Weekend perfume making at Scentopia, a new Siloso Beach attraction that celebrates the wonderful world of fragrances.
Have you been to Siloso Beach recently? If so, did you notice a new attraction between Skypark Sentosa and Bikini Bar? One that resembles a perfumery?
Well, this is indeed a perfumery, but it is also one that is so much more. Named Scentopia—a portmanteau of scent and utopia, this airy and modern attraction not only uses cutting-edge AR technology to present a treasure trove of perfume facts, it also conducts perfume making workshops. Yup, you can customise your own signature fragrance here, by combining ten scents from a selection of over a hundred ingredients.
It’s fun and relaxing. Therapeutic too, for the workshop uses a personality test that quite accurately pinpoints the scents that’d uplift and excite you.
And while this unique attraction is compact in floor space, if you want to go through all the facts and exhibits, you’d need at least an hour; there’s that much on show. Most likely, you’d also want to keep checking the many amusing AR pop-ups, if only to see what the next surprise is.
Enjoying a Perfume Workshop on a Sunny Sunday
I headed down to Scentopia last weekend with a rather unclear idea of what to expect, to be honest. I’ve read their website beforehand, of course, but as someone who takes forever to finish one bottle of cologne, I wasn’t at all sure whether the perfume-making experience would be for me.
After an introduction to the various AR displays and products, the friendly guide handed me the personality test for the workshop. Consisting of ten questions, this resembles an abridged Myers & Briggs Test, with none of the questions at all difficult to answer.
Here’s how the workshop uses the result of the test. After completing the questions, you consolidate the number of As, Bs, Cs, etc, assigned. The letter that you used the most will then determine the scent type (or family) that you are most fond of. This result, in turn, reflects your personality.
For example, I predominantly chose D. This suggests that I’m a Woody smell kind of person, or a functional introvert. Personality-wise, I’m “careful, meticulous, and responsible.”
My opinions about this result: Erm, I don’t know whether others consider me responsible, but I constantly strive to be!
I also feel the results reflect how you aspire to be seen by others. Which makes sense, I guess, since fragrance is part of one’s image.
The Quest for My Personalised Fragrance
The main event of the perfume-making workshop happens next and depending on how particular you are, this could take a while. Guided by the test results, you assemble a corresponding combination of scents from respective scent families. You do this by using Scentopia’s environmentally-friendly perfume wands to identify the scents you prefer.
For example, if you chose B four times in the test, you are to pick four scents from the Fresh family, which is the family B corresponds to.
What makes this selection procedure sophisticated is that there are 12 variations within each family for you to pick from, with all scents described using names like A Glass of Fine Wine and A Dude and A Boss. Multiply that by five families and that’s 60 scents to investigate.
Double that figure, because there are separate sections for guys and gals, and that’s 120 different scents to go through.
It’s really a lot to explore, in the quest for one’s perfect fragrance!
Of note, the whole process is meant to be enjoyable so one doesn’t need to strictly follow the combination recommended.
You could also pick from the scents recommended for the other gender. Generally, I feel the scents presented for dudes are denser and stronger, and vice versa. And if you feel an instant affinity with any particular scent, you could use it twice. For example, I instantly fell in love with the woody Ginger Happy scent. So instead of picking five woody scents, as I’m supposed to, I chose only four. I opted to have a double dose of Ginger Happy.
By the way, Scentopia thoughtfully provides small canisters of coffee beans for you to sniff, in the event you get “smell fatigue” from all that scent testing!
A Repository of Perfume Facts and Trivia, Empowered by AR Technology
I went through the perfumery exhibits while waiting for the staff to prepare my customised perfume. In the end, I spent more time on these than on choosing my scents.
To repeat what I said earlier, there’s a treasure trove of information here, with all displays brought to life by vivid AR animations, What’s more, the information goes way beyond just sharing trivia about perfume making. The wall displays contain lots of interesting titbits about Singapore and orchids, and even Sentosa.
The likes of:
- Which animal has the keenest sense of smell? The guide asked me this and I got it all wrong! But I wouldn’t give the answer away. Let me just say, size matters in this case.
- Do you know that Singapore was an important stop on the old spice route?
- Do you know that the vanilla flower is a type of orchid?
- Good lord, dinosaur tracks were discovered under Fort Siloso! Geologists can’t determine which dino it belonged to, but they surmised the big dude likely walked over from Malaya for a drink. (Yup, that’s what you do when you’re as tall as a building. You inspire movies and walk a few hundred miles for a drink)
More captivating for me were the retractable, double-side wood panels introducing perfume ingredients. My picture below says it all. All are humourously captioned and well-written, with real-life examples of application.
Better yet, they correspond with the numbers i.e. perfume wands used during the workshop. In other words, if you’re really curious to know what’s behind names like Spice Things Up or Sea Breeze in my Yacht, just head over and pull out the corresponding panel. (I discovered the bulk of scents I chose came from big trees)
Needless to say, the individual AR animations make going through the exhibits doubly entertaining. Beyond a certain point, I even felt the urge to go through it all just to see everything. I mean, can you expect me not to? I pulled out a panel for Lavender and soon had a tomb raider looming before me!
Scentopia – An Innovative, Invigorating Experience
Like I mentioned above, I wasn’t too sure of what to expect before heading to Scentopia’s perfume workshop. I rarely think about perfume, except when needing to get a gift. Frankly, I was also a little worried about whether I’d feel out of place, as a dude.
Well, I was just being silly. Firstly, the workshop is completely streamlined and geared toward enjoyment. Going through the perfume wands was also an invigorating and fun experience. There’s an exciting element of discovery.
Not to mention, I’m totally satisfied with the scent I created. At the risk of sounding maudlin, I feel it reflects “me.”
The digitally empowered perfumery exhibits were the additional icing. These were truly fun to go through and with so much information on hand, I can see why Scentopia is able to conduct special tours for school groups and team building activities for companies.
Lastly, I feel this Siloso Beach attraction is well suited for families. Parents can have a go at the perfume making workshop while the young ones enrich themselves with the AR displays.
It will easily make for a very enjoyable 1-2 hours for everyone.
Getting to Scentopia
Scentopia is at the middle of Siloso Beach, right opposite Siloso Beach Resort. From Beach Station (Sentosa Express), you can either walk for around ten minutes or use the beach shuttle. For the latter option, alight opposite Siloso Beach Resort (the second stop after Beach Station).
The AR perfumery displays are free for all to enjoy.
The perfume making workshop is priced at SGD 125 and SGD 95 for a 100ml bottle and 50ml bottle respectively. There is also a kids version which comes with a 30ml bottle.
Update May 2023
Popped by Scentopia after traveling to Sentosa using the special Poké Ball themed cabin car cabins. Wow, quite a lot a changed. The layout is now much more compact, with more perfumes, including orchid-themed perfumes, on sale. Samples of the colourful wands used in the workshop also directly faces the entrance now.