The smell of fresh baked cookies that mom made in the morning on your first day of school or dewy grass that woke you up at dawn in December. Small things that tingle our senses but often are taken for granted just because ‘we’re used to it’. Those scents.. some of them, without even trying, have become an identity of a place, a history, or even a person. Beautiful isn’t it? But do you know, some people are not that lucky. 

First of all, hang on, this is going to be a long article, so bare with me, alright? Here’s the story. I know someone who has a condition called Congenital Anosmia. You can look it up online for a more detailed explanation but basically it means she’s not been able to detect smell since she was born. And it’s not temporary. Meaning she can’t differentiate anything based on their smell, unless it’s a very (I mean, EXTREMELY) strong smell like bleach or strong peppermint oil. You can hold a rotten egg close to her nose for all she cares, as long as she didn’t see it, she wouldn’t know.

In the beginning I said, a particular scent can be our identity. Something that reminds people of us. That is why many people are desperate to find a perfume that describes who they are. The first thing that tingles the senses of people around them, first thing, when they enter the room. And you’re probably thinking, a person with Congenital Anosmia doesn’t care about wearing perfume since she can’t smell it anyway. Well, sorry to say but you’re totally wrong. If anything, she’s very particular about the perfume she wears. 

She would ask me a list of questions before buying a perfume, like “How do you feel when you smell it?” or “What type of a person do you think would wear this perfume?” As she said, while reading the list of top notes, “I don’t even know what my own hands smell like, how the heck am I supposed to know what bergamot or sunflower smell like?”. Apparently, I, too, have been doing a shitty job explaining the scent by saying things like “This perfume is similar to XXXX brand” or “It smells like baby powder” like it would help her in any way.

But, seriously now, is it possible to put scents into words?

Last month, a friend of mine recommended a local (if you’re from Indonesia, then, it is a local) perfumery brand. Later on, I found it on Instagram, just like how any other young adult finds anything nowadays, it’s called Ready Set (Instagram: @readysetofficial).  At first I was drawn by the artsy design that they have on their stickers, but as I dig further to their Instagram feeds, I found something interesting. They tell stories which make each scent have its own, I would say, feeling. So of course, I ordered it. Well, not it- them. I may or may not have ordered way more than expected. In my defense, though, they were sold out in less than an hour, so I’d better be safe than sorry. You’ll get me once you see how the open order ‘war’ is going on..

The products arrived, many full moons later (sorry but hey, they made their product from scratch and everything’s done by HANDS so it’s an understandable 5 to 14 days). I found the full size 50ml glass bottles are really pocket friendly. And what they called Discovery Set or Travel Size, which contains 5ml bottles of every scent, is very well made. I mean, I have bought and seen many perfume vials but none of them have a story (yes, STORY) written on their small vial bottle. It is a huge effort, you know. Ready Set made it as if they wanted you to understand each scent they presented. And they made me realize, describing scents is possible.    

Now, if you’re patient enough to read my article so far, thank you! 

But if you’re not ready to leave yet, here’s a little story. How I’d describe the 8 scents of Ready Set to someone with Anosmia. Read it as if you can’t ever smell them. Here we go, Ready Set. (Psst.. If you want to know which scents are my favorites, it’s the twins!)

If the scents were sisters, Pràh Boulevard would be the first born. She has the privilege to know it first. How to ride a bike, how to swim, how to love someone and heal her broken heart. She’d be the first to be called by their mother when there’s a problem in the family. You can rely on her to keep your secrets. Everyone knows she knows her way around. Pràh Boulevard seems unapproachable and a bit too fancy at first, but once you’ve got to know her, it’d be impossible to leave.

Rayuan Pulau Kelapa would be the second, more laid back kind of sister. When she was born, it was only her and Pràh. She knows Pràh makes decisions so she doesn’t have to. But as they got older, RPK (that’s how she’d prefer to be called) realized how Pràh broke down and tired sometimes so she’d step up in her sister’s place when it happened. RPK is approachable, but not easy to trick like some little innocent kid. Also, traveling is her jam.

The third sister Brooklyn Flea feels like she has a lot to prove. She works hard and earns her place. Most likely to be the first who leaves the house, either for studying or working abroad. She sets her goal and she goes for it. A city type of girl, you know. Many people think Brooklyn Flea’s a bit boyish, but personally I think she just isn’t interested in the complication of beauty. She’s frank. Definitely the one you’d ask for an honest opinion. 

In every family, there must be that one person who brings everyone together. And that would be the fourth child, Yokshire. She can be a social butterfly sometimes, but she’s content when she’s needed to be alone. Independent but sweet, delicate but not fragile. Yokshire enjoys random talks since she has a very unique way of seeing things around. She can be seen as sexy too around her close companion. But most importantly, she’s the glue to the family.  

The next one is half of a whole. First twin sister, Petite Garden. People see her as a go with the flow type of girl, but she’s actually deeper than her looks. She’s a head turner, that’s for sure, since she’s oozing out rich vibes. And if there’s a story, she’d demand  to be the main character. Petite Garden acknowledges the attention she’s getting, but she’d prefer for people to know her quality that does deserve all of the attention. And her quality is a work of art indeed. 

Second half is Windrises, who always thinks she’s the ‘ugly sister’ because of how plain she looks. Little did she know, a simple girl next door like her often drives the boys crazy. She’s the type of girl that looks naturally beautiful even after a long day of work. Windrises said, don’t sweat it, she’ll love you just the way you are. Definitely the one you want to hold hands with when you’re sick. You can rest assured, it’s always going to be alright with her. She gets you.

And here comes the youngest Koriko 1950 who always tries to make you laugh at her silines. Her sweetness comes out naturally since she’s the youngest, but she’s actually quite feisty too. Koriko 1950 is the type of girl that bakes you cookies but eats them all before you get any. She’ll bring you places where you have no choice but to smile. Do not hesitate to make a joke in front of her because she’ll laugh at it anyway. 

Now that you know the sisters, it’s time to meet mother 59. To whom everybody tells their problems and hoping for a solution (or just for a good 5 seconds hug). 59 is a safe space that is often forgotten, far long gone and missed in the midst of 9 to 5 everyday life. She’s someone you’d want to meet when you feel lost. It’s the way she makes you feel nostalgic, back to when you were 5 and everything looks big but not scary. Now those small things scare you. It’s good to have her back.

Aanndd scene.. There you have it! My share of thoughts on Ready Set scents described in non smell related explanation (if that even  makes sense..)

Well, if you want to take Petite Garden for a little walk or show Brooklyn Flea how big the world is, even bake cookies with Koriko 1950 go to Ready Set Instagram account @readysetofficial and find out how to make an appointment with them. And if you haven’t decided on who’s your favorite, hit on their Discovery Set and get ready to fall in love with them all. Just like I did.

Discovery Set (@readysetofficial)