Perfumes with a twist: Unique ingredients with local relevance key to developing hit fragrance

By Amanda Lim

- Last updated on GMT

Scent Journer has emphasised the importance of individuality in the saturated fragrance market with unique ingredients such as Sichuan peppers and pandan. [Scent Journer]
Scent Journer has emphasised the importance of individuality in the saturated fragrance market with unique ingredients such as Sichuan peppers and pandan. [Scent Journer]

Related tags Fragrance upcycled ingredients

Singapore-based Scent Journer has emphasised the importance of individuality in the saturated fragrance market with unique ingredients such as Sichuan peppers and pandan.

Scent Journer is a perfume label that launched in 2021 by perfumer Joyce Lian. The start-up was previously incubated under the National University of Singapore’s NUS Enterprise.

It recently launched its fifth perfume, Soaring at Dawn a fresh and citrusy fragrance with a surprising twist. In addition to bergamot, neroli, mandarin, and orange blossom, she added Sichuan pepper into the mix.

“I drew inspiration from the unique essence of Sichuan pepper, popularised in Singapore’s Mala hotpot trend, to bring relatability to our fragrance,” ​said Lian.

According to Lian, Sichuan peppers add a “vibrant, sparkling, and energising touch” ​to the fragrance.

The perfume was created with Givaudan’s VivaScentz technology which it claims helps to enhance positive emotions and elevate overall mood.

Lian told CosmeticsDesign-Asia​ that she was conscious that the fragrance market was getting more and more competitive. “It’s important to have a unique touch to help stand out from the saturated market”.

One of the brand’s best-sellers is its most unique perfume, Clouds in Heaven, which was part of its original launch line-up.

It features pandan, sometimes known as ‘Asian vanilla’, as its top note and enveloped with white flowers such as jasmine and tuberose.

The nostalgic creation was inspired by the humble pandan chiffon cake, which is enjoyed in Singapore and across the region, especially by children.

This perfume is the most popular item among its younger Gen Z consumers, who value uniqueness and individuality.

“Ultimately, they don’t see perfume as an easier entry into luxury. Because it’s something they wear, they want to find something that they genuinely like the most. That’s why that unique touch is important,”​ said Lian.

Upcycled for good

Soaring at Dawn also features upcycled cistus. The plant is a shrub that produces a resin that is harvested to obtain labdanum, which has been used in perfumery for centuries known for its warm, sweet, and amber notes.

“After extraction, the twigs and leaves are usually just thrown away. But it can be collected, and it undergoes some reaction to extract out an oil. It’s more ambery and woody. Soaring at Dawn is such a citrusy, fresh fragrance, it probably wouldn’t last long with just those top notes.”

The brand started using upcycled ingredients with its fourth perfume, A Starlit Spell. It used Upcycled eugenol from the leaves of the clove tree, which are generally discarded.

Lian highlighted the importance of upcycling innovation in perfumery, which uses a lot of precious raw materials.

“I wanted to continue with using upcycled ingredients, like we did with A Starlit Spell. Fragrances contain so much natural content so it’s important for us to use upcycled ingredients to use fewer resources and reduce our environmental impact,” ​said Lian.

Soaring At Dawn contains 90.24% ingredients of natural origin according to ISO16128:2017 calculation, including water.

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