Monday 25 July 2016


You never know the route that people take when it comes to perfume creation, but being a doctor first is definitely a new one on me. Kim McGovern lived in Singapore and Australia before coming to England at the age of six. It was here that she studied Medicine at Imperial College London before working as a Doctor. In 2011 she opened a perfume boutique specialising in miniatures and discontinued fragrances before Amygdala Beauty was launched in 2016. Described as a “celebration of creativity and fragrance”, Amygdala produce single note solid perfumes that can be mixed and blended. So, what would we learn about her inspirations during “Stephan’s Six”?

What is the first smell that you can remember?
As a kid I remember following my parents to a specialist oriental food supermarket and walking around gazing at all of the unusual ingredients displayed in jars and cans. A carton with a big prawn on it caught my eye and as I picked it up I could smell this pungent, decaying, sweet, savoury seafood scent. I found it strangely delicious and comforting. I asked my Mother what it was and she said it was Belachan, a fermented, dried shrimp paste used in South-East Asian cooking, after which she said it stinks. To some may be a repulsive odour, but to me it sort of symbolises my heritage.

What perfume do you remember your mum or dad wearing?
I remember my Mum wearing Chanel No.19. I can still see the bottle in my mind; it was the purse spray version, a grey bottle with a gold band around the middle. Mum’s philosophy was to have her perfume stay close to her skin, and she never wanted her perfume to shout. For me the fragrance symbolised elegance, something to wear on a special occasion - the epitome of luxury and aspiration. As a kid I thought perfume was something for grown-ups, and I couldn’t wait to grow up!

What was the perfume of your twenties?
Donna Karan Cashmere Mist. It was a complete impulse buy during my lunch break at work. It reminds me of my first serious boyfriend, parties and anxiety. A time in my life when I was forming my identity and was unsure of most things. I don’t really know why I wore it. Looking back, it was way too creamy and warm for my personality.

What was your biggest perfume mistake?
I wore Ralph by Ralph Lauren for a time. It was quite boring and insipid. It lacked personality for me and I found it a chore to try to finish the bottle. It was just too youthful and summery.

You can only choose one perfume?
There are very few moments when I have had my mind open up and swoon over a fragrance. I tested one of the La Collection Privée by Dior (I forget the exact one, must go back to find out) and it was pure magic. The most sophisticated, ethereal fragrance. This was magnified elegance in a bottle.

What perfume should I try?
If you haven’t tried the Amouage range then I urge you to do so. Wonderfully complex fragrances with depth and eye-opening character. They smell heady, exotic, opulent, rich and golden. For me it conjures up images of grand balls where ladies wear dresses made with swathes of fabric in rich vivid colours, parading around galleries with large sweeping staircases. The enduring tone is magical and warm.

For more details of Kim’s range of solid perfumes you can visit her website at

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