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One key way to lift your mood is through your nose, says the man behind ION Orchard & Changi Airport's ambient fragrances

What do Changi Airport, Ion Orchard
 and Laneway Festival have in common? Hint: Your noses may be able to sniff
 out the answer. Their ambient fragrances are all uniquely crafted by fragrance designer Allsense, and for those interested in creating one-of-a-kind perfumes or scented candles, you can do so at its craft fragrance lab, Oo La Lab.

We speak to CEO Terry Jacobsen to discover the power of scent on our well-being, and some tips on how we can scent our homes.

Terry Jacobsen of Allsense. 

What effect do scents have on our moods?


The part of our brain that is responsible for processing smells is also in charge of our memory and emotions. Fragrances therefore conjure powerful emotions and memories. According to research, what we smell can affect our mood by up to 40 per cent. The next time you smell something, be it when you’re peeling a citrus fruit, walking past the bakery or smelling your partner, take a moment to consider how it made you feel.

You have designed fragrances for many notable brands, hotels and retailers. Will you take us through the design process?

For ambient or environmental scenting, we will study the unique characteristics of the given space, which include elements like colour, texture, sound and lighting. We take into consideration the function of the space and how people interact with it. In close consultation with the client,
we then work to identify how fragrance can be used to enhance the emotive perception and functional experience of the given environment.

Oo La Lab offers both perfumes and essential oils to create customised scents – what is the difference between the two?

The difference is in purpose and style of usage. Perfumes contain a combination of essential oils and designer molecules. Typically, we design perfumes in an alcohol base that allows the fragrance to lift and spread evenly.

Pure essential oils are complex singular ingredients that are highly therapeutic and often used for their specific health benefits. We typically prepare such essential oils in an oil base, allowing the blend to be massaged into the skin, usually across pulse points.

Perfumes are normally applied to subtly share one’s fragrance with those around us, to make an olfactory statement. Essential oils are typically more personal in nature.

What scents do you use to create specific moods?


At our lab, we offer a wide selection of essential oil remedies named after the effect they produce. They include Happiness, which is composed of bergamot, geranium and lavender; Energy, made with mandarin, frankincense and cinnamon; and Stress Relief, which has lavender, cedarwood, mandarin and ylang ylang. Apart from our designed remedies, you can customise one based on individual requirements.

Any advice for homeowners who want to scent their home?

Adding fragrance to one’s home can provide a strong source of personal and familial identity, as well as be a trigger for relaxation and revitalisation. Ask yourself what kind of experience you wish to create in your home, and if you wish to introduce different moods in different rooms.
 Do also consider the mode of diffusion – candles provide a wonderful ambience at night, while higher-end cold diffusion technologies cover a broader area while also maintaining the character and integrity of the perfume or essential oil.

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