Sarah Horowitz-Thran the founder of Creative Scentulization takes signature scent literally. In this interview find out how Sarah discovered her passion for perfumes, how she created Sarah Michelle Geller’s signature wedding perfume thought her very unique fragrance journey, and the best part of being a perfumer

Where did your journey into the world of perfumes begin? I was an 18 year old college freshman living in Boston. One day, I was walking down Newbury Street, killing time between classes. That’s when it happened – literally, the moment that separated the moment before that day and the moments afterward. I walked into a new age, high-end custom blending bar named Essense. A man walked up to me as I entered and bowed, saying “May I anoint you?” Being young and adventurous, I quickly said “Whatever that is, you can do it, yes”. He followed by speaking the words that changed my life (dramatic sounding, but completely true) “You are so unique–shouldn’t your fragrance be?” I thought, “Yes – I don’t want to smell like my boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend!” I sat down at the bar with him and began blending my first perfume (which I still wear it to this day, ) missed my next class and fell in love with an art form I had never given any thought to before that afternoon. I ended up buying Essense after working there and developed my own custom blending technique that is now known as the Fragrance Journey. I moved to California to focus on practicing it and, well, here we are today!

What is different about Creative Scentualization? Creative Scentualization is now the name of my company, but originally it was what I called the technique I use during the Fragrance Journey. I believe that fragrance is a vehicle for self expression, and that a perfume created for you can capture who you are and what you love. It can be used as a tool to keep one grounded in the moment and in touch with oneself during challenging times. I founded my company on this belief, and craft every fragrance – whether it is for an individual, a ready to wear fragrance in one of our perfume lines or a Private Label creation – with the thought that the integrity and intention with which a fragrance is created ripples out and can affect the wearer.

Where do you draw the inspiration from when creating a perfume? When creating a fragrance for a client I draw inspiration from them – their life, their history and their dreams. When I create a fragrance for one of our brands, I focus on the feeling I want to evoke, which is sometimes inspired by a memory, an experience or even a specific color. I always put a lot of thought into a formula – and sometimes I write or even dream about it for weeks before I actually sit down in front of my organ to blend.

“The absolute best part of being a Perfumer is watching a client’s face when their fragrance comes to life on their skin, and seeing in their eyes that it resonates with them; that they love it and that it feels like it has always been a part of them.”

The Fragrance Journey is the heart and soul of your business. What’s involved in this process? The Fragrance Journey is what allows me to
connect with an individual on a deeper level. During a Journey, the client and myself will sit with one another and talk about all the facets of their past, present and future — their loves and dislikes, childhood memories, fantasy vacations, fragrance wearing history and favorite flowers. Oftentimes, doing this will lead to personal realizations, remembrance of forgotten memories or a reinforced connection with their spouse (if they come together) – you just never know. The only constants in a Fragrance Journey are how they begin and end. I always begin by providing a brief history of fragrance and an overview of how our sense of smell works and affects our memories and emotions. The journey ends with the creation of an entirely unique perfume! Every Fragrance Journey is made different by the client themselves, so the process remains fresh, new and exciting. I have also trained my apprentice, Marlene Stang, to conduct the Journey as well, and she has developed her own style and is an amazing Perfumer
in her own right. It has been so thrilling to share this with her, particularly since designing fragrances is the realization of a long-held dream for her as well.

How do you source the ingredients for your perfumes? I work with a variety of sources — large fragrance houses and individual purveyors.
Working with both fragrance and essential oils, I have found that while a source might have an exceptional jasmine, for example, their honeysuckle might not smell true. In these instances, I either work with a larger house to create a nature identical version of the essence I am in search of or find a house that has already created one. The relationships I have cultivated in this realm are very important to me.

How should one use Creative Scentualizations’s Perfumers Palette?
The Perfumers Palette was created to provide the client with an opportunity to basically become their own Perfumer. The Palette is separated into top notes, middles notes and base notes, and each fragrance is balanced so that it can be worn alone or layered to create a signature scent. A note from the Palette can also be layered with a pre-existing favorite fragrance to lend it a new twist or add longevity (adding a base note like Soft Musk, for example, to a very citrusy fragrance will help it last longer on the skin).

Of all the fragrances you have designed so far, which is your personal
To be honest, I have three. I created a fragrance for my Perfect Perfumes line called Perfect Sunset that was based on the fragrance I made that first day at Essense. It is a Patchouli/Vanilla-based fragrance accented with Jasmine and Musk – and it is still the fragrance I wear when I have somewhere important to go. Sunset was never one of our best sellers, but it is still a personal favorite! The other two are in the ‘What Comes From Within’ line – I wear ‘Peace comes from Within’ every day because it is clean, fresh and goes with everything. I have been wearing ”Beauty Comes From Within’ as my sexy evening fragrance on the rare occasion that my husband and I get a babysitter and enjoy a night out!

What’s new this year at Creative Scentualization? I have a wish list of new products for 2008, but the one that is currently in development is very exciting. We are creating a beautiful travel size for the Within line. Currently, the line is only available in a 1.7 oz, but we have found these beautiful pen applicators that match the bottle perfectly, and the bottle design and the pouches they will go in are really luxe. So excited!

How did you go about creating Sarah Michelle Geller’s signature wedding perfume? Creating Sarah Michelle’s fragrance was truly an honor. I asked her about her relationship, her favorite flower and what kind of flowers would be at the wedding, as well as where the wedding would take place. The fragrance itself, with sparkling marine notes and a heart of gardenia, has a vibrancy that I think really reflects her personality.

Which other celebrities are fans of Creative Scentualization? Over the years I have heard of many different celebrities purchasing our fragrances from some of our retailers, which is very cool. Most recently, Jennifer Garner and Jessica Biel have both been great supporters.

What is the best part of being a perfumer? The absolute best part of being a Perfumer is watching a client’s face when their fragrance comes to life on their skin, and seeing in their eyes that it resonates with them; that they love it and that it feels like it has always been a part of them. The best part of being a perfumer at Creative Scentualization, Inc. is that I get to work with the amazing women who have found their way to me, and with whom I share vision and passion. That is perhaps the most fulfilling thing in my career.

What is your best kept beauty secret? Sleep, when I can get it!!! Also, in order to keep my fragrance lingering, I actually dab a hint of a fragrance oil and run my fingers through my hair. Hair is very porous, and will hold fragrance longer than on your skin – but one should not spray perfume directly into hair – this can dry it out. If I have a spray, (I know this sounds weird, but it works!) I spritz the fragrance on my hand and clap my hands softly together until the alcohol dries down and then run it through.

It was a pleasure to interview Sarah you can find out more about her and Creative Scentualization by visting her website:

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