Walking into Olfactory NYC on Mott Street feels a bit like wandering into a chic, friendly science lab. The minimalist, white décor allows the senses to focus entirely on the task at hand: creating your own custom perfume. Free will is the approach of the brand.
The Olfactory NYC experience begins with a selection of standard bases (all categorized with unisex names), and a vast array of accords (a choice of various blends) to enhance the scent. Each of the bases show examples of the actual seeds, leaves, and sources of the natural oils used to create the fragrances. You get a little education as well, with brief presentations and explanations. The company is very transparent about where their scents come from, and they are passionate about ethical sourcing.
Olfactory NYC is certified cruelty-free by Leaping Bunny International, and all of their products are vegan. Additionally, all fragrances are sustainably and locally sourced, phthalate- and paraben-free, and contain ingredients certified safe by IFRA (learn more).
Olfactory NYC offers the base blends as they are, but if you want to personalize one with a few extra notes, you can select from the menu.
Feeling fruity? The Ashton blend boasts lemon, bergamot, and white tea, with options to boost it. Maybe some blackcurrant and patchouli for a surprising twist? How about sage, orris and clearwood for an earthier approach? The choice is yours!
Olfactory NYC offers some unusual accord combinations, my favorite being English toffee/oud/saffron. One pleasant surprise was a tomato/basil combination that smelled like a summer garden after a gentle rain.
After choosing your two favorites, you are presented with perfume cards with the various combinations of the base and accords. You select which scents you enjoy the most, choose up to four combinations, and test the blends on your skin to see how they react to your personal chemistry.
Ever the Venus in Scorpio, I narrowed my choices down to the sensual Cam (designed by Le Labo Santal 33 creator Frank Voelkl) and the smooth Jayden (designed by perfumer Harry Fremont). It was difficult to decide. Cam, a blend of fig, violet leaves, and incense, was wonderful; the leaves had a fun little bite to the scent. After some deliberation, however, I knew Jayden would be more of an everyday scent for me.
Jayden’s signature is sandalwood, bolstered with a gently searing musk and refreshing cedarwood. After blending it with several different combinations of accords; my nose landed squarely on cedarwood and incense. (Although the toffee/oud/saffron accord was intriguing and smelled heavenly, it was too light and sweet for my own personality. I like an element of mystery!
Once the selection is finalized, the blend is then poured into a bottle and you choose the name and color for the custom label (available at no extra charge). Voilá! Here is my own personal scent, which is kept on file by Olfactory NYC in case I ever want to get another bottle (highly likely).
Although some perfumes can be saturated with heavy citrus or patchouli elements, this is not the case with Olfactory NYC. All blends smelled wonderful and packed a punch…without overwhelming sensitive noses.
Four hours later, the “Alice” blend still smelled fresh and fragrant on my skin.
This is a wonderful perfume and having input in its creation was a delightful way to spend an hour. Best of all, a custom-made, 50ml bottle runs at $78. Their 50ml/1.69oz core fragrances are $50 (purchased as-is, without scent customization). Additionally, they offer 10ml/0.33oz travel spray and rollerballs of their core fragrances for $20. Olfactory NYC’s minimalist approach extends to its packaging, and because all scents are created in-house, this quality perfume is something special that won’t break the bank. Why pick up a tired old standby when you can have a little choose-your-own-adventure with your sweetheart…or your friends…or yourself?
If you want to give Olfactory NYC as a gift, they do offer empty gift bottles that lucky recipients can customize for themselves. Because scent is so deeply personal and can be hit or miss as a gift, this is a fantastic idea. They also offer rotating seasonal base scents. In addition to fragrances, Olfactory NYC also offers body lotions, candles, and body wash in their base scents. (Only fragrances can be customized, however.) You can also personalize your wedding celebration with the gift of custom scent!
No appointment necessary! Go in and have some fun.
281 Mott Street’
New York, NY 10012
Monday – Saturday 11:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Sunday 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM