Rochester Hills native Kelly Jones launched Notes of Wine perfumes inspired by the scents of merlot, chardonnay and rosé.
By Julie Yolles
In the world of wine, fragrances are traditionally forbidden. But for Kelly Jones, a perfumer who grew up in Rochester Hills and is now based in New York, she decided to break that rule and let the worlds collide.
A self-professed weekend winery-goer, Jones was called out by a winemaker in a California tasting room for wearing her vanilla perfume, an essence she’d been working to perfect. But as the winemaker scolded her, she realized that the perfume was actually enhancing her chardonnay experience.
“Rightfully so, sommeliers claim that scents will interfere with the fragrance of the wine,” Jones says. “But I wanted to find a way to appreciate wine aromas through the lens and language of a perfumer.”
After that experience, she went back to her scent studio and blended a collection of fragrances that pair specifically with wine. Her Notes of Wine perfumes are now sold coast to coast.
At first, winemakers balked at her idea of wine-inspired perfume. Now, she’s pleased to report, they’ve welcomed her into their wine world.
“Our scents are designed to be an all new way of appreciating and learning about wine aromas and making the whole experience less intimidating,” Jones says. “It allows you to appreciate the art of wine in a new multisensorial way.”
Jones’ wine-inspired fragrance collection includes six Eau de Parfum varietals — Notes of Pinot Grigio, Riesling, Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet and Rosé.
Jones, 43, has come a long way since she left a successful automotive career with Toyota. The Michigan State University graduate — with an MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University — was a female executive by day and, at night, she experimented with fragrances.
Serendipitously, she moved to New York City, where she landed a coveted position at one of the world’s top fragrance houses.
While still having a presence in the city, Jones recently opened offices in the Hudson Valley. Last month, Jones packed up her oils, perfume blotters, scales, flasks and custom Wine Aroma Wheel and moved them to her scent studio in Kingston, New York.
“Kingston has a very Michigan feel to it,” Jones says. “On the banks of the Hudson River, it’s like Charlevoix, and we’re in a renovated factory that has an old industrial-Detroit feel.”
This summer, she’s launching a roll-on Reserve Collection and an air freshener line.
A fragrance wearer since her days at Rochester Adams High School, Jones and her gal pals would wear the latest scents, including Lou perfume by Cacharel and Dior Dune. Always a trendsetter, Jones also wore men’s fragrances like Bvlgari Black.
“The fragrance trend right now is all about wearing gender-neutral fragrances. Traditionally, men aren’t chardonnay drinkers and, yet, half of our Chardonnay Reserve (Collection) sales are to men because the fragrance works so well on men’s skin, with loads of sandalwood and guaiac wood,” Jones says. “The runways have shifted to androgynous, and it’s now crossing over to the fragrance market. This is a very exciting time to be able to express who you are through fashion, beauty and fragrance.”
Kelly + Jones Go-To Wine Pairings in Metro Detroit
“Perfume is an accessory. It’s part of your wardrobe. It completes your look, whether you’re in Wine Country or in downtown Detroit at a wine bar,” perfumer Kelly Jones says. Here’s what she recommends to wear at local hot spots.
Brix Wine & Charcuterie Boutique
Cabernet sauvignon paired with Notes of Cabernet
This West Village wine bar is where I go to pair it all — taste, smell and sound. Sip and sniff as you listen to visiting DJs spin city tunes. Ask for a glass of cabernet sauvignon, and pair it with our Notes of Cabernet for essences of tobacco flower and vintage leather.
7968 Kercheval St., Detroit
Flowers of Vietnam
Poolside Breakfast Cocktail paired with Mezcal Blanca
When I’m not sipping wine, I love the terroir of mezcal. The Flowers of Vietnam Poolside Breakfast cocktail with mezcal and kiwi-jalapeño syrup has such surprising flavors. It pairs mystically with our Mezcal Blanca fragrance, for aromas that are at once fresh and spicy.
4430 W. Vernor Hwy., Detroit
The Apparatus Room
2016 Waugh Cellars Chardonnay paired with Oak Perfume Oil
Russian River chardonnays pair gorgeously with our oak perfume oil, enhancing the nuances of burnt toast, butterscotch and smoked wood aromas. Plus, just sitting in The Foundation Hotel’s Apparatus Room, surrounded by beautiful lighting and decor, makes all the senses so happy.
250 W. Larned St., Detroit
Elie Wine Company
Côte de Provence rosé paired with Notes of Rosé
This gem rivals any wine shop in New York City and specializes in French and Italian varietals. If you’re lucky, you can sip some tastings with owner Elie and listen to his tales of European vineyard adventures. Any of Elie’s Provence rosés will pair in perfect herbal, white strawberry accords with our Notes of Rosé parfum.
1601 E. 14 Mile Road, Birmingham
Tasting menu paired with Reserve Collection Sample Flight
I’m ravenous after spending a day on the lake. So, Victoria’s is my family’s go-to dinner spot for lots of lusciousness. Share plates and wine tastings with friends, and pair with the Reserve Collection Sample Flight of perfumes — little vials of fragrance that let you experience all the scents.
12 S. Washington St., Oxford