In the March Letter from the Editor, Allure's Linda Wells describes her unexciting experience of creating a custom fragrance and the less than mediocre result ("...this was no bouquet. This was an odor. Imagine dabbing Mr. Clean on your pulse points, and you get the idea."). "My keen sense of smell and large nose", says Wells, "don't make me a perfumer (...) Masters in the field train for decades before they're able to create a fragrance. And I defer to them." Wells is just as skeptical about custom dressmaking or custom makeup blending. "To me, customized products are a from of applied narcissism. Besides, I don't want my perfume, my lipstick, and my gold-lace evening suit to be only as good as my imagination. Surely they can be better than that."
Perhaps, if Wells experienced custom fragrance creation not an an unnamed "cosmetics company in the Midwest", but, say, at Jean Patou or at Miller Harris, the results would have been different. Perhaps not. I do understand her point of custom creations being only as good as one's imagination. My feeling on the matter is that, if the result one expects from such custom blending is the one and only ultimate signature fragrance, one might be disappointed. There is no ultimately perfect perfume that can fully express the essence of its wearer. There just isn't. One should expect to receive, at the end of the long process of custom blending, a beautiful fragrance to love and enjoy along other beautiful fragrance. But then, of course, I don't believe in signature scents and in monogamy in perfume.
What are your thoughts on the subject of custom perfumes? Is it worth it to try to create something perfect just for yourself or does it make more sense to express yourself by picking and choosing among the endless variety of ready-to-wear scents already available? Do you believe in signature perfumes, in those elusive perfect scents one would be remembered by after one is long gone? Have you had a bespoke perfume created? Was it all you hoped for? Was it the one and only perfect perfume? Do share!