Aside from barbecues and freshly mowed lawns, what is the scent of a suburb? Residents of one North Shore enclave claim it's "La Parisienne" by Holzman & Stephanie Perfumes Ltd.
"When it was first introduced, people couldn't remember the name, so they just asked for 'the Lake Forest perfume,"' says Esther Holzman, president of the Lake Forest perfumery, which captured the scent of linden trees that permeates the neighborhood.
Locals aren't alone in sniffing out Holzman & Stephanie. In the 1992 fragrance-driven film "Scent of a Woman," a blind Al Pacino with a highly developed sense of smell picks out their fragrance "Misuki" on a relative.
With no prior knowledge of the reference, Holzman says, "I nearly dropped off my chair when I heard it."
Holzman put her passion for scent into production eight years ago and founded the company on the principle that no scent will be synthetically formulated.
"Natural oils," says Holzman, a chemist, "hold their scent longer."
Four fragrances make up the line, including the oriental Misuki, the floriental Je t'Aime, the floral Fascination and, of course, La Parisienne. Prices for all four perfumes are $100 for 0.5 ounces and $200 for 1 ounce.
To date, they have been distributed via mail order and at specialty stores, including Martin's Pharmacy in Lake Forest. The firm reports annual sales of $1 million and is currently courting major department stores to distribute the perfumes.
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