How to smell like Kris Aquino: artista perfume lines and the art of scent-making

(Dane Alegana/ Flickr/ https://flic.kr/p/ogu8Ad)


Almost every Hollywood celebrity has a fragrance line: it signifies that a celebrity has reached a certain popularity status that enables perfume makers to bank on the celebrity’s name to score more ka-ching for the both of them. If you’re a star and you still don’t have your own fragrance line, well, maybe you’re not quite there yet.

Since Elizabeth Taylor made a living out of her own perfume line in the late 80′s, numerous celebrities have been following suit, even here in our country. We have Filipino celebrities who have their own fragrance lines or have scents named after them. Filipinos are known to be hygiene junkies. (Men, in particular, are considered as the most narcissistic in Asia.) If our water supplies permit us, we could be taking baths twice, or even thrice, a day. And we do not stop there—we douse ourselves with perfumes and colognes right after our baths. Combined with the fact that we are an artista-loving nation, being a perfumer and an artista literally pays off in this country.


Perfume 101

So, of all the perfume brands and scents available in the market, which one should we choose?

“A good perfume should be able to tell a story—to provide you with sensory experiences that unfold one after the other,” said Oscar Mejia, perfumer and owner of Oscar Mejia Artisan Fragrances, in an email interview.

“[It] should be able to elicit e​motions, memories, images and even texture. It should enchant you as it changes from the moment you smell it until it completely fades away.”

Mejia further explained that perfumes are made up of levels of sorts, or “notes,” in more technical terms: these are the top, middle, and base notes.

The top note is what we smell on the first whiff. “They should be enchanting and attractive,” said Mejia.

After 30 minutes to an hour, we begin smelling the middle note, which should give depth and compliment the top note. The scent that lasts for a whole day is the base note, which, according to Mejia, must be able to “linger and complete the entire narrative.”


The major types

People are familiar to only three types of concentrations: the parfum, eau de toilette, and eau de cologne, but there are actually five major types.

The parfum or perfume is the most expensive type. It gives the wearer the purest form of a fragrance.

A true parfum contains 15 percent or more of the essential fragrance and also lasts the longest.

An eau de parfum costs slightly less, and also contains less essential fragrance at eight to 15 percent.

Eau de toilette is actually French for “water of perfume,” and true enough, it contains only five to eight percent of the essence and is only designed for shorter wear on the skin.

Eau de cologne is actually a masculine term used to denote the concentration that has the least percentage of the essential fragrance, with only three percent or less of the perfume oil. We use eau de fraiche to refer to women’s eau de cologne.

Now that you’ve undergone a crash course on perfumes and scents, take a whiff of four artista scents that are currently in the market.


Kris EDT (Kris Aquino, Bench)


Clothing brand Bench is popular for introducing the first line of perfumes named after artistas. Their Celebrity Scents line includes names like Dingdong Dantes, Anne Curtis, Jake Cuenca, and Willie Revillame (Wowowee!).

According to a sales representative from Bench: “They (celebrities) didn’t really design the scents themselves, they just endorsed it,” except for a few celebrities like Isabelle Daza.

The Queen of all Media has become a national concern in this country. Why not? She is the daughter of a former president who was named TIME Magazine’s Person of the Year and her father was one of the most brilliant senators in the country. She is also the youngest sister of the current President. Surely, she deserves more primetime airtime than trivial issues like underground rice smuggling operations, the bigger food crisis happening in the country, or any other major concern that could only directly affect the lives of millions of Filipinos, right?

But really, Kris Aquino has permeated our innermost lives; we see her everywhere everyday. Except in our sleep. Or not.

Her Kris EDT (Quick review: EDT stands for eau de toilette), in just one whiff, is marked with a big, bold “KRIS” on it. Despite the name of the scents line remaining just that—a name—I think I actually smelled Kris Aquino wearing this, and heard her giggle and chatter like she was standing beside me. This also has a floral fruity mix of scents, but this is more on the fruity side, with hints of vanilla and marshmallows.

This is very likely to be worn by girls as kikay and as perky as Kris Aquino, who are dying to be noticed by the masses, I mean, their happy crushes.


Erich EDT (Erich Gonzales, Aficionado)

Screencap from www.aficionado.com.ph)

Aficionado Germany Perfumes is not made in Germany. It’s actually made here in the Philippines by Filipino entrepreneur Joel Cruz.

The brand is indeed a leader in the local scents industry: a clear indication is the presence of Aficionado kiosks in almost every mall in Manila. Unlike Bench, the offerings  in Aficionado Celebrity Scents line are designed by the celebrities themselves.

“The artistas also wear them,” a sales representative of Aficionado added. (Highly doubtful, but for all the hard core artista lovers out there— hey, a girl can dream.)

Since her Star Circle Quest days, people have seen Erich Gonzales soar from her supporting roles alongside Kim Chiu and Gerald Anderson, to the leading role in the iconic afternoon serye Katorse. She barely breaks into primetime news, but people consistently see her in movies alongside Enchong Dee.

Erich’s EDT for Aficionado gave me an impression of nature, because of its woody and floral hints. I found the woody note to be slightly masculine, though. The scent is simple and no frills, nothing over-the-top, and barely there, like Erich Gonzales.


Pure Passion EDT (Piolo Pascual, Bench)


Beyond his totoy days in That’s Entertainment, let’s admit that Piolo is a force to be reckoned. Having been in the industry for almost 20 years now, his career has spanned 27 movies, 29 TV shows, 10 albums, and countless fans screaming at the top of their lungs at the sight of his gorgeous, six-packed self.

Usually donning the good guy sleeve, this scent might just very well encapsulate the roles that Piolo plays on Primetime Bida and in numerous Star Cinema romcoms. The scent is gentle, not too strong for a men’s EDT. In fact, this scent is the subtlest one on Bench’s racks.

According to the Bench website, the scent is a mix of “cedarwood, amber, and musk…making this fragrance a real stunner.”

I usually smell this kind of scent on long sleeve-and-Bristol-wearing office guys in Makati. Not on the executives though, but more on the fresh-out-of-college, entry-level ones.

Just like anyone in showbiz, Papa P has had his fair share of intriga, but there is one chismis about him that cannot seem to die…


John Lloyd Cruz like him EDT (Joel Cruz Signatures)

(Screencap from facebook.com/joelcruzsignatures)

Sporadic love lives, partner-swapping, and kabit issues are common in showbiz. And for some reason, John Lloyd Cruz is quite the ladies’ man.

Setting aside rumors that he has an uncontrollable drinking problem, Lloydie is one of the most eligible bachelors of his time, with his award-winning performances and winning attitude boosting his pogi points.

This EDT, sold under the Joel Cruz Signatures line, affirms that impression. My mother, upon taking a whiff from the bottle, immediately said, “Refreshing… parang ang sarap yakapin.”

Although the scent is too commercial-y for me, it does indeed smell good. It is a mix of woody and fresh notes of citrus, thus giving the impression that the scent wearer is huggable, like a Johnson and Johnson or, more precisely, like a Huggies Diaper baby.


Smell like the artista

If perfumer Oscar Mejia were to make an artista scents line, he said that the celebrity’s passion and interests would be the main bases of his perfume, with a mood board—a collection of images, colors, and textures—to help him out.

“As artists, celebrities never run out of things that keep them alive, inspired and moving forward. I would ask them about their interests, favorite food, hobbies, etc,” said Mejia.

“To make it more personal, the overall ‘feel’ of the perfume would be based on the color of their eyes. This will allow me to determine the warmth and depth of a scent that would be designed for them.”


Doing it yourself

Mejia also has a few tips on how to make fragrant perfumes that would make heads turn. Aside from having patience, perseverance, and attention to detail, Mejia said a mood board surely helps in designing perfumes.

“It also serves as a quick reference and guide when you test what you have made. If the images in your mood board still come out when you smell your perfume then you are on the right track.”

An up-to-date nose is also an advantage. “Visit places and draw inspiration from various scents you will encounter.”

Since perfume-making is quite a tricky task, Mejia reminds perfume makers to be careful. “Mixing a single drop of essential or fragrance oil into another can drastically change the smell of the latter.”

“Perfume designing is a life-long commitment. Every time you mix oils, you discover new properties: how it reacts with other oils, its strength vs other oils, etc. All these will help you determine future possible combinations and mixtures,” he added.


Buy them all?

But if you prefer buying them yourself, the perfumer also shed light on common misconceptions about buying fragrances.

He said that when buying perfumes, people should test them today and buy them tomorrow, because fragrance products are made up of notes.

“Take time to enjoy the perfume and constantly check if you still are attracted to the smell that is evolving as the hours pass.”

Body chemistry should also be considered in buying perfumes, so it is a no-no to test it on someone else. Mejia added that people should also consider when and where the scent will be worn.

“Some perfumes are designed to be worn in the morning, for casual occasions. Others are more appropriate at night or for more formal gatherings and events.”

Lastly, shoppers should just limit their choices to three scents since our sense of smell can be easily confused, and might not distinguish one scent from another.