Sunday, 12 April 2015

Be transported back in time through SMELLS!

I've time-traveled.
I didn't know it's possible.
And I'm gonna' share with you how I did it - through the sense of SMELL.

Here's one thing you probably won't know about me: - I have ALWAYS been fascinated with perfumes, perfumes and perfumes. 
There were MANY times when I catch a whiff of someone walking past and I would be like, "WHAT'S THAT PERFUME SCENT?! OMG!!!"
Of course, perfume scents are VERY subjective. 

One of the main reasons why I love perfumes is because I have always felt that scents CAN evoke memories. I am not sure if it happens to everyone, but I did have many déjà vu experiences whenever I smell a particular scent.
There were scents that somehow registered in the sensory part of my brain when I was a kid, and I would immediately be reminded of my childhood even if I were to come across the scent now. It's just all very intriguing and mysterious at times. Almost like  time traveler experience. I couldn't find any exact word to describe it either.

So you can imagine my delight and curiosity when I was approached for an opportunity by Mrs Prachi Garg, founder (and a Master Perfumer!) of Je t'aime Perfumery, to feature a perfume-related exhibition that very much relates to my sentiments about perfumes!

It will be a collaboration with the Singapore National Museum and 12 unique smells will be on display during an exhibition from 17 April 2015 to 18 May 2015 that showcases an olfactory translation of Singapore history.

Trust me, this is really something very, very interesting! We all know history can be read, but now we can actually SMELL history?! Even if you are one who isn't interested in perfume scents, I bet you will be curious to find out as part of an experience.

Mrs Prachi Garg has kindly sent me all the 12 unique scent samples (and 1 bottle of their perfume that simply looks so exquisite!). 
I'll be reviewing them here (Yes, and all of you will have the honor to read about it before they are officially on display to the public on 17th April 2015!)

Arrived via Courier in such a nice packaging!

The bottles look so cute! Each of them is individually labelled with the names of the scent. I totally LOVE the names they came up with. (Do you notice that there are also picture illustration printed on the labels?! Awww!!)

The names of the scents:- (And most of them are related to Singapore history, which is so memory-evoking!!)

Not in any particular order:
1) Ancient Singapore - Life before 14th Century
2) Ancient Singapore - Singapore Stone
3) Road to Merdaka - 8 cents meal
4) Colonial Singapore - Sri Mariamman Indian Temple 
5) Colonial Singapore - Rich Lavish Cloths
6) Play Colonial Singapore - Near the Mosque
7) Syonan to Fear
8) Independent Singapore - Green Singapore
9)  Independent Singapore -Where Children can Play
10) Road to Merdaka - Home Food
11) Archaeology - Hotel de l' Europe
12) Colonial Singapore - Masons

Judging from the names of the scents, I was already feeling so excited. I wondered if they would indeed smell like how they were named.

As below is my review for each scent - Please do note that all of them are based on my PERSONAL opinions in which I tried to describe them to the best of my ability. I was not given any notes how they SHOULD smell like (since scents are very subjective anyway) Nonetheless, I hope you enjoy my descriptions as much as I did smelling them!

1) Ancient Singapore - Life before 14th Century

In order not to confuse myself with the different scents, I actually took time to smell each of them and wrote my thoughts here along the way.

Interestingly enough, this scent DOES smell ancient (in a tropical way). Okay, I am not particularly sure how ancient smells like to you, but I could imagine a forest-like environment and felt like I was somewhere deep in the woods AFTER a rain. I had the idea of rain as it has a tinge of wet scent in between that reminds me of it. I could picture myself lying flat on the ground and closing my eyes as I feel the closeness of nature!

2) Ancient Singapore - Singapore Stone

OMG. This scent is absolutely... Interesting. I took more than five minutes to ensure I was smelling it right.  I have no idea how the team was able to imitate the smell of something wet (but yet not entirely wet) so well! Although it was labelled as "Singapore Stone" and I am not sure how a stone smells like, but I can ascertain that this scent does remind me of something wet after a rain. A tinge of muskiness and yet not too overwhelming. Oh gosh, I just love how all these scents are starting to trigger my senses and imagination!

3) Road to Merdeka - 8 cents meal

I was amused by the title of this scent - 8 cents meal. I was expecting to smell a tinge of roti prata in it (I guess I was influenced by the picture illustration HAHAHA)
My first impression when I took my first whiff - It started out smelling like almonds, but with a tinge of sweetness in them. As I continued on with my third and fourth whiffs, I discovered that the almond scent was not as strong anymore - but it does, interestingly, smell like how it was named - a food! (One of my colleagues smelled it and told me that it reminds him of Nasi Briyani.. How interesting!)

4) Colonial Singapore - Sri Mariamman Indian Temple

OK, I LOVE this scent. It smells a bit like floral + baby powder that blends in nicely with the nice aroma of india temple oil. It smells hauntingly beautiful. I could totally picture myself exploring an indian temple which is really intriguing.

5) Colonial Singapore - Rich Lavish Cloths

This smells kinda' exotic and requires some getting used to. I pictured a rich Caucasian lady as she struts down a poshed hallway. I felt that the scent is.. rich. And yes, I think I came across the scent somewhere before... ....

6) Play Colonial Singapore - Near the Mosque

A pleasant scent that strikes a familiarity when I took my first whiff. Now, where did I smell this before? I would say it's close to a car freshener (it has a fresh, fruity scent) smell that I came across. Totally not dull, but an uplifting scent that I don't mind wearing on myself during sunny days! Haha. I am sure this scent will be able to appeal to many, too. It's not too overwhelming.

7) Syonan to Fear

Now, do note that I did NOT filter this picture at all! The red-color effect was due to my finger blocking the flash, which I did it on purpose to create "Fear" - just like how the name goes. HAHAHA. To be honest, I'm kinda' fearful of opening the bottle.

*2 minutes later*

Okay, I have just opened the bottle to take my first whiff.
You are probably NOT going to believe this, but I can really smell FEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!
How did this happen?!?! This is totally NOT a pleasant scent.  It smells like fart at some point even. LOL. In fact, it creates the effect of panic, adrenaline rush, impatience, etc. It's a mood-changing scent, I would say. No, I am not going to register this in my mind. BUT it's totally something that people should smell to experience it for themselves in order to understand what I meant.
Now, let me move on to the next scent. I need something pleasant.

 8) Independent Singapore - Green Singapore

My first impression: SMELLS LIKE FRESH GREEN APPLES, DEFINITELY! I could imagine myself drawing the window curtains on an early morning while I sniff in the fresh air from nature.
The birds are chirping cheerily and the gentleness of wind blowing against my cheeks... Ahhh... This is hypnotic.

 9) Independent Singapore - Where Children can play

This smells similar to the Green Singapore upon my first whiff, but there are more to it afterwards. It smells sunny, bright and cheerful - a day when children are all eager coming out to play. I could picture young kids laughing as they gather around to play with their friends.

 10) Road to Merdaka - Home Food

Contrary to its name, I thought it smells like fruit cake that contains cinnamon and spices. It is, however, interesting how the scent indeed smells like food and not just any other scent, Damn, its actually 4am in the wee morning now as I am taking a whiff at this. Must I feel hungry now? *wails*

11) Archaeology - Hotel de l' Europe

I can't believe I am addicted to smelling all these different scents! I did this review within one shot and my nose is still, surprisingly, in good shape. This smells like a kind of shower gel to me. I'm imagining myself having a bubble bath now... in a hotel room. LOL.

12) Colonial Singapore - Masons

The last scent of the day. I was caught by surprise when I took my first sniff. I was reminded of ancient ointment but the scent somehow transitioned into an oddly pleasant smell- like a soap bar. With my eyes closed, I could picture myself traveling back to the olden times on a sunny morning. It's an odd but pleasant scent.

Of course, nothing beats smelling them physically .. So here's your chance if you are interested in experiencing them for yourselves.

From 17 April to 18 May 2015, the National Museum will put on display 12 unique smells in SINGAPURA:700, an exhibition which showcases an olfactory translation of Singapore history.

These signature scents will be displayed at different locations in all the galleries at the Museum. They range from a musky Ancient Singapore to a spicy Colonial Singapore. Visitors can also take a whiff of Independent Singapore, a refreshing fruity scent that captures the energy of a nation gearing to surge forward and grow. There is also Fear, an unpleasant smell to represent uncertain times, which can evoke negative emotions.

Create your own Singapore Scent on 3rd May  
Each participant will get the chance to learn the techniques of perfume making and how to mix different ingredients to create your unique Scent of the Nation. Tickets for this 2 May event will be on sale on SISTIC from 10 April.  
Each participant gets to keep a 75ml bottle of perfume they create.   

And this is how the bottle looks like! Gorgeous.

Mrs Prachi was very kind to send me a bottle as well! I love how the perfume in it smells - Simply classy. Not to mention that the design is so attractive - with small shiny 'diamonds' near the bottle cap. 

Before the workshopparticipants will have a chance to join the museum-volunteers on a guided tour to smell your way through Singapore's history and experience her transformation from a humble fishing village to the pride of an empire, before becoming an independent nation-state as she is today.  

I strongly suggest you all to attend with your friends as it will be such a entertaining activity! (Can foster bonding as well at the same time. Heh)

About the Master Perfumer: Mrs Prachi Saini Garg  
Prachi quit a successful career as a multi-media artist to start a perfumery in Singapore to help people express themselves through scents. At her workshops, clients can create beautiful, ugly, artistic or even commercial smells. Some people have found their signature scent and others have even tried to launch their own brands with her help. Je t’aime provides all the raw ingredients while the creative process is left to the client’s imagination. 

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mrs Prachi for extending the opportunity for me to review the exquisite scents! It has definitely been my MOST interactive blog post so far, as I truly enjoyed the process of smelling the scents and being transported by my imagination to different eras. while typing this blog entry at the same time.

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