“Perfume is the most intense form of memory”, says perfumer Jean-Paul Guerlain, a sentiment also held by local perfumer Carmen Bertlin of Nosewise Bespoke Perfumery. “And so very personal,” says Carmen. Carmen creates personalised, unique, all-natural fragrances for couples getting married; a fragrance that can add that special touch on the big day but can also act as an anchor, “bringing back the joyous emotions felt on the day, every time it’s worn,” says Carmen.
It is quite a novel idea to create a special fragrance for a couple’s big day. How did you arrive at the idea?
It actually started when one of my dearest friends got married and I was bridesmaid in her wedding. I wanted to give them something really special on their day so I decided to make a unisex perfume for them and the whole wedding party. There were 10 of us. I still think of that Dunsborough wedding every time I smell this Blue Lotus & Vetiver fragrance. I hope they do too.
I can imagine that working with couples preparing for their big day would require many skills. What things have you learnt along the way?
That’d be customer relations. As a creative person I can quickly get lost in the creation of new scents, and not surface for air until I am ravenous or bone tired, like a mad scientist. I guess I had to learn the hard way that to sustain a business with the goal of making a living, there has to be a healthy balance between creation and customer connection. I need to know what people want and how to give it to them. And that comes from reaching out, asking, listening and actioning. Social media has been a great tool for that.
You must be a bit of a romantic Carmen??
Some might say it only takes one divorce to give up on romance, but I still hold a torch. I grew up with parents who fell madly in love in the Fifties and still adored each other until Mum passed away 3 years ago. They have definitely set the benchmark. So yes Jo, I am a bit of a romantic.
Watching you work is like watching a chemist. Can you describe the process of designing a unique fragrance for a couple?
There are two ways to go about the designing process. If the couple live locally, they can come to the perfumery in Valla Beach where we sit down and blend their favourite fragrance notes together. If they live elsewhere we connect over a phone call for me to get a sense of what kind of scent they are after. After the phone consult they receive some perfume samples in the mail from which they choose their favourite.
Once a blend is chosen, custom made labels are designed for the bottles, with a detailed ingredient description. If the couple wants to name their perfume or add a few words from their wedding vows on the label, we can do that too.
What happens when the type of fragrances that 2 people are attracted to vary greatly- could this be the first lesson in compromise?
Precisely. This could be the ultimate test to see how well suited you are! The idea is to combine what might be two completely different types of notes into a well-balanced fragrance. Just like a successful marriage between two opposites. It’s quite symbolic really.
Different aromatherapy oils have different therapeutic qualities. I can imagine that the fragrance chosen could actually have the power to affect the mood on the big day?
Absolutely. The friend I mentioned earlier had a bit of nerves going on following a last minute hair dressing disaster, and I’d like to think the calming combination of essential oils in her perfume assisted with de- stressing her. The two main notes were lotus flower that is said to deepen the breath and slow down a speeding heart rate, and vetiver that is one of the most grounding essential oils; so much so it’s used for anxiety related insomnia.
I know that you’re a purist, so I assume you only use the very best of ingredients?
We only use high quality essential oils, food grade essences and sugar fermented spirit base for all of our perfumes. We pride ourselves on being vegan and toxin-free, yet as luxurious as the high end designer perfume brands.
Nosewise Bespoke Perfumery also offer 5ml perfume samples, that are well suited as wedding favours. Wholesale prices apply to weddings holding more than 50 guests.
Nosewise Bespoke Perfumery is just one of the local businesses in our Bellingen Shire Wedding Directory.
Bellingen Shire is a secret Australian hamlet along the Waterfall Way on the NSW mid-north coast. This region is popular for its unique landscape where the Great Dividing Range almost touches the sea. It boasts a diverse history and proud indigenous culture, and is home to an eclectic and supportive community of farmers, alternative lifestylers, tree-changers, and families who have called this region home for generations. Interesting in so many ways and with so much to offer, it’s no wonder visitors return time & time again, while other never leave…