Perfect Scents: How to Find Happiness in a Bottle

Can happiness be bottled? According to a local fragrance blender, absolutely!

by Lisa Kasanicky

Nothing against Brittany Spears – I’m sure she’s a perfectly nice young lady – but I don’t want to smell like her. And I don’t think I could pull off smelling like Paris Hilton, Queen Latifah or any of the other myriad celebrities who have created their own fragrance lines. Although the thought of a custom scent that says “me” – moody notes laced with a side of hypersensitivity and undertones of a coupon-cutting addiction – is intriguing but I don’t think it would be a big seller.

Enter Kelly Jones Podorsek, founder of Tucson-based Salud Scent Studio. A self-professed scent sommelier and custom fragrance blender, Podorsek says that not only is your choice of fragrance a personal statement but it also can can elevate your mood. Smells have a one-way track to emotional receptors in our brains and given the right notes for your nose, a fragrance can unleash a treasure chest of happy memories.

Here’s her two cents on scents.

Do you think wearing a fragrance contributes to a happier, more positive mood?

Certainly, especially notes in fragrances that remind us of past, happy memories – the smell of playing in a haystack as a child, fresh cut grass, old attics and library books, or the bottle of lilac water on your grandma’s dressing table. Fragrances can bring back those happy memories. Also, certain essential oils and scents can definitely lift the spirit, like neroli, bergamot and other uplifting oranges, as well as the essences of cocoa. Even the very ritual of applying perfume has a calming, centering effect that leads to a happy, peaceful feeling. And of course, I always feel happy when I add a new bottle of perfume to my collection!

In terms of health, are natural essential oil blends better than synthetic fragrances?

There are currently many debates on the very meaning of “natural” and “organic” in the world of perfume. Yes, there is a difference between synthetic scent and essential oil. But I believe that consumers aren’t getting all sides of the story, and that synthetics are not necessarily bad. Essential oils are pure extracts from the plant; I like to think of them as a living liquid in a way. Since these are pure and real, they can have therapeutic and medicinal effects. However, one should also use caution with essential oils, since misuse can sometimes lead to skin irritation. I’m not a fan of the word “synthetic” since it sounds so negative. But in reality, synthetic fragrances are very stable, safe for the skin and allow us to obtain scents that just can’t be capture in the world of essential oils – like the smell of gardenia and pumpkin pie. A high quality perfume will normally contain a combination of essentials and synthetics.

How do we fine-tune our sense of smell?

Leonardo DaVinci once said that the average person “looks without seeing, listens without hearing, touches without feeling, eats without tasting, … and inhales without awareness of odor or fragrance.” My advice is to simply take the time to notice the scents that surround us every day.

Any advice on how to pick the perfect signature scent?

Be open to new scents, and don’t be afraid to try combinations that are very different from what you usually wear. You could be pleasantly surprised! Rest your nose after about five sniffs – smell some coffee beans, or step outside into the fresh air to take a break. Take your time and always try the scents on your skin before committing to a final blend.

How do we extend the wear of our fragrance throughout the day?

Fragrance lasts longer when it’s applied to moisturized skin, so apply some matching or unscented lotion before you apply your perfume. It’s all about layering.

What are your favorite scents?

I tend to get bored with white florals and fruity perfumes. Instead, I love exotic, rare notes and deep, rich woodsy and oriental tones. My current favorite is a blend of Rare Amber, Black Peppercorn, White Tea and Violet. I call it “Zelda” and I blended it after visiting an area on Long Island where F. Scott Fitzgerald set the stage for The Great Gatsby.

For more about Salud Scent Studio, visit

More High Notes

Here’s the latest fresh-cut fragrances from the beauty aisles.

Stella Sheer. A sheer version of her namesake fragrance, this new scent from Stella McCartney is infused with mountain-grown organic rose. The limited-edition bottle was designed by British painter Philip Jones. $62 at Sephora stores and

Lavanila Healthy Roller-Ball. Pop this slim, spill-proof scent in your purse for an on-the-go dose of botanicals. Available in three fresh scents, each is infused with essential oils and 30 vitamins and minerals. $19 at Sephora stores and

Lisa Hoffman Variations Madagascar Orchid Fragrance Kit. Uniquely blended to charge your senses throughout the day, each of these pulse point oils features heady floral notes. The four-oil set comes in a leather travel wallet. $95 at

Pacifica Hawaiian Ruby Guava Spray Perfume. This island-charged aroma has a natural, pure grain alcohol base and notes of fresh notes of coconut and guava. $22 at Sephora stores and

Soap and Paper Factory Solid Perfume. These hand-poured, portable fragrances are blended with jojoba oil, pure beeswax and handpicked fragrance oils. Available in nine sensory experiences, the solid perfumes are packaged in recyclable plastic containers. $18 at


  1. […] here’s me with a nose keen enough to steer clear of fragrances “created” by celebrities (more about why I don’t want to smell like Britany Spears) but not confident enough to pick a scent worthy of cracking open my piggy bank. Plus, my French […]