The Power of Perfume by Sue Phillips

The creator of Tiffany's first perfume reveals secrets behind the scents.

Sue Phillips, one of the world’s most renowned fragrance experts, has created fragrances for brands, celebrities and connoisseurs at her ultra-chic and discreet House of Fragrance Atelier in New York.

For a once-in-a-lifetime experience, Sue takes her clients on a journey of scents, sharing secrets, histories and the effect of the rarest of ingredients she has collected throughout her storied career. Their bespoke perfume formula is recorded in the database and can be reordered at any future time. Now, “The Nose that Knows” finally relates her relationship with fragrances. 

Sue’s long-awaited and much-anticipated bookThe Power of Perfume: How to Choose It, Wear it and Enjoy It!(Central Park South Publishing Company; $19.95) is finally here.

The 240 page book, available in bookstores worldwide and on Amazon, is filled with highlights from Sue’s career, myths about perfume and little-known-facts about the intoxicating effect of fragrance on all of your senses. The Power of Perfume: How to Choose It, Wear it and Enjoy It! also includes photos of celebrities Sue has worked with throughout her career: Hollywood elite, from Katie Holmes to Jamie Foxx and Zendaya, and the late Cicely Tyson.  There’s plenty more in Sue’s book, but to reveal it would ruin the surprise.

It’s an homage to perfumes, fragrances and scents (whichever you want to call them) and how they help people gain confidence, reflect their individuality and create a signature. ‘Why wear what everyone else wears when you can create your own?’

Sue Phillips, a native of South Africa, is a resident of New York. An internationally recognized expert on fragrance, she has worked in senior level positions at many of the beauty industry’s top companies, including Elizabeth Arden(working on licensees Chloe and Lagerfeld), Lancasteron the Davidoff brands and Chopard, Trish McEvoy(developed her first 3 fragrances); Lancôme Paris(Magie Noire) and Burberry,where she created scents for its “Society by Burberry” brand. It was at Tiffany & Co., that Phillips achieved her renown: creating its first ever perfume TIFFANY, which became one of the company’s top sellers. She followed that up with Tiffany for Men.

“My mission,” she says, “is to lift fragrance out of the bottle and to create memorable fragrance experiences”.

Sue traces her love of fragrance back to her childhood. Her mother, Grace Phillips, was a musician and South Africa’s foremost calligrapher and made sure to surround the family with art and culture.  She was inspired by her mother’s singing and performing, and observed her mother’s exquisite artwork, Phillips says. “Art, Music and Culture were inculcated in me and serendipitously it was part of my DNA which I never fully realized.” Until one day, when an unexpected curiosity struck. 

“I think about colors and sounds and imagine what they would smell like,” she says. “In South Africa the beautiful bright sunshine, gorgeous light, natural foliage and flowers would stimulate colors and I would think what would they smell like?”

She was onto something. Scent, scientists have long known, is the most powerful of the five senses — and the only one that connects memory, emotion and taste. Synesthesia is a sense impression relating to one sense or part of the body by stimulation of another sense or part of the body – when you see colors you ‘see’ scents!

“Our sense of smell is our most powerful sense after sight,” Phillips explains, “but it is the most forgotten and ignored. Our olfactory hub in the limbic system triggers memories and emotions. A memento from a loved one, such as a scarf or a book, immediately reminds one of that person or situation. It is so powerful!” “Sadly due to Covid-19, many people have been affected by sensory loss and they report how devastating it’s been for them; they are not able to enjoy food, and therefore socializing becomes challenging because without being able to taste and smell, they opt out of getting together with friends and family over festive occasions”.

“Launching my book has been a labor of love and I am honored to have been involved in this remarkable industry and being able to do what I love!” Phillips enthuses.

Customer reviews
Customer reviews
Fascinating Read. I Couldn't Put It Down!
‍"Sue is the world renowned #QueenOfFragrance and her book delivers such a compelling and fascinating history on the subject! I learned so much and couldn't put it down. I love how she interwove poems and quotes (Marilyn, Coco Chanel, Proust, Confucious, Vreeland) for the esprit they bring to the subject, and the facts (Chanel No. 5 is 100 years old this year!) and definitions ("aldehyde" derivation) layered in for their insights, context and information. I've been in the industry for many years but after reading Sue's book I am all the more enamored and educated about the world of Fragrance. I've had the pleasure of wearing Sue's custom blend perfumes and am obsessed with her Modern Rose Floral for it's complex sensuality, the memories it evokes for me, and "sillage" it creates for others, all explained in the book.

In conclusion, I highly recommend Sue's fascinating book and her exquisite perfumes. She is a genuinely amazing woman who empowers others and truly loves to share her knowledge and passion with the world. We just have to indulge in its luxury."
— Heather Fink | CEO The Sexiest Beauty