An Introduction to the Exhibition
From 14 November to 19 December, my team and I are hosting the Aging Singapore Photography Exhibition at the Fullerton Hotel. The exhibition features 12 stunning portraits of elderly locals in Singapore, and offers a glimpse into their vibrant lives. This exhibition is special because I am collaborating with a giant in the fragrance industry, Symrise!
Who is Symrise and What Do they Do?
Symrise is a fragrance and flavour company that creates scents and tastes for a plethora of products, from laundry detergent to pet food. Their products are so widespread that it’s safe to assume most people have at least one sitting somewhere in their homes!
They play a crucial part in making products taste and smell good, and that happens more than one might think!
They are a longstanding client of mine, where I have done headshot photography, industrial photography, and video production for them in the past. I am grateful to have the honour of collaborating with them on a project that means a lot to me, which is Aging Singapore!
Savouring Each Fragrance
For my exhibition, Symrise’s skilled perfumers have created unique fragrances for each of the twelve photographed subjects.
Each scent is nuanced with different base, heart, and top notes, making for very different smelling experiences. Of course, I was very excited when I received the fragrances from them. Eagerly, I took the time to test them one at a time. They are all fragrant, but in different and unique ways. I’m now here to tell you what I think of each fragrance!
Ghim Moh Diva by Oh Hee Soon
This fragrance is paired with the portrait “Mirror Mirror on the Wall…”
Top notes of lemon and peach give this fragrance a refreshing burst, before it eventually mellows out into a lovely mix of flowery notes. What’s left lingering is a light, yet woody musk that is pleasant to smell.
This fragrance really reminds me of old haircare and makeup products from the 80s. How nostalgic!
Top: Bergamot, Lemon, Galbanum, Cassis, Peach
Heart: Carnation, Tuberose, Jasmine, Lily of the Valley, Orris, Ylang-Ylang
Base: Musk, Cedarwood, Sandalwood, Vetiver, Tonka Bean, Vanilla, Oakmoss
Merlion Forest by Png Wei Ling
This fragrance is paired with the portrait “The Early Bird Gets Their Photo Taken”.
It starts off with a fresh, leafy smell, then fades into something nutty and woody. Because of the organic notes, I really feel like I’m birdwatching in a forest when I take a whiff!
Top: Green Leaves, Bergamot, Lemon
Heart: Olibanum, Nutmeg, Jasmine
Base: Cedarwood Oil, Vetiver Oil, Sandalwood
Chai Tea by Subramanian M
This fragrance is paired with the portrait “Piece of Cake, Cup of Tea”.
This one smells so familiar and comforting to me. Starting out strong with Indian spices and sweet Jasmine, this fragrance smells just like an authentic, humble Indian household.
Top: Cardamon, Ginger, Anise, Neroli, Bergamot, Lemon
Heart: Peach, Rose, Ylang-Ylang, Cedarwood, Orris, Cumin, Clove, Patchouli
Base: Musk, Amber, Cinnamon, Vanilla, Sandalwood
Robin’s Nest by Png Wei Ling & Alexandra Carlin
This fragrance is paired with the portrait “Birds of a Feather”.
The scent has a surprising pandan note that only blooms and surfaces after a while, symbolic of Robin’s childhood memories occasionally bubbling up to the top of his mind. It really gives me a chance to relate to him, so thank you for that, Symrise!
Top: Lemon Oil, Orange Oil, Cardamom
Heart: Cinnamon Bark Oil, Pandan, Jasmine
Base: Vanilla, White Musk, Cedarwood
My Happy Place by Png Wei Ling & Philippe Paparella
This fragrance is paired with the portrait “All Part of Life’s Rich Tapestry”.
The herbal spices and floral notes in this fragrance, mixed with a touch of wood, makes for a really homey scent. I find it warm and inviting, almost like the embrace of a grandmother.
Top: Davana, Bergamot Oil, Clove
Heart: Balsam, Labdanum, White Jasmine
Base: Cedarwood Oil, Sandalwood, Amber
Dance with Me by Png Wei Ling & Aliénor Massenet
This fragrance is paired with the portrait “The Best Seat in the House”.
The fruity and zingy notes in this fragrance makes it stand out even more among the others. The fun and zesty nature of the scent is really fitting for the cheerful subject, who regularly does Chair Zumba.
Top: Coffee, Red Fruits, Cinnamon Bark Oil
Heart: Jasmine, Orange Blossom, Caramel
Base: Vanilla, Moss, Cedarwood
Vibrant Prayer by Png Wei Ling & Pierre Gueros
This fragrance is paired with the portrait “A Leap of Faith”.
This is one of the more popular fragrances at the exhibition, and for good reason! Its distinct combination of notes is very reminiscent of an Indian temple. I’ve been to many, and find it a wonderful throwback to my previous trips there.
Top: Mandarin Oil, Peach, Apple
Heart: Jasmine, Ylang-Ylang Oil, Tuberose
Base: Vanilla, Amber, Salicylate
Route Singapore by Png Wei Ling & Leslie Gauthier
This fragrance is paired with the portrait “Freewheeling”.
The mix of citrus and leather in this fragrance is truly refreshing. I can imagine the subject, Shawn, wearing this scent as he zips past the Singapore skyline. Given his carefree personality, I find that this fragrance fits him like a glove!
Top: Clove Oil, Bergamot, Lemon Oil
Heart: Jasmine, Rose, Black Labdanum
Base: Cedarwood Oil, Black Leather, Sandalwood
Dawn Hiker by Oh Hee Soon
This fragrance is paired with the portrait “A Mile a Day…”
Another scent set in the forest, but this one incorporates more spicy floral notes. Just like hiking, I think it really packs a punch!
Top: Violet, Lemon, Bergamot, Lavender
Heart: Spice Complex, Jasmine, Lily of the Valley
Base: Tonka, Musk, Patchouli, Cedarwood, Amber, Sandalwood
Fine Wisdom by Png Wei Ling & Philippe Paparella
This fragrance is paired with the portrait “… Keeps the Doctor Away”.
The combination of herbal oils and spices makes me feel as though I’ve just stepped into a Traditional Chinese Medicinal shop! It smells strangely enriching, like I’m being detoxified just by inhaling the scent.
Top: Clove Bud Oil, Ginger Oil, Cinnamon Bark Oil
Heart: Rose, Jasmine, Anise
Base: Vanilla, Tobacco, Musk
Peony Chorus by Png Wei Ling, Aliénor Massenet & Philippe Paparella
This fragrance is paired with the portrait “All the World’s a Stage”.
The fragrance is strong with the scent of various flowers, but one in particular stands out from the others. Peony is the star of the scent, much like the opera sisters themselves. Intoxicating and powerful, I definitely think Symrise makes a striking statement with this scent!
Top: Pepper, Mandarin, Red Fruits
Heart: Cumin, Peony, Jasmine
Base: Benzoin, Incense, Vetiver
Silver Club by Png Wei Ling & Laure Breysse
This fragrance is paired with the portrait “A Picture of Health”.
The marine notes remind me a lot of deodorant. Having been an ex-triathlete myself, I can totally imagine myself using this fragrance in my prime. Masculine and fresh, it really reminds me of working out and keeping fit.
Top: Lemon Oil, Elemi, Marine
Heart: Geranium Oil, Rosemary, Lavender
Base: Cypress Oil, Moss, Patchouli
I think that Symrise did a fantastic job on creating these fragrances for the exhibition. It is very clear to me that the perfumers put a lot of thought into each profile in order to craft the most suitable fragrance possible.
Each scent really does a good job at enhancing the viewing experience at the exhibition, making them very popular with visitors at the exhibition. Thus, I am very grateful for the perfumers’ hard work at Symrise in making this possible.
A Few Words from Symrise
“Creating fragrances for various demographics is something that Symrise is proficient in, and we were excited to partner with Jose in this special photography exhibition featuring the elderly in Singapore. While the world moves on in focus on the Gen Zs and Gen Alphas, we must not forget to celebrate the mature heroes hidden in plain sight amongst us!
The fragrance creation process has not only been eye-opening, but also nostalgic. Our perfumers had the chance to learn about our elderly stars, and subsequently designed perfumes inspired by their stories. From chai tea to Chinese opera, homely scents to the natural outdoors, the elderly in Singapore is not one single demographic, but a colourful and diverse group from different cultures and life experiences. Pairing a fragrance collection up with stark visuals certainly elevates our audience to a richer experiential level.
We would like to thank Jose and team for this opportunity to collaborate on this wonderful project, and also the members of the public who came to immerse themselves in this multi-faceted experience of sights, smells, and emotions with us.”
If you haven’t had the chance to visit the Aging Singapore Exhibition yet, we warmly welcome you from now to 19 December! Do spray and smell the perfumes, as well as listen to the provided audio clips for a better viewing experience.
Thank you once again to Symrise for bringing the Aging Singapore Exhibition to greater heights. This multi-sensorial experience would not have been possible without your expertise!
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