Custom Fragrances with The Scentarium and Sue Phillips

Custom Fragrances with The Scentarium and Sue Phillips

As I descended into The Scentarium in Tribeca on a rainy Friday evening, I wasn't quite sure what to expect for my "sensory journey". However, after two hours in a sumptuous perfumery, I left with my own custom fragrance and had learned about the history of scent itself with one of New York City's most fascinating women, Sue Phillips.

Sue, a South African former singer, actress, and Head of Marketing for Tiffany & Co. has created the first ever custom fragrance studio in the iconic Tribeca neighborhood in Manhattan. With tufted leather couches, beautiful glass vials, and books that inspire her, Sue’s entire studio was a sensory experience. The Scentarium is all about customization and personalization, Sue took me through my scent personality quiz which helped me identify which scent families I preferred the most. I smelled over 17 different scent blends from The Four scent families to explore my own unique olfactory palette. Sue is a well of deep knowledge on the history of scent; teaching me the origin of the word perfume, which is derived from the Latin word, "per fumus," meaning “through smoke”, to how the iconic fragrance, Chanel No. 5, came to be (hint: it was an accident).

I preferred the Woodsy, Animalic, and Amber scent families the most and from there Sue helped me blend my own custom scent. The 4 scent blends I chose for my fragrance were Balsamic Vanilla, Mellow Musk, Smooth Amber, and Tonic Sport. Once you select your 3-4 scents, Sue gets to work blending your custom scent right in front of you! While she does that, you get to name your custom scent which is both fun and nerve-racking! My fragrance brought back memories of the small mountain resort town in the Rocky Mountains I used to visit every winter growing up named McCall, and my scent name was born.

Armed with a name for my scent, Sue presented me with my fragrance in a matte black atomizer and velvet satchel. I learned the top notes in my fragrance were sporty, fresh juniper with herbal tonic and bergamot. The other 3 blends of Mellow Musk, Smooth Amber and Balsamic Vanilla built my middle and base notes which provided woody, sweet & creamy notes without being overly cloying. Because of the high quality of the perfumes at The Scentarium, the scents are rich and long-lasting. Since wearing my custom scent, I've gotten so many compliments and I can't sing Sue's praises enough!

A trip to The Scentarium with Sue makes for a luxurious gift for you or a significant other. Sue’s clients include Jamie Foxx, who crafted a custom scent for Katie Holmes birthday, Zendaya, and Action Bronson to name a few! I absolutely love my scent and can't wait to head back to The Scentarium to spend more time with Sue and blend more custom fragrances!

To learn more about The Scentarium or book your own sensory experience, visit their website.


Kasey Spickard is a certified, professional makeup artist living & working in New York City. After working in the technology industry at Google and Pinterest for nearly a decade, Kasey decided to leave the corporate world to pursue his passion of makeup artistry. He has experience working with large global beauty brands like L’Oreal and Estee Lauder as well as on-air television and film personalities including Deepica Mutyala, Nitika Chopra, and Julianne Michelle.