MiVT: St. Clair Scents

ORWELL, Vt. (WCAX) We first featured Diane St. Clair for Made in Vermont at her Orwell Farm four years ago. Her Animal Farm Butter is a staple of Per Se, a highly regarded New York City restaurant owned by celebrity Chef Thomas Keller. St. Clair is still on her farm, but now she has a new product that shifts the focus from taste to smell. She has entered the very competitive, corporate world of perfuming. St.Clair Scents is coming up on its one year anniversary.

"People always ask me, 'Do you ever get tired of smelling?' But I tell them, 'you have to keep doing it,'" said Diane St. Clair. To get a sense of the scent business -- it takes years of education. "There are actually fewer perfumers in the world than astronauts."

St. Clair studied under French-trained perfumer, Eliza Douglas. "I was immediately struck by her passion for fragrance and for the natural raw materials," Douglas said.

She captures the essence of Vermont. Her first three fragrances -- Frost, Gardner's Glove, and the popular, First Cut.

"Scent really taps into our memories and our very visceral feelings. And in different ways, my first three fragrances capture that," St. Clair said.

You can order them through her website, but if you're ever in Louisville, Kentucky, you can stop by American Perfumer.

"Her perfumes feel very much like a snapshot of Vermont," said American Perfumer's Dave Kern. His shop is the first and only one in the U.S. devoted to people like St. Clair, who produce their own perfumes. "The way she was approaching it was the same thoughtful artisan approach she had taken towards her butter and buttermilk and everything that she's done."

A sample pack is $18 and a 13 milliliter bottle is $65.

"A lot of people are just intrigued that I'm sort of doing what I'm doing, and then there's all this other corporate perfume. It's sort of a crazy and brave thing to do, but I'm not giving up my day job, let's just put it that way," St. Clair said.

Reporter Scott Fleishman: This is the one ounce jar that will be available later in the year when you launch the new scent, Casablanca, right?
Diane St. Clair: Exactly.
Reporter Scott Fleishman: And this is Casablanca right here?
Diane St. Clair: This is a sample of it.
Reporter Scott Fleishman: Oh, wow.
Diane St. Clair: It's got a lot of very rich, dark materials in it -- woods and resins.

It took hard work to get here, but Diane St. Clair is used to it. With this latest venture, she truly understands that sweet smell of success.