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Samantha Cruz presenting an accord of Virtual

What’s in a scent? An Evening with Top Perfumers!


I recently received an invitation to attend an evening of learning about fragrance from the International Fragrance Association of North America and the American Society of Perfumers. This was an elegant event at the historic and elegant Sutter Club in Sacramento, CA to present and celebrate the release of the fragrances of California. I have always appreciated fragrance and perfumes so this was a night to remember and I want to share it with you!


I learned that perfumery, winemaking and even music have so much in common and that there are only 900 Perfumers in the world. It also takes 20-25 years for a Perfumer to develop their craft. It truly is an art as well as a science to create a fragrance and these perfume pros had such a passion for their craft that it was contagious. I experienced fragrance in a way that I never had and definitely have a much stronger appreciation for what it takes to make a fine fragrance. I was lead on a sensory journey – sniffing the individual blends “accords” that make up each note of these fragrances and then at the end smelling the complete fragrance – but also appreciating the way the notes blended together like a beautiful medley.  As I inhaled these scents, I actually felt intoxicated and it wasn’t just from the award-winning Bogle Family’s wine that was flowing. Fine fragrances have a base note, a mid note and a top note. The top note is what you smell first and tends to dissipate the quickest, the mid note you actually smell second and the base note is what you’re fragrance is going to smell like at the end of the day –  so it’s important to really like that base note! There were two top perfumers presenting their fragrances at this event.  They were both tasked with creating fragrances that are inspired by California. These passionate Perfumers,  of course, took a very unique and personal spin on this. It really is impressive to note that these professional fragrance creators have developed their “fragrance bank” over 25 years and have to know how all the individual constituents will blend together to create a final fragrance. They create fragrances for celebrities and major companies. The Perfumers also have fragrance regulators who are like their auditors that they work closely with who keep them in check – in essence helping them to reign in their creative natures and inspiring them in the appropriate way for the final fragrance to be perfect!

Christopher Diienno presented his fragrance, Virtual, which had notes of the sun over the horizon, golden poppy, night blooming jasmine and sweet sugar cane. He wove a story of summers spent growing up in Southern Ca and memories of the fair with his grandfather. This scent is truly mesmerizing and smells just as good as it sounds. This is a very feminine scent and the perfect summer fragrance to evoke carefree California summers on the beach.

Monica Aneiros-Burke presented her fragrance, Caliverde. This was inspired by the vast beauty and landscape of California. It’s lush and mossy and had aromatic wood notes which a man or woman would be attracted to. It also has some lemon and grapefruit and was accented by tomato vines. This rich scent combined the earth’s soil,  sun and redwood forests as well. It also had a drop of coastal water, sensual dark musks and voluptuous amber. This scent reminded me of all of the beautiful hikes I love to take in my home of Northern Ca. This is a gorgeous warm scent that I love to wear.

What strikes me most about these scents is how different they are yet how well they represent California as they both smell divine but evoke completely different feelings when I wear them. I find the Virtual scent by Christopher Diienno is the perfect representation of Southern CA making me feel light, carefree and like I’m going to go walk on the beach and maybe snack on some cotton candy and the Caliverde scent from Monica Aneriros-Burke is the perfect representation of Northern CA which makes me feel like going on a gorgeous hike in Tiburon where I might see some waterfalls and ferns, and then go to a cozy lodge for a glass of red wine with friends. I truly appreciated the opportunity to meet these passionate purveyors of perfume.

You can check out the International Fragrance Association’s website here. There are a lot of interesting fragrant facts and even some videos which explain the science of scent.


I’d love to hear what your favorite scent or perfume is.

Thanks for reading! xoxo Pearl

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