It was love at first sniff for Elizabeth Liau when she chanced upon an artisanal fragrance in a niche perfumery while vacationing in Florence many years ago. She snapped up all 10 bottles of
the juice, which she counts among her prized possessions.
“This fragrance is something I’ve been studying intensively over the years. I’m trying to understand how it inspires in me a very contemplative, beautiful observation of all things,” says Liau, who has less than three bottles of the precious scent left.
And, now that she is the founder of luxury fragrance house Maison de L’Asie, she is not about to allow it to disappear forever. While she declines to reveal any further specifics, Liau says she is working on creating a scent that will evoke similar emotions when worn.
If there is anyone who might be able to recreate this alchemy, it could very well be Liau. In 2018, when her mother passed away, she realised that while she had difficulty articulating her memories and feelings of love and nostalgia in words, she was instead better able to express them through a scent.
This led to the creation of Mother x Love, an elegant fragrance of vanilla musk and ginger – and one of three scents that were part of Maison de L’Asie’s launch last December. “I created this in memory of what she represented to me. The scent is enveloping and comforting in a way that I felt others could relate to,” she says.
Each collection or chapter comprises three fragrances. With Chapter One out, she is focusing on Chapter Two, slated to launch in June. Her fragrances are available on the website and at Tangs in September.
Liau, who has worked in a gamut of industries, from finance to art, has also lived all around the world, including Australia, Dubai, London and Paris since she was 19. When she returned to Singapore for good in her 30s, she realised her life abroad had given her a deeper understanding and a more appreciative perspective about Asia. “Our culture comes with such deep history and values and there’s poetry in the different cultures we experience,” she says.
Her fragrances are a showcase and tribute to the experiences, places and memories that make Asia so unique. The formulations are her creations and produced in collaboration with perfume consultants to ensure they have “unique olfactory trajectories” and adhere to high-quality standards.
“I want to show him to never be afraid to take a different path. And that once he does, he has to commit to it and give it his all. I am doing this in the hope that he will grow up brave and into a man of character.”
Elizabeth Liau on her hopes for her 7-year-old son
In her spare time, Liau likes to indulge her myriad interests and hobbies. An adventurous soul at heart, who has been known to rent a motorbike to go on a road trip when the mood strikes, she is constantly in pursuit of something interesting. “I love art, arthouse films and documentaries. I enjoy reading very much, too, because knowing that I’m learning something relaxes me. I play the piano and I’m constantly looking for someone to play chess with. I also get a lot of my inspiration from music by Ennio Morricone and Yo-Yo Ma,” she says.
Music plays a key role in shaping her fragrances, too. She compiles playlists for each chapter and shares them on the website. This, she says, will help the wearer “capture the emotion” she means to convey.
Ultimately, this venture is Liau’s way of setting an example for her son who’s 7. “I want to show him to never be afraid to take a different path. And that once he does, he has to commit to it and give it his all. I am doing this in the hope that he will grow up brave and into a man of character.”
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The Peak is working with Money FM 89.3 to interview The Peak’s Next Gen personalities on radio. Listen to Liau’s segment below.