#ThankYouMiami for Fashion РPerfume Perfection at Babal̼

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We apologize for the fashion silence these past few weeks. We have been extremely busy writing about the food, travel, and culture that comes in droves in late spring. But, rest assured, we have been diligently keeping up with our local fashion happenings, amping up for Miami fashion season, and naturally thinking of you the whole time.

Latest on our radar is news from Babalú Boutique in Miami Beach – you know, the unexpected surprise beneath the stairs in the 1111 Lincoln Road building (the Herzog and De Meuron garage) that stands out with its neon lights and eclectic yet luxurious inventory. In a testament to its founders’ limitless creativity, the chic boutique recently added a cozy room to its small footprint that houses a beautiful perfume bar and an interactive tool called the Perfume Genie that helps you find your favorite fragrance. As perfume amateurs, we were intrigued by the new expansion and the unveiling of its resident magical technology so we bribed our closest friends with bubbles to come check it out with us last week.

We were lucky to have assembled an inquisitive crew. Before co-founder Paolo Ambu could begin an explanation of the Perfume Genie, one of the girls had already prompted him for the story behind Babalú. We were pleasantly surprised to find that it originated with a deep love for Miami – that is, Paolo’s appreciation for those amazing Miami moments like the experience of driving over I-195 and looking out into Biscayne Bay. Not surprisingly, Paolo also loves Miami’s oddities. He says, “#ThankYouMiami, the Magic City, for being home to the Babalú Perfume Genie, the teenie-weenie bikini, and the dirty martini.”

Turns out, Miami is only one of Paolo’s many passions. He is also a niche perfume enthusiast so the girls methodically questioned him on everything from the perfume-making process to the history behind the perfectly curated perfume selection that comprises the Babalú Perfume Bar. Paolo met each of their questions with a wealth of knowledge that left us absolutely impressed. For example, we learned that perfumes made with night jasmine have higher price tags because they require between 10,000 and 15,000 flowers to be handpicked at night when they are most fragrant. Thanks to Paolo’s thorough explanations we now have a much deeper appreciation for high quality perfumes.

From the Perfume Genie, we learned a lot about perfume composition. The system prompts you through the fragrance creation process starting with a scent family followed by up to five notes. Each step is guided by a detailed description, a scent memory if you will, of your available options. At the end, the Perfume Genie lists perfumes in the Babalú Perfume Bar you are likely to enjoy based on your selection.

Between Paolo and the Perfume Genie’s teachings, we’ve transformed from perfume novices to perfume snobs. In the three hours we were there, we smelled everything from organic perfumes to synthetic perfumes, perfumes that smelled like The Standard to perfumes that smelled how we imagine Christian Grey smells. The selections at the Babalú Perfume Bar are absolutely magical. But, what do you expect from such an exclusive stock? To be honest, now that we’ve smelled paradise we don’t think our noses can go back to the cheap stuff.

Our night was more enlightening than we could’ve imagined. Granted we had Paolo to guide us but, based on our experience, it seems Babalú has found a way to make his unparalleled expertise available even if he’s not there. Seriously, guys, if the Perfume Genie was a person, it would be Paolo. So take advantage of the Perfume Genie which will be around for the foreseeable future. Whether you are a perfume believer or not, it will change the way you think about fragrances and you may even find your new signature scent!

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