Arts Fashion Lifestyle

Popular Fragrance Exhibit Returns to Arboretum

Making Scents. Perfume Palace. Photo by Camilla Calnan Photography

By Natasha Anderson

The North Carolina Arboretum is excited to announce the return of Making Scents: The Art and Passion of Fragrance®. Blending flora, fashion and science, this interactive exhibit showcases some of Mother Nature’s most fragrant botanicals and offers a unique, innovative experience where visitors discover the plants and flowers behind some of the world’s most iconic perfumes. The show runs from Saturday, June 3, through September 10 at the Baker Exhibit Center and throughout the gardens.

Making Scents is a magical experience for the senses,” says International Perfume Bottle Association member Elizabeth Creech. “People who attend will never look at a bottle of perfume, or think of perfume, in the same way again.”

From traditional harvest and extraction methods to chemical combinations of synthetic fragrances, this exhibit uncovers the technical processes behind fragrance creation through an immersive, multisensory experience. Visitors follow their noses around the globe by interacting with ten different scent-seeking stations, each containing its own mystery scent and story. Using one of two computerized stations, they can create their own fragrance card through different combinations of what perfumers call top, middle and base notes. A greenhouse shows components of the fragrance story including plants used in the perfume industry.

“Throughout the exhibit guests will have an opportunity to learn more about the science behind fragrance and its power and uses in human life,” says the Arboretum’s senior director for mission delivery Clara Curtis.

Making Scents also features the Perfume Palace, a bottle display showcasing the unique designs of more than 200 perfume bottles spanning millennia. A Greek amphoriskos, or miniature amphora, made of terracotta and dated from about 400-300 B.C.E., and a Roman glass bottle circa 100-300 C.E. are included in the collection. A celebrity case houses creations by everyone from clothing designer Marc Jacobs to pop star Taylor Swift. During the exhibit, the Arboretum will host members of the International Perfume Bottle Association who will share more about the artistry and history of perfume bottles. “I like to share with people the stories that a perfume bottle has to tell, perhaps about the creator or the user,” says Creech.

The NC Arboretum is located at 100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way, Asheville. For more information, visit

1 Comment

  • This sounds like a fascinating exhibit! I love learning about the science and history behind perfume, and the chance to smell the flowers and plants used in creating fragrances sounds amazing. I would definitely visit this exhibit if I were in the area. Perfumes are synonymous with luxury and sensuality, indulging the senses with their exquisite aromas and elegant packaging. They can add a touch of sophistication to any ensemble and leave a lasting impression.

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