Meet the Maker: Q & A with Natural Perfumer Lisa Brodar

What was the muse that sparked your passion for natural fragrance?

I have always loved fragrance. After starting Portland General Store, I discovered that even the best quality fragrances are manufactured using synthetic ingredients. Personally, I did not like many of the fragrances that I tried; they smelled synthetic, lasted too long, even gave me headaches. My goal then became to offer a 100% natural  fragrance to my customers, as I was convinced that there was a market for a totally natural perfumery. I did research, attended trade shows, and learned how to blend fragrance materials together in order to make perfumes.

How do natural fragrances differ from mainstream products with regard to the quality, scent, and staying power?

My method of perfumery dates back to old school formulary, which was much more simple. Just because the industry is what it is today doesn't mean one should make sacrifices when buying a fragrance that is all natural, or think of it differently. PGS colognes are something very special, handcrafted with only the highest quality natural ingredients. This production method makes our colognes something extraordinary, and not "mainstream", which I define as mass produced in a factory using cheaper, synthetic ingredients that are not sourced from nature. When I picture that image of the perfume produced in a factory by machines, it is no longer art.

What are your favorite essential oils to use?

This is always changing as I evolve as a perfumer. Currently, I am loving Orange Blossom, Sage Absolute, and Bulgarian Rose to use in my perfumery. I have previously used a lot of woody notes, but am in a place where I'm a bit tired of the wood and want to find a way to balance out fragrance using the above lush florals and herbs.

Describe the process of creating a scent from beginning to end.

My process is a lot like creating art. I have an idea or inspiration depending on what is going on in my life, or possibly a subject of interest, for example, maybe I'm really interested in farming. I then start blending ingredients together based on an idea and see what path it leads me on. The final perfume often smells similar to my original inspiration, with some surprises.

You often compare creating perfume to creating a work of art rather than a product — what inspired the creation of WILDER?

My initial inspiration for WILDER was to create a perfume that smelled like rail car travel through the pastoral countryside while reading old leather-bound books and sipping Scotch, equally wearable on men and women, an a longer-lasting staying power than your typical natural perfume.

Who do you envision the PGS cologne wearer to be?

Someone who is a perfume aficionado, who wants something out of the ordinary, special, and personal. Someone who appreciates nature and what it produces, believes in aromatherapy, and also cares about the environment. And of course someone who wants to smell great.

What is your all time favorite scent?

Rose. It is pretty much perfect.

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