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A Twist on Perfume

By Jeannette Bolden

Gone are the days of cookie cutter perfume scents, ever since Roberta Gringorten started Elemental Scents in the early 2000s. Gringorten’s love for fragrances and her passion for perfume took her abroad to study at a perfume school in Bangkok, Thailand. Today, her entire collection includes five women’s and two men’s fragrances. The assortment of perfumes is based on the elements: earth, air, fire, water, and spirit.

Gringorten believes that a fragrance should communicate a story. A scent and its name should be connected. There should be a rhyme and a reason and this is where Gringorten began her inspiration for her collection. For this collection, the perfumer pulled ideas from her family heritage. From her Scottish background, Gringorten began to think about the culture’s old metaphysical beliefs in the earth and the human connection to the planet. She is also part Native American and realized how similar those beliefs were to those from her Scottish roots. These cultural beliefs inspired her to create a scent collection based on the elements of the planet.

Gringorten thought about each individual element and evaluated its color, its scent and even its temperature. She thoroughly explored the element’s qualities and her own feelings about
them. Many of the element’s scents came quickly and clearly to the perfumist, making the composition of the perfumes easy to come up with. However, Spirit was a bit more difficult for her to comprehend. “It took a bit more time, thought and meditation on what spirit meant to me and how to communicate that in the final scent, but finally it came to me and the final scent was worth the wait,” said Gringorten of her fifth elemental scent.

Thus far, Elemental Scents’ best-selling fragrance has been Water, a unisex scent. Like each of Gringorten’s perfumes, this scent is composed of various notes. The top notes include hints of
salt, ocean air, seaweed, and citrus mint, whereas the middle consists of an herbal green floral and the base notes are reminiscent of moss. Perfumer Gringorten believes the scent is so popular because of its unisex nature, and its longevity throughout the day.

The water scent aside, a prospective customer or first-time customer may also wonder what Elemental Scents’ best- selling product is. According to Gringorten, most customers buy the two-ounce bottle of the eau de cologne. “I think that people look for a lighter scent that cologne offers versus a perfume and a best value in the products that they buy,” said the perfumer of her best-selling product. Although perfume last much longer, they cost more with the larger volume of fragrance that they contain.

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