Sara Koonar’s favourite scents? Gucci and Mom’s Bolognese

Sara Koonar’s favourite scents? Gucci and Mom’s Bolognese

Sara Koonar switches from boss in the boardroom to babe on the dance floor thanks to perfume

Sara Koonar is no stranger to the perfume world. Having spent time as a beauty editor (most recently at 29 Secrets), she knows her favourites and has whittled them down to a mere 20. (Okay, 20 is actually quite a few, but she’s a beauty editor!) Now, you can find Sara at Platform Media, where’s she’s the founder and chief strategy officer, usually sitting with her pup, a French Bulldog.

Here, Sara details her early love of Exclamation and Ralph, and her current love of floral fragrances.

What is your favourite scent memory of childhood?

When I was nine or ten, my cousin used to have Exclamation by Coty, which is now discontinued. She was ten years older than me, in law school, going to cool parties with fancy friends and I wanted to be her so badly. A couple years ago, Marc Jacobs came out with a fragrance with similar notes and soon as I caught a whiff I was immediately transported back to my older cousin’s bedroom, watching Electric Circus and trying on her trendy 90s clothes.

What was the first fragrance you bought yourself?

Ralph Lauren Ralph, the blue bottle. I think I remember buying it because they had an ad in a magazine where you could smell it on the page, and I fell in love with it. Why don’t they do that anymore? I used to rip those pages out and keep them all the time.

What maternal (or paternal) figure influenced your attitude towards perfume?

My mom and dad have both been wearing the same fragrances for decades. My mom only wears Chanel No. 5 and my dad only wears Stetson. And we buy them each those fragrances every Christmas. So I definitely got into fragrances because they liked them, however, I am certainly not as loyal.

What does your favourite fragrance say about your personality?

An old flame bought me Flora by Gucci Eau de Toilette and I have loved it ever since. I think it reminds me of that summer in Italy (I have never been skinnier or more tan) and makes me feel really sexy. What does it say about me? Haha! I guess that when I need a touch of confidence I transport myself mentally to Venice in July.

What makes you notice a fragrance?

While my favourite fragrances are floral, I am easily seduced by musky, masculine scents. A man in a quality cologne will certainly make me take notice.

How many fragrances you own?

I recently cut down my collection to twenty. I used to be a beauty editor and I got a lot for free and used to have a whole cabinet of them.

How many fragrances do you regularly wear?

I usually go between Flora by Gucci, Elizabeth & James Nirvana Black (I wear Nirvana Bourbon on vacation because I bought the rollerball), Givenchy Dahlia Divin, YSL Black Opium and My Burberry. They are all pretty different and convey whatever mood I am in that day.

What do you smell like?

Probably sweat because I just came from a SoulCycle class. ?

What smell reminds you of home?

Definitely Chanel No 5, because as mentioned it is my mom’s go-to. Or Bolognese sauce, because she always has a pot on when I come home.

How do you scent your current home?

My house definitely smells like Black Opium because I usually keep it in my living room to spritz when the place starts to smell too much like my French Bulldog (who is pretty gassy, tbh). However, I also love Jo Malone candles and have quite a few that I put on when guests come over.

Who is the best smelling person you’ve ever met, and what did they smell like?

Halle Berry. And she told me she wears men’s fragrances. So that was probably why I took notice!

If you could bottle the scent of a favourite place/city/memory/moment what would it be and please describe the smell.

Tom Ford did it with Portofino. It smells like salt water and sunscreen and that’s the perfect scent to transport you to the seaside in Italy.

What scents/smells are overrated?

I am not sure what the notes are exactly, but there are certain scents that just smell like an old rich white lady. There is nothing wrong with that, it is just not me. I took a whiff of the new Tiffany perfume and it’s exactly that.

How do you feel about signature scents?

I know a lot of people that stick to one scent, but I notice I start to not smell it anymore if they wear it too much. I like changing scents so that people take notice.

What piece of fragrance advice or wisdom do you want to pass on to your kids/friends/the next generation?

Fragrances smell different on every person. Find notes that mesh well with your chemistry and stick to those. If vanilla is a dream on you, opt for scents with that note.

How important is fragrance to your life, to your sense of style?

It is something I never forget to put on. I definitely change my scent based on my outfit and the role I want to play that day, whether it be boss in the boardroom or babe on the dancefloor. It should be something you can have a lot of fun with!

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Alexandra Donaldson is the editorial assistant at The Whale & The Rose and a freelance writer and content creator. Although she recently took up yoga in an effort to be a healthy adult, she still binge-watches cartoons on a regular basis and dreams of running away to a cottage in the woods. She has yet to nail down her favourite perfume, but knows that it smells green, earthy and maybe a little bit spicy, but definitely not sweet.