Perfume has always been deeply personal and transportive. Have a glance at fragrance reviews to get a whiff, with Chanel N°5 described as “a sparkling drink on a summer’s day” before smelling like “rolling around on crisp white sheets in a silk nightgown”. It’s this ability to give us magic, even in the most mundane moments, that makes perfume pandemic-proof.
Even as restrictions still surround us, the desirability of bespoke fragrances lingers. After all, we wear fragrances not just to attract others, contrary to what age-old wisdom suggests, but also for the delight in wearing it for ourselves. As such, there’s an appeal to creating a scent that’s uniquely our own.
Enter Maison 21G. Founded by Johanna Monange in Singapore two years ago, the perfumery house offers the experience of creating customized blends of scents according to your personal preferences. “We first discover what you like or don’t like, how to pair our scents with other scents, and for what occasion it’s for,” says Monange, who speaks French, English, and Mandarin. “Instead of pushing things onto people, I prefer to understand who you are and guide you to create your own perfume. We’re just here to transmit our knowledge as scent designers.”
As creating custom perfumes quickly catches on, Maison 21G’s business has expanded rapidly over the past year, with the original boutique in Duxton Hill now complemented by an outlet in Marina Bay Sands Mall and another to open in Ngee Ann City.
What attracted you to the world of perfumes?
It was purely by chance. Usually, you come from a family of perfumers in France. For me, I studied international business and was deeply passionate about discovering new cultures, which led me to China in the last year of my master’s to study at the University of International Business and Economy (UIBE) in Beijing.
After graduating, I started working for Mane, one of the last prestigious French perfume houses, and for two years I trained at their perfumery school in Grasse, near Cannes in the south of France. I was surrounded by people who were very passionate about perfumery, and I fell in love with it. I’ve now worked in this world for 22 years. It’s so addictive that it’s impossible to step away from it.
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