At the artisanal perfume house, Freda’d, you can make a perfume that captures your most intense memory or simply buy a bottle that smells woody-floral, fruity or classic. By Shruti Gattani
Ever had a scenario, when you take in the aromatic smell of a Rendang and are instantly taken back to your mother’s home-cooked Ramadan dinner? Or, stepped outside on a rainy day, soaked in the freshness that evoked childhood memories. No matter what the fragrance, a scent is flavourfully linked to emotions. They have a peculiar quality to make you reminisce past experiences with your loved ones, and even strangers.
Perfume is an accessory that may be invisible, but is definitely unforgettable. And at Freda’d, this primitive accessory is aesthetically comprised of halal ingredients and varied emotions, perfect for you and me. “The perfumes I create are halal – no haram alcohol is used and they are ideal for prayers as well,” Faridah Yusuf, the perfumer proudly states. The art of making perfumes came to her naturally. Passed on from generation to generation, her lineage in the perfume business traces back to her grandfather. “I started making perfumes at my father’s shop when I was 7-years old. I would create something and then sell it to customers for extra pocket money.” The hobby soon became passion, and eventually a growing venture.
Elegance is a sweet and soft scent that I can wear every single day. I can literally smell the fruity bases of the fragrance. It’s a strong, yet pleasant perfume that lasted at least 3-4 hours, even after a 30-minute workout session. — Azreena Abdullah | Product Review: Elegance
Her clientele base is spread all across the world; some specially fly down to create customised ‘mango pudding’ flavoured perfume. She laughs, “A client flew down from Hong Kong to create it.” From private labels to corporate-team-bonding workshops, Freda (her moniker), is going beyond than just selling perfumes at pop-up stores and fests. She travels the world with her ingredients and while on a road trip, creates a fragrance quintessential to that country. “I was on a month-long USA tour, when I created this perfume, now called Diamond. It so happened, during this trip I enrolled for the Sniffapalooza New York Sun Festival with my newly created perfume, and won the 5th position,” she excitedly recalls.
The perfume has a smooth scent, not too strong and therefore it does not give a constant irritation to my sense of smell. It lasted for half a day, which for me is very good. Preferably if the price is a tad lower, I would keep buying it. — Rosli Jalal | Product Review: Black
Seated in our office, talking to us about her knowledge and passion, she mentions that ‘nose’ is the most important for a perfumer. It is quite fascinating to see her smell all my chosen fragrances from her palette of 160 raw scents and while mixing a few into the beaker, she explains, “For long lasting perfumes, the formula is very important. My mind does all the calculation when it comes to how many drops are required.” With the art of customisation, she is uniquely replicating the French culture. “In order to be a perfumer, I travelled to destinations, explored their ingredients and also studied in France.”
Amidst all the information divulged by her, she has already created my perfume – woody with a touch of floral. It was the perfect memory and the one that I would wear all day long. It smelled like my father and how as a kid, I would wear his colognes. ‘Papa’, I lovingly named it. Oh, and the customisation is all mine, so whenever I need to refill the bottle, I just have to tap on my name.
When it comes to colognes and perfumes, I’m very picky. But, hands down, Blue is one product that I would buy every now and then. I like a perfume which has a pleasant smell and stays long. Double ticks for both the points. It stayed for good 5-6 hours, even though I was running in and out for meetings. Good for office; received compliments too! — Abhimanyu Singh | Product Review: Blue
Freda is a maker, and knows how important the role of a maker is! “If a seller can customise the product for you, that means he or she is a maker.” In perfumery, there are not many such people and in Singapore she is the only one who customises.
Freda ends our tête-à-tête with a beautiful comparison of ‘making perfume = cooking’. “The base note for perfume = onion and garlic. The middle note = chicken, beef, veggies. The top note = salt and pepper or seasoning. And like in cooking, some ingredients just don’t go well together, which only a perfumer can tell you.”
It’s very sweet for my liking, but, for people who like sweet scents, Romance is perfect for them. Also, the fragrance is very light, so didn’t last long enough; need to keep applying two-to-three times and thus, the bottle won’t last much. Azmin Khambata | Product Review: Romance