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Angel Cheung began her journey in the world of perfumes by studying at Grasse, France. The city’s long been considered the home of perfume-making, so there’s really nowhere better if you really want to learn the trade. After returning to Hong Kong, Angel began her own perfume studio – Intime Artisan de Perfum – in December 2015. Since then, she’s created bespoke scents for countless individuals, and worked with brands like American Express and Hearts of Fire Diamonds to create exclusive perfumes.
The blind sniff test during a personality and perfume workshop at Intime Artisan de Parfum.
I sit down with Angel one Tuesday afternoon for an exclusive “personality and perfume” workshop. In a clean, whitewashed studio with easy-listening French tunes creating a relaxed atmosphere, I begin the journey of creating my very own perfume – and discovering what my preferred scents say about me. The experience starts with a blind sniff test of over 30 possible ingredients. So far, so good; it’s pretty easy to decide which scents I love (and which ones I don’t).
Then comes the reality check. Angel looks over the scents I’ve chosen, and grins as she explains what each one reveals about my personality. My base notes combine light aquatic and heavy Oriental scents – denoting a love of freedom and intellect – while the top notes draw on fruity, citrus scent like grapefruit, suggesting an efficient, energetic and fun personality. In between, floral middle notes such as jasmine and gardenia indicate a balance between extrovert and introvert traits. Given the chat we’ve had leading up to this moment, Angel’s not especially surprised at the complexity and contradictions in the scents I’ve chosen. And neither am I, really. After all, it stands to reason that personalities are nuanced and complicate. And the perfume I’ve created – which I’ve named The Adventurer – certainly seems to speak to my love to travel and learning.
So clearly, there’s a lot more behind perfumes than we think about on a day-to-day basis. So could this be a case of psychology in a bottle? Definitely, if Angel’s convictions are anything to go by. In conversation, she throws out the idea of using scent personality analysis as a team-building exercise in a corporate context. Her reasoning? She believes it’s a great way to get colleagues to better understand each other, and create a better working dynamic.
So clearly, there’s a lot more behind perfumes than we think about on a day-to-day basis. And it’s entirely possible that the next time I catch a whiff of Dior’s J’Adore or Ralph Lauren Polo, I take a quick second to consider what the choice of scent says about its wearer.