You need to take control of your own scent identity. You shouldn’t be blinded by what brands tell you to like,” says Johanna Monange, founder of customised perfume boutique Maison 21G.

A former fragrance director with 20 years of experience at industry giants Firmenich, and International Flavors & Fragrances (IFF), she has created perfumes for beauty bigwigs such as the L’Oreal Group and P&G. Then last year, Monange, who has been based in Singapore for the last six years as the Asia director for IFF, decided to strike out on her own.

Perfumes for global brands have to appeal to many people around the world

Johanna Monange

Her aim: to create singular scents that fit an individual’s personality and preferences to a tee. And with a saturated market churning out thousands of similar-smelling options, she believes customisation offers the best way to find fragrances that are uniquely you.

Customers can drop in at the Maison 21G store in Duxton for a personal consultation, or shop online. There are three ways of customising, each offering different degrees of guidance. You could do it via a personality test, by using your favourite perfumes as reference, or by ingredients.

Monange explains: “The personality test uses a universal model that works regardless of race or where you’re from. It’s about values and instinctive characteristics. For instance, do you like to lead and stand out from the crowd, or do you prefer the comfort of familiarity and to blend in? Based on your traits, the system will make its recommendations.

If you want to follow an existing scent you like, the system can suggest blends with similar qualities. Or you can choose the exact ingredients you want –there are over 30 to choose from. The site offers detailed information about each, such as how it evolves over eight hours of wear.

Here’s how to choose your perfect perfume. First, discover what you like. Second, the scent must express your personality. “And lastly, send the right message for the occasion. Wearing a very powerful and sweet scent to an interview, for instance, is likely to overwhelm your boss. So it won’t matter if you’re wearing a gorgeous designer dress if your fragrance leaves a bad impression.”

This article was first published in Her World’s May 2020 issue.