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Chicago Gets First Dibs on Seven Artisanal Fragrances

And these aren’t your typical “floral” or “spicy” scents.

Photo: Courtesy of Raymond Matts

Raymond Matts can thank his nose for landing him gigs with the likes of Elizabeth Arden, Estee Lauder, and Karl Lagerfeld. During 30-some years in his industry, the fragrance designer has developed custom scents for high-wattage personalities and brands. He was also the designer of Clinique’s popular “Happy” perfume.

Now working on his own under the Raymond Matts label, the fragrance pro just launched a line of seven scents called the Aura de Parfum Fragrance Collection. The perfumes are available exclusively at Nordstrom Chicago (55 E. Grand Ave., nordstrom.com), a location that Matts handpicked. He likes the energy of the store, he said, along with its freshly renovated look and the fact that travelers from all over the world pass through its bustling beauty department.

At $200 apiece, the fragrances have aspects that set them apart from other perfumes: high-quality ingredients, for one. “I’m using things that a lot of people won’t be able to use if they want to copy me, because they’re too expensive,” he says. “There’s no way you can sell this fragrance for $100. I did that on purpose, because as a designer who’s been in this industry for so long, I’m kind of tired of [knockoff scents.]”

The seven scents in the Aura collection (which are named with made-up words “that are meant to flow off your tongue,” according to Matts) are each unisex, and are meant to be smelled in this order: Maiaday, Sunah, Tsiling, Pashay, Tuile, Kaiwe, and Jarro.

Looking for a fragrance that will really separate you from the crowd? Consider that last scent, Jarro, which opens with lime and also contains iris, hemp, lily, and a trace of tobacco: “some people have called this trashy, dirty, sexy,” Matts says.

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