A few years back, I didn’t go to the beach often and only went to Sentosa — the nearest option for Westies — for the occasional end-of-year outing with my classmates. That changed when my friend Janice and I took a trip to Tanjong Beach to celebrate the end of the Circuit Breaker — going to the beach has since become a ritual for us.
We would buy wine, sushi, and chips from the supermarket and make the long trek to the Resort World station before getting on the monorail. Because we deliberately scheduled our trips on Friday afternoons, the beach was often quiet. The dogs chased each other on the sandy shores; some even dove into the sea to reach their owners or retrieve their toys. When the sun set and the candy-colored skies darkened, Janice and I would enter the water, usually with a wine bottle in hand. The alcohol kept us warm while we sang along to our favorite songs, dizzy with joy. We typically stayed till the stars came out, leaving just before it got too late to grab dinner.
So when I received an invitation to personalize my own perfume at Scentopia, I thought that it was the perfect opportunity to spice up our usual routine at Sentosa. Janice and I got on the monorail at VivoCity and alighted at Beach Station. This time, we headed straight towards Siloso Walk, which is a change of pace from our usual tram ride to Tanjong Beach. After a short stroll, we reached Scentopia, an unassuming building with dark glass doors and a gable roof.
When we entered, we were given a sensory treat because of all the fragrances as well as the beautiful botanical decorations. While the multiple scent bottles and sections of the store felt intimidating at first glance, the staff quickly put us at ease by offering their guidance.
Janice and I were each handed a clipboard and a pen. The first thing we had to do was to work on a personality test. Some of the options to the questions made me laugh because of how oddly specific they are (“an Olympic athlete”, “a Discovery Channel photographer”). Through the test, we learned that the main perfume categories offered at Scentopia were citrus, fresh, floral, woody, and oriental.
According to my results, I have two perfume personalities and suited citrus and woody scents best. I was fairly certain that I would lean towards fresh or floral scents, so the results were a tad unexpected. The staff told us that the results were just a guide and that we could proceed to select the 10 scents that we wanted in our fragrance.
So Janice and I put our noses to work and sniffed every single scent wand from the families that we liked. We selected wands from both the women’s and men’s sections because we didn’t want to limit ourselves and we didn’t really think that there was a discernible difference between the wands from the two different sections anyway. Probably because of sensory overload, I couldn’t smell some of the wands, which helpfully narrowed down my options.
I ended up with three citrus scents, three fresh scents, and four floral scents. It’s probably accurate to say that I like my perfumes the way I like my cocktails: with fruits, herbs, or flowers.
- Women’s Citrus 5 – It takes two to Mango
- Men’s Citrus 3 – Between a lime and a Yuzu
- Men’s Citrus 9 – To Peach or not to Peach
- Women’s Fresh 1 – Gone to the peach
- Men’s Fresh 6 – Cool as a cucumber
- Men’s Fresh 11 – Speak of the basil and the basil appears
- Women’s Floral 5 – Gardenia of Eden
- Women’s Floral 7 – Lavender his influence
- Women’s Floral 9 – The whiz Orckid
- Men’s Floral 8 – Pear is no comparison
On the other hand, Janice preferred woody scents. She picked one citrus scent, two fresh scents, one floral scent, four woody scents, and two oriental scents.
- Women’s Citrus 11 – She acts like summer, she walks like rain
- Women’s Fresh 4 – Surfing in Hawaii
- Men’s Fresh 9 – Sea breeze on my Yacht
- Men’s Floral 7 – Good things come to rose who wait
- Women’s Woody 2 – The temptress
- Women’s Woody 8 – Scandalwood
- Men’s Woody 1 – Hay! I love you
- Men’s Woody 6 – The oak culture
- Women’s Oriental 11 – Frankly, My Dear, I Don’t Give a…
- Men’s Oriental 2 – Cigar on a rocking chair
Once we were done selecting our scents, the staff instructed us to pump all the different oils into a cup. Then, we had to decide if we wanted to proceed with making the final concoction. If we were not satisfied, we were allowed to try again.
Fortunately, Janice and I both liked our fragrances so we were good to go. Mine is very light and refreshing, which will be perfect for daily use. Hers is more powerful and alluring — definitely a date-night fragrance.
We waited for a few minutes and browsed the store while the perfumer mixed the scents for us.
When our fragrances were ready for collection, the staff packed them into separate bags and advised us to keep our bottles out of the sun so that the heat doesn’t alter the aroma oils.
We were also told that bringing our empty bottles back to the store would give us a discount on our next purchase. If we wanted a refill of the exact fragrance, all we need is to keep a record of the perfume scents that we selected.
The workshop took slightly less than an hour and I loved how Janice and I could seamlessly proceed with our beach day right after. We decided to go to Coastes, a seaside restaurant that was minutes away, for cocktails and some light bites.
As I’ve attended perfume workshops before, I was rather curious to see how the customization process at Scentopia would differ from my previous experiences. Having to choose 10 scents out of 120 scents can easily lead to choice paralysis but narrowing our options down to the scent categories that we liked really helped. Since there are so many permutations available (I’m not doing the math), I left the workshop feeling like I was truly able to create something unique.
36 Siloso Beach Walk, Sentosa, Singapore
11am – 7pm
$125 per pax
All photographs by Sherryl Cheong
Editor’s note: For transparency, this review is not an advertisement; the workshop was a media invite i.e. the experience and fragrances were gifted.