It was in the unlikely setting of a bland office in the Waterside Business Centre, in the Phoenix Industrial Estate, that I had a sensory experience that will change my life forever. The Perfume Studio in Suite F8 offers a service which enables you to blend your own perfume. Now, I must admit ignorance about perfume - I generally wear whatever scent I am given for Christmas. I was totally unprepared for what a knock-out the Perfume Studio demonstration would be. To be honest, I wasn't even aware that smelling things could be such a pleasure. Just like tasting exquisite wine, sniffing divine fragrances for an hour was a true delight.

The way the service works is that they give you a basic scent, like lavender, on a little wand. You say whether you like it or not and whether you think it is YOU. It is amazing how strong a reaction you have to scents. Citrus fruits remind me of air fresheners, Patchouli of hippies, Mown Grass of the great outdoors - yuk. None of those are ME at all. You go through all 18 aromas and keep the wands with the scents you like and discard the others. Then you hold the wands with your favourite scents together to form a fan which you wave in front of you so you can smell the blend. After adjusting your scent cocktail for a while, you have created your own perfume. You walk out feeling like a pampered celebrity, your identity expressed in a whole new way and encapsulated in a little crystal bottle with a certificate. What's more, I am back in touch with one of my five senses which I will never again ignore.



Heaven scent: why buy off-the-rack stuff when you can have it tailor-made?