Saturday, June 16, 2007

Sali Corresponds With Fragrance Expert Marian Bendeth of Sixth Scents

Marian Bendeth is something of a stylish perfume guru in cyberspace. The first time I spoke to her online was on a perfume forum where she was talking about some of her favorite perfumes. She had a strong, sparkling presence on board and a knack for depicting scents with words that get straight to the heart and seduce the senses. With her overflowing creativity and a magical sixth sense for knowing what we desire, she'd painted such glorious, almost holographic imagery of each scent she loved, and had everyone on the forum so intrigued, oohing and ahhing, sitting at the edge of our seats waiting for the names of these scents so we could all go out and make them ours...but then, probably due to the scarcity of some of these perfumes, she'd decided to stay mysterious and left us completely hanging! Well, I had to know what they were, and so I pressured her just a little bit to share just a name or two...and to my surprise and delight, she did! That's when I knew she was a kind person who really had come to the forum to share her love of perfume (and not just to tease us, LOL). I hope I didn't deplete her stash of Deneuve on account of my perfume addiction!

We'd bonded over Deneuve; since then, I have sought advice from Marian whenever I could, and she has been so generous with her time. It's not every day I have the opportunity to speak with a true fragrance expert, and knowing her has been a blessing and an inspiration to me as a budding indie perfumer. She's brilliant, vivacious, passionate and a genuinely warm and encouraging person with lots of stories to share, and they're all fascinating. I could listen to her talk about Audrey Hepburn's love of Ivoire, or her meetings with Michael Edwards, Jean-Claude Ellena or a charming rep from Kenzo at a French award ceremony (where she just won an award for one of her articles--good going, Marian!) all day. Marian has lived the fragrant path all her life, and because perfumery relies so much on words to describe each scent, and because she has such a way with words, I think it's fair to say she's shaped trends along the way.

She's been very helpful to me with the launch of my Pink Manhattan PURRFUME which she'd described as follows: "Sali has really nailed Carrie Bradshaw at the waterfront avec frilly frock. Her adorable new Pink Manhattan has captured the girlish yet sophisticated twist on fun and frivolaty!". Who else could have painted an entire episode of SATC with merely two sentences? She gets the gist like a perfume poet whose visions are like snapshots of the decisive moment in photography, an instant memory or dream captured by one brief moment in time immortalized by scent. That moment when we take in a perfume can't ever be redone again--it's zen, perfect in that moment, and the pictures she paints have a sense of immediacy and breath life. I'm happy that her article, Sentimental France on Basenotes has won her well-deserved recognition.

Now, what she does as a Fragrance Expert is a bit mysterious; among many services Sixth Scents offers, there's a service called Fragrance Profiling. Hmm. I haven't had the pleasure of getting one of her perfume personality readings yet, but I know she's dead on when it comes to assessing someone's taste in fragrance. She once described my taste as being "warm", and if someone as warm as she is sees me this way, I feel very honored...but is such a reading something to be taken to heart? I don't know, but I know that one day, I'm going to have to get a complete assessment of my perfume personality and psychological makeup from her. If anyone has had this done, please feel free to share! I think her system is at least more intriguing than Myers-Briggs. Can you know someone--or yourself--through scent? Contact or visit the website at for more info.

(Images: Marian Bendeth at Chanel, 31 rue Cambon, Paris, Marian Bendeth closeup, Sixth Scents)