Former bartender turned fragrance specialist Adam Vaughn stumbled into the…
The rain forest, Mom’s chicken curry, cotton-candy perfume: We chat with Natasha Bruno, associate beauty editor at The Kit, about her favourite smells, past and present.
What is your favourite scent memory of childhood?
My mom’s home cookin’. To me, she’s a hot shot in the kitchen, and being from Jamaica, she always adds her own spin to authentic Caribbean cuisine. I can remember waking up to the smell of her ackee and saltfish for breakfast, or waiting as patiently as I could after school to devour her spice-filled dishes like curry chicken for dinner. Not to mention the sweet aroma of her pineapple upside-down cake that she baked on the regular for church gatherings.
What was the first fragrance you bought yourself and why did you buy it?
In middle school I became addicted to Juice Bar Body Spray in Cotton Candy from Walmart. It was sickly sweet and made me smell exactly like candy. I get adolescent flashbacks just thinking about it.
What maternal (or paternal) figure influenced your attitude towards perfume?
Definitely my mom. She displayed all of her favourite perfumes that she bought or was gifted on a pretty tray on top of her dresser. I’d regularly watch her spray whichever perfume she was feeling that day, and would often catch whiffs of her scent flowing throughout our house. I now showcase my perfume collection in almost the exact same way.
What does your favourite fragrance say about your personality?
I like to switch up my fragrance depending on my mood or what I think the occasion calls for, but the one I gravitate towards the most has to be Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille. It’s a very warm and sensual unisex scent that blends tobacco leaf, ginger, tonka bean, cocoa and vanilla. I like to think of myself as an inviting person, and almost everything I do is driven by my love and passion for things and people, so I feel like it’s a good fit for me.
What makes you notice a fragrance?
If a fragrance is warmed by bold, spicy and woody notes.
How many fragrances do you own?
Twelve and counting!
How many fragrances do you regularly wear?
I have three that I rotate the most often: Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille, Nest Midnight Fleur, and Dolce & Gabbana Pour Femme Intense.
How do you scent your home?
With a Bath & Body Works wallflower fragrance plug. I alternate between the Fresh Cotton and Fresh Linen scents. I love how clean and crisp both make my apartment feel.
Who is the best smelling person you’ve ever met, and what did they smell like?
I recently met celebrity florist and perfumer Eric Buterbaugh at Toronto’s Saks Fifth Avenue, and he had this amazing scented trail of lavender.
If you could bottle the scent of a favourite place/city/memory/moment what would it be?
The Amazon rainforest when I was visiting Peru. All my senses were heightened during my jungle treks, but especially my sense of smell. The combined scent of the dense vegetation, dirt, humidity, tropical fruits and wood was like no other—it was the smell of life!
What scents are overrated?
How do you feel about signature scents? Is it freeing or limiting?
I don’t wear the same clothes, eat the same food or listen to the same music everyday, so why limit myself to just one perfume?
What piece of fragrance advice or wisdom do you want to pass on to your kids/friends/the next generation?
Don’t be afraid to casually date a few different fragrances before going steady.
How important is fragrance to your life, to your sense of style?
I think of perfume as my final, invisible accessory. I hardly ever leave the house without a few spritzes.
PHOTO: Carlyle Routh
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