Hello everyone – welcome back to another of my reviews. In today’s article, I’ll be reviewing my experience attending a perfume workshop at Maison 21G’s new Marina Bay Sands outlet.
I first attended a perfume workshop by Maison 21G in early 2020 – before face masks became a norm – and later experienced another iteration of the workshop at the brand’s ION showroom with Johanna (who’s the founder of Maison 21G). Since then, the brand has grown from strength to strength, opening new showrooms in atas areas such as Takashimaya and MBS and refining the workshop experience. As such, I decided to pay Maison 21G a visit at its new MBS outlet to see what the new perfume workshop experience is all about – let’s see how it went.
Maison 21G – the Brand
I’ve covered Maison 21G as a brand in my previous review of its perfume workshop. For those who are interested in the brand story, you can read the article here. I also reviewed my experience at its ION outlet here, reviewed its home scents here, and its dual crayon roll-on perfume here.
Maison 21G – MBS Workshop Experience
My first impression of the MBS showroom – cosy but lovely. It’s smaller than the brand’s flagship outlet at Duxton Road, but feels homelier than the now-defunct ION outlet. Its warm lighting reminds me of the Duxton showroom, which I absolutely loved.
And like in the Duxton showroom, the brand’s solo scents – 35 total – are presented in glass domes. Now technologised, activation of a sensor will “fill” the dome with the scent, allowing participants to inhale the scent that they are curious about.
The workshop takes place on a quaint round table, where all 35 ingredients are displayed on a turntable. My workshop was conducted by Amanda (pictured above, right), who’s the Communications and PR Manager for Maison 21G.
Like the previous iterations, the revamped workshop starts with a brief introduction of the Maison 21G brand, as well as basic fundamentals of perfumery (how top, middle and base notes come together, etc). We skimped through this part as I’ve already attended the workshop twice, but if you’re someone new to perfumery then this introductory portion of the workshop will definitely be educational.
After the sharing session (and a cup of tea) we proceeded to the next segment – the personality quiz. The quiz starts off pretty standard, gathering basic information such as gender, skin tone, age, your favourite perfumes, etc. The personality quiz then asks you some questions (whether you’re searching for adventure, security, etc) to determine your personality, before narrowing down the scents that you prefer. If you have no idea what scents you like, don’t worry – the workshop facilitator will be more than willing to assist. The result of the personality is also a mere guideline, not a fixed product.
While the personality quiz only provided two different scent profiles previously, it now suggests four profiles that you can try out and experiment with. Amanda shared with me that with more scent profiles, participants now have more freedom and guidance to explore the various scent combinations, which should result in them being more satisfied with their final perfume creation.
However, as I’ve already gone through the personality quiz in my previous workshop experience, I decided to take a different approach this time around. I knew Amanda was obsessed with perfumes – she once shared with me that she messages perfume “recipes” to herself (in a Whatsapp group where she’s the only participant) when she finds a combination that she likes – so I figured: why not pick her brain for some recommendations?
With a smile on her face, Amanda got to work, and recommended me a variety of her personal favourite scents. Keeping in mind the previous two creations that I’ve made, she pushed for me to give the brand’s latest scent, Cashmere Wood, a try.
With a spicy and woody tone, Cashmere Wood was right up my alley. It evokes curling up in bed under a heavy duvet – just a reassuring, ahhhhhh feeling. It’s sensual and earthy, making it the perfect base for my perfume creation. Amanda then recommended adding a floral “top” note to make it a more refreshing scent. We tried a few different combinations (see picture above), before finally deciding on Jazzy Jasmine as the perfect yin to Cashmere Wood’s yang. With green tea being my favourite beverage, the end result was such a familiar, reassuring scent that warms my insides like a comforting cup of hot chocolate.
I thought we were done, but then a sparkle came into Amanda’s eyes. She excused herself for a moment, before returning with a bunch of scents from the brand’s Black Label collection, which are aimed at perfume enthusiasts. She said: “Since it’s already your third time undergoing the workshop with us, let’s make your perfume creation even more unique with Black Label ingredients. After all, third’s time the charm!”
Comprising of rare, exotic ingredients, each scent from the Black Label collection is intricate and layered. They are more complex than the regular scents, or as Amanda puts it, “the regular collection on steroids”. Amanda also took the initiative to shortlist a few of the Black Label scents that she felt would complement the Cashmere Wood + Jazzy Jasmine combination well, and we both had a blast cycling through a few permutations before settling upon Verbena Vagabond and Leather Lust. As its name suggests, Verbena Vagabond is made from the Verbena leaf, giving it a lovely citrusy aroma but with a spicy kick to it that paired heavenly with Cashmere Wood. To round off the scent, Leather Lust gives the perfume an enticing sexuality. Comprising of Vetiver Java Oil, Coffee Arabica Absolute Oil and Pepper Oil Black Madagascar, Leather Lust had a deep complexity to it that simply spoke to me. It was one of the most intriguing scents that I’ve ever smelt, and I was adamant to have it in my creation. Thankfully, Amanda concurred, believing that it would add a specialness to the perfume creation.
With the scents chosen, the next step would be to add the ingredients into the bottle. I left it to Amanda to suggest the appropriate quantity of each ingredient. I won’t disclose the exact amounts, but Verbena Vagabond and Cashmere Wood comprised the majority of the eventual scent.
Using the dropper and the weighing scale reminded me of chemistry class in school, and I had a lot of fun. It increases the sense of ownership too, as you see the final perfume taking shape with each drop added.
The final step would be to personalise the bottle with text/image of the participant’s choice. It’s a great way to finish the perfume tailoring process, resulting in a bottle of perfume that participants can truly call their own. For me, I chose to simply engrave the bottle with my surname.
The engraving is done on the spot, so you don’t have to wait long if you do decide to personalise your bottle of perfume. The engraving service also applies to regular scent creations in the store, making them great gift options for your special someone, even at the last minute.
Lastly, I should highlight that Maison 21G has improved the design of its perfume bottles, which now comes with magnetic caps that secures more easily and conveniently. It also has a striking gold rim, which adds a nice touch of luxe to the perfume bottle.
Conclusion – so Maison 21G MBS Perfume Workshop “shiok” or not?
Maison 21G has grown by leaps and bounds since my first visit two years ago, and I can see why. Despite it being my third time, I still thoroughly enjoyed my workshop experience. For one, the MBS boutique is well designed, with T2 Tea and Nespresso coffee available as refreshments for workshop participants. I know it’s a small thing, but it truly made the showroom feel homelier and more welcoming. I also learnt a lot about perfume from Amanda, and had a great time tinkering with the various scents, especially those from the Black Label. The Black Label scents are truly unique – if you’re a perfume enthusiast, I would definitely recommend heading down to one of the three Maison 21G showrooms locally to check them out. I think Maison 21G has struck gold with its perfume workshop. It’s affordable and beginner-friendly enough even for those who know nothing about fragrances, but also has the option to delight perfume enthusiasts due to its knowledgable workshop facilitators as well as the Black Label scents. With such mass appeal, I won’t be surprised to see more Maison 21G showrooms opening this year to cater to the demand.
Those interested in Maison 21G’s offerings can use the promo code “WAHMAISON20” for 20% off all workshop bookings (including both weekdays AND weekends), as well as all other products on their webstore. Simply enter the promo code while checking out online, or mention it/flash this article in-store. After the discount, the perfume workshop would cost just $144, while the advanced workshop (which includes the black label ingredients) would cost $192. I think that is a great price considering that most off-the-rack departmental store perfumes already cost that much, if not more. It’s also a memorable experience for those who are curious about perfumery, or simply looking for a nice date idea.
Book the perfume workshop or customise your own scent from Maison 21G here.
Maison 21G’s store locations:
L1-32, The Shoppes, MBS
77 Duxton Road Singapore, 089536
Takashimaya S.C., 391 Orchard Road, #B1-31A
P.S Do check out the new “Discounts!” page for exclusive discounts for Wah so Shiok readers! More brands will be added very soon – stay tuned!
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P.S.S.S Shiok is a common word Singaporeans use to express admiration or approval. As of 2016, you can find the definition of the word in the Oxford English Dictionary.