Each year, as we near the day of judging Prix du Parfum, I find I’m in higher spirits than usual. It’s the perfume effect. I don’t know a single person who doesn’t appreciate a good scent. Whether it is warm bread fresh from the oven, soil that’s been freshly rained on, or a good spritz of perfume before (or after) putting on our killer outfit, scent is a powerful mood-shifter.

This year, on the day we judged, we were hosted by Bean There Coffee Roastery (Beanthere.co.za) at 44 Stanley in Jo’burg, which was the ideal venue because, as you may know, sniffing on coffee beans is an excellent way to clear the nose when you’ve been smelling different scents and need to make a clear differentiation. Bean There also makes great coffee and hot chocolate, which went down well with the croissants and muffins provided.

Our judges – Aspasia Karras (Marie Claire editor), Azania Mosaka (Power FM), David Tlale (designer), Anele Mdoda (94.7 Highveld Stereo), Tamara Dey (singer), Kelly Fung (Marie Claire junior beauty and fashion editor) and yours truly – had a grand old time sharing stories and casting our votes for the most deserving fragrances launched in SA between January and December 2012. There were plenty and we went through every one, much to everyone’s pleasure.

A special thanks to Sindiso Khumalo for the beautiful jacket I wore on the day. For more of her clothing, visit Merchants on Long (Merchantsonlong.com) in Cape Town.

Mathahle Stofile, Marie Claire beauty editor

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