while blending up my new signature scent! She is so much fun and so full of knowledge! I learned a lot about the perfume world, and the “alchemy of perfume.” She started with an array of amber glass bottles of scents that I knew I liked. She has variations of all of them. Think there’s just one “rose scent”? Think again! She let me smell each one on paper samples, but didn’t tell me what they were so I wouldn’t be biased. I was pretty much right about what I liked and what I didn’t, except for a couple of times. Sometimes a note smells awful by itself, but when blended properly with other scents, it becomes magical. For example, there are “dirty scents” like Indole, a molecule from white flowers which smells like decaying bodies! What?! And synthetic “animal scents” like musk, ambergris and civet (which weren’t always synthetic unfortunately, but most today are, thank goodness). She uses oris root as a base for the eau de perfum as a fixative to replace animal parts.
I have a very strong sense of smell. I can smell a “fake scent” from a mile away. Sometimes they are tolerable. Mostly they are not. My parents called me “Sniffy” when I was younger and suggested that I should move to Paris to be a “Nose” (a professional perfumier). So, this was like heaven to me. I inhaled each fragrance deeply to get the whole experience. I find that as you inhale, you get different notes – even from a single scent.
Kedra blends perfume bases to save time – each one is what you’d think of as a “note” – rose, neroli, vetiver, patchouli, etc. These are made from essential oils, resins, flower essences, foods, spices, and even synthetics – surprisingly, synthetic doesn’t mean “bad” in this case. Many fine perfume scents are made up of molecules to mimic something from nature (or to produce a whole new scent). You can be allergic to an essential oil or a food, just as much as a synthetic blend of molecules. To get a custom blend, like I did, takes hours (we spent a lot of time chatting and taking photos too!). She calls this package, “The Scents of Imagination Bespoke Fragrance Service.”
Kedra can produce a custom fragrance from absolute scratch, but it could take 40-100 hours of design time, depending on how complicated the blend (and the client) are. She calls this her “Bespoke Fragrance Design” and you can imagine, for this much work, it’s not cheap! The absolute ultimate luxury fragrance!
I smelled each perfume base blend and rated it on a scale of 1-5. Some were absolute yes’s and absolute no’s! Some of them we kept aside because we knew that although they didn’t get a high rating, they would mix well with the blend. I love perfumes with vetiver, but surprisingly, I didn’t find it to be a very nice scent on its own! I also love certain florals, like rose, mixed with earthy, dark and sexy scents (pretty much Kedra’s specialty)!
With perfumes, there’s a base note that is what Kedra considers the foundation of the scent (like building a house), and then there is a middle note and a top note (and many in-between if you have a power nose!). She knows how much to add to get a scent close to what you want, then you can tweak it to make the perfect witch’s brew! When you put the scent on your skin, it can smell completely different from the way it smells alone, so you have to try it on, and then tweak it some more. When you get the perfect scent, like all perfumes, it will usually smell a certain way at first, then it drifts into the different notes. I love how complicated perfumes can be. It’s something that only the nose and the brain can understand. It’s very difficult to write about because it’s so subjective. I don’t know how perfume bloggers do it!
We ended up with a blend of (in no particular order): amber, rose, rose absolut, vetiver, tobacco (tobacco flower is one of my favorites in a perfume!), neroli, orange blossom, patchouli, incense (a mix of frankincense and myrrh) and benzoin (a resin). And OMG the blend we made is so sensual and beautiful. I named it Ember (it’s not sold online because it was made just for yours truly, but maybe it should be – eh Kedra?) 🙂 It’s such an amazing scent, but when I brought home the eau de parfum (the strongest option), I completely expected my fiance to hate it (but I didn’t care because this was MY scent!). He prefers scents like coconut, mango, tiare flower, vanilla (pretty much anything island-ish). But, I was shocked to find out he loved it! Bonus!
Kedra keeps all of the custom scents on file, so you can re-order anytime. You can even get roll-ons, bath and body oils, lotions, bath salts and body butters made with your fragrance. I got the eau de parfum with the fancy atomizer. Sexy!
I’m thinking of having her do a blend for my fiance as a wedding present. It can either be HIS favorite scent to wear, or his favorite scent to smell on ME! His choice!
You can have a custom scent made, even if you don’t live in Los Angeles. Kedra can work with you via email – concentrating on the scents you love most, and she will build your scent, and send you 2-3 samples to wear for a bit, and then you can pick one. OR you can buy Opus Oils pre-blended scents online. Like Kedra’s signature fragrance, Jitterbug. Or other amazing scents like Wild Child (love this one), Mother, Eau Pear Tingle, Absinthia, Les Bohemes, Hollywood Whiskey, Sugar Island (another one of my faves), Vamp, Siren, Kitten, Starlet, Gypsy, Mantra, and many more! Free shipping when you spend $20 or more.