Botanical Perfume FAQ
We were thrilled to develop an ongoing relationship with Manuela King of S+M Fragrances, finding likeminded joy over well designed objects, the natural environment and a passion for making.
We collaborated on the launch of a first Poet and/the Bench bespoke scent, No. 11, which you can purchase here and read our interview with Manuela here. We wanted to dive a bit deeper into the details of Manuela's craft and delighted to provide additional texture to her process. And the beauty that botanical parfum imparts on our senses and our souls.
S+M Fragrances was founded by Manuela, the designer and perfumer, based on the idea of scent and how it triggers or influences our memories. Her fragrances are beautiful and healing at both an emotional and physical level. Manuela’s experience as a landscape architect brings an understanding of design, natural processes and blending, not to mention a keen relationship to plants.
What is your background?
Manuela is a landscape architect who has a passion for fragrance in plants and perfumes. In her work as a landscape architect, she has designed many gardens based on the senses –touch, sight, smell and sound. She developed a passion as a perfumer and loves sultry white flower florals and fresh crisp green notes.
Why natural fragrance?
Manuela has been collecting and using perfume for years, bought in boutiques from Paris to San Francisco. She has refined her ability to distinguish the ordinary from the sublime. Her architectural experience designing fragrant gardens has created a strong foundation for constructing scent. She studied the therapeutic properties of scent and the folklore associated with flowers and plants. As she learned to blend, she realized that beyond their capability as individual oil, the true magic happened when scents were allowed to interact together sans chemicals. Just like a fine wine that begins its fermentation, through alchemy, a scent is born.
"I believe fragrance has the ability to alter your mood, transporting you to a place of love, peace and calmness. I design all our blends by first considering what emotion I would like the wearer to feel. Joy, creativity, unconditional love, desire - these can all be manifested through fragrance. " ~ Manuela King, perfumer
What are the ingredients?
S+M Fragrances ingredients are natural botanical essential oils and absolutes in a base of organic grape alcohol or coconut oil. (At Poet and/the Bench, our No. 11 is in a carrier of fractionated coconut oil). We do not use synthetic fragrances, preservatives or fixatives. Our oils, ruhs and absolutes come from a variety of sources around the world. Each natural fragrance is individually selected for its purity, scent and vibration. As with any natural product, discontinue use if a rash develops. Pregnant women should check with their physician.
How are S+M Fragrances botanicals different?
Each blend is specially formulated to create an elegant fragrance while, at the same time, bringing emotional resonance to the wearer. Flowers have a long history of associations with love, sexuality, sense of peace, divine connection. We have researched the historical healing properties and language of flowers and blended our essences to reflect these. As we blend, we consider the energetic influences of fragrance on the mind and body. We consider the chakras and the ability of scent to activate them.
S+M Fragrances blends are based both on the research we have done and our personal responses to the individual oils.
How long do they last on the skin?
Because these perfumes do not use synthetic fragrances, extenders or fixatives, they are more subtle in scent and unfold over time, like a flower. They are intended to be applied freely and often. Personal skin types, fragrance ingredients and individual body chemistries will affect the longevity on the body. Oils with higher citrus content tend to be more ephemeral. Generally, perfume oil can have more lasting effect as it doesn't evaporate as fast as alcohol.
We personally apply ours every two hours. And we believe that touch is an important quality to activating the resonance of the scent holistically.
How do I store them?
Natural fragrances are more subject to changes in temperatures. Store them out of direct sunlight. Like wine, the perfumes will bloom in the bottle, subtly changing over time.
Will perfume oils stain my clothing?
Our fragrances contain higher amounts of natural botanical oils than commercial perfumes. They may stain delicate fabrics if applied directly to them.
Do you use animal derived products?
We can't wait to share more of S+M Fragrances with you as well as other bespoke Poet and/the Bench scents to transport you!