Our response to smell is deeply rooted in our psychology. It is individual to us, like a road map of our significant relationships and experiences based on odours and aromas we were exposed to at those times. As Creative Director and Founder of STORIES Parfums, I, Tonya Kidd-Beggs, am interested in telling the stories that emerge from our interaction with fragrance. Everyone’s experience is different; everyone’s stories are unique. However, let’s not stop there.
We can mark our place in the world using scent. Say, for example, you have just moved into a new home. You can fill that space with an aroma that you will associate with that life event well into your future. If you are caring for an elderly family member, the lotions and products you use will tether you to their memory when they are gone. Your wedding day, first day in a new job, beginning of a new relationship or any other moment of significance in your life can be celebrated with fragrance.
This is not just a nice thought; this is a scientific fact. Our olfactory bulb is in the most primitive part of our brain, the cerebrum. When we encounter a smell, the information enters our limbic system, into the cerebral hemispheres where cognitive recognition occurs and a positive or negative association is formed. The limbic system is also known as the seat of emotion. Scent, memory and emotion are inextricably linked.
A bottle of high-quality fragrance is a unique and powerful way to make new memories with those you love
Show a Little Love
This month, many of us are thinking about how we can show a little love. Perhaps it is an opportunity to love yourself better by indulging in a little self-care. Maybe you can take advantage of the chance to show your friends how much you appreciate the role they play in your life. You might be in love and trying to figure out how to celebrate that without the trappings of mainstream Valentine’s tat. Whatever your reason, a bottle of high-quality fragrance is a unique and powerful way to make new memories with those you love.
To help you choose between my two luxury fragrances, here is a closer look at the ingredients they contain and the stories that shaped them.
STORIES Nº. 01
The reason I went into fragrance design was to re-create an aroma that changed my life. I was emerging from a painful time of undergoing therapy to address the trauma of my past; the smell broke through my darkness to shed a bit of light on the road ahead. Peace took root in response to the aroma and 20 years later, when I sat at the perfumer’s organ, I had the opportunity to bottle the scent. Citrus notes of bergamot, orange blossom and grapefruit speak light to the wearer. They open STORIES Nº. 01 with all the freshness and joy that citrus scents can hold. They catch your attention and ask you to wait a moment for the rest of the story to unfold. Cedarwood, a touch of jasmine, heliotrope and fig-tea come next, inviting you to hold the tension and appreciate the complexity of life. There is mystery in the lingering base notes of amber, sandalwood and vetiver; it is the mystery of the human heart that can survive great pain and appreciate greater beauty as a result.
STORIES Nº. 02
This blend is a testament to the days I spent in my grandfather’s garden as a child; these were memories I lost sight of as a result of trauma. My feet were ankle-deep in soil and the scent of a summer garden was heavy in the air: rose bushes, orange trees and pots of patchouli. There was a stream at the foot of the garden, I remember splashing around while my father and grandfather smoked their pipes in the shade. This was a time of safety and freedom. STORIES Nº. 02 is an attempt to bottle innocence and childlike wonder. The bergamot, Bulgarian rose and spicy notes of ginger, cardamom and green tea that open the fragrance are heady and rich. They speak of flourishing in the way a garden does at its height. The honey tobacco tones are a nod to the protective gaze of a grandfather while cedarwood brings balance and warmth. Notes of opoponax, tonka bean and patchouli are irresistible while amber and musk render the blend utterly unforgettable.
While these Eau de Parfums tell stories that are specific to me, they will speak to you in an entirely unique way. They may tether you to times in your past, grab your attention in the present and evoke future emotions that surprise. Memories of people you have not thought of may come rushing back. When interacting with my fragrances I ask that you pay attention to these feelings as they may have something to teach you.
As a gift for someone you love, STORIES Nº. 01 or STORIES Nº. 02 can mark a chapter in your relationship in a beautiful way. Each blend features notes considered feminine and masculine because it is important to me that my Eau de Parfums defy gender stereotypes. These fragrances are limited only by your imagination. Whatever connections you want to honour this month, do it with perfume and celebrate the oldest and most powerful of our senses.