Food & Drink

Seattle Perfumer Has a Nose for Sharing Stories Through Scent

“Every perfume I develop is an olfactive creation that tells each person’s unique story.”

By Andrew Hoge February 18, 2019

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This article originally appeared in the February 2019 issue of Seattle magazine.

This article appears in print in the February 2019 issue. Click here to subscribe.

At first glance, the Hyde Evans–designed interior of Atelier Madrona (Madrona, 1422 34th Ave., Suite A; 206.963.8333), which features a unique combination of antique French, mid-century modern and contemporary design accents, strikes a curious balance between a laboratory and a high-end boutique. But if you ask owner and perfumer Chelsey Owen, her business is about personal storytelling. “Every perfume I develop is an olfactive creation that tells each person’s unique story,” says Owen, who grew up in Port Angeles and spent five years training her nose in Paris before opening her doors in May 2017.

Her boutique offers a range of personal scenting services, from “fragrance fittings” ($150–$750), during which clients are custom-matched with one of approximately 30 scents from Owen’s in-house collection, to creating a bespoke fragrance from scratch, incorporating ingredients from around the world (a time- and labor-intensive process that can take up to nine months and cost upward of $10,000). Whatever service her clients choose, Owen says, her aim is to educate, to help those who are interested to learn more about the complex world of fragrance to express their individual story. “I love lifting the veil on the mysterious world of perfume and liken it to learning about wine,” Owen says.

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