A day of niche fragrances and wine on Beverly Blvd.
I have major commitment issues. Let me clarify: I have major commitment issues with perfume. People speak of their “signature scent,” but I’ve never felt I had just one. Instead, I’ve had fragrances that remind me of certain moments or chapters in my life. Tocca’s ‘Stella’ awakens the memory of my youth, Armani’s ‘Acqua di Gioia’ reminds me of falling in love for the first time, and Thierry Mugler’s ‘Alien’ smells like those first, single girl months spent discovering the city.
It wasn’t until recently that I realized there wasn’t a single fragrance in months that had really seduced me with its intoxicating aromas. I had been rotating between three rollerball perfumes, all of which hardly lingered on my neck. Fragrance limbo of sorts. They all seemed to be asking me to make a decision: to commit to one of them.
So, I parted ways with these perfume “flings” and went to the bar on Beverly Boulevard to find one I could fall truly-madly-deeply-in-love with. The Scent Bar, that is.
L.A.’s Scent Bar is exactly what it sounds like. The environment is truly reminiscent of a trendy bar, although more airy and bright, offering stools to cozy up at while you sample niche fragrances at your own pace. Johnny, the gentleman behind the counter, has a immense knowledge of fragrances that can easily be compared to a sommelier of fine wines. He took the list of scents I made this morning (below) and was able to quickly find a least a dozen fragrances that made me swoon.
Perhaps the best part about Scent Bar is their no-pressure sales environment. I’m sure we’ve all had the experience of being in a boutique or department store and feeling as though the salesperson is breathing down our neck. They bring us clothes we have no desire to try on, tell us we look fabulous even when we know the fit isn’t right, and desperately try to persuade us to buy the larger version of an expensive perfume we aren’t that crazy about. Scent Bar was created for people who like professional opinion, but prefer to sample before purchasing. Basically, it’s perfume heaven for someone like me who cannot seem to commit, or for impulse-buyers who are met with disappointment when their expensive perfume wears off only minutes later.
Don’t expect mainstream fragrances here. Scent Bar does have a few you may be familiar with like Tom Ford, but this place caters to people who want hard-to-find fragrances from lesser-known perfume houses. Everything feels very under-the-radar, which is exciting. Most likely, your signature scent here will not be shared with anyone you know.
Scent Bar prefers not to categorize fragrances by sex, which I love. They have some that tend to get a better response from men; however, their philosophy is: if you like how it smells, get it!
If you happen to get a chance to visit their Beverly Boulevard-located store, you are granted four samples to take home at no cost; online you pay $4 for each.
An outrageously expensive perfume doesn’t mean it’s necessarily better than others. Scent Bar offers the Clive Christian perfume dubbed “The World’s Most Expensive,” which comes in at $865; however, Johnny told me it’s honestly a pretty “pedestrian” fragrance. Keep in mind, their fragrances are on the more costly side, most being well over $100; however, you’re paying for high-quality fragrances you won’t find anywhere else. He tells me that you can stay within a more comfortable price range and still get an amazing perfume.
I’m not sure who I’ll commit to. There’s Tom Ford’s sexy ‘Ombré Leather 16,’ Ex Nihilo’s sensual ‘Fleur Narcotique,’ Byredo’s euphoric ‘Inflorescence,’ and Killian’s light, cologne-esque ‘Imperial Tea.’ Fortunately, I have samples of each to wear on my arm until they run out.
After feeling on the cusp of finding “the one,” I felt like a glass of celebratory wine. I walked about a block down the street to Stir Market, an L.A. neighborhood marketplace-meets-restaurant-meets-wine bar that serves some great wines on tap; all wine is also $5 during the 5-7 PM Happy Hour. Although it’s fall, I ordered the Pratsch Rosé from Austria because hey, I live in Los Angeles and we drink rosé well into wintertime. The rosé was absolutely divine with bursts of berry flavors and a nice acidity to finish!
I was especially excited to see I can purchase many of the wines on their list, including the Pratsch rosé ($19) and Winc wines, in their marketplace. For more rosé recommendations, check out my first blog post here. If you’re a fan of Winc wines, Stir Market is actually hosting a food and Winc wine pairing with three courses (plus appetizers and dessert), which will showcase Chenin Blanc, Grenache Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and rosé on October 21st. You can find the event details and purchase tickets here.