As smell is the most evocative of all senses, it almost seems more natural to wear a tailor-made scent than a suit. Anne McClain, the Grasse-trained perfumer behind Brooklyn-based MCMC Fragrances (the brand known for Dude No.1, a cedarwood beard oil that’s converted countless men), offers clients a personal and collaborative service based on individual sensibilities. She starts by presenting clients with scents from different olfactive families (such as florals, citruses, woods) to see what gets a response. “Next, we’ll build a formula together,” says McClain. “And because we’re building from the ground up, we don’t add in a bunch of other things, so the whole list of ingredients is only 10 to 20 items.” Each scent is based on the fragrance pyramid: the top (a fleeting initial hit, like bergamot), the middle (a longer-lasting floral) and a base note (often a wood that lingers after drying). In the end, the client comes away with a 50-milliliter bottle of his or her creation—not to mention an immersive three-hour lesson in perfume-making. For clients who can’t come to Brooklyn, not to worry: MCMC will send a tool kit of scent strips and samples to create a personalized fragrance right over the phone. None of this comes cheap—it’s $2,500 for a custom perfume and $175 for refills. mcmcfragrances.com.
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