Local Spotlight: Brooklyn’s MCMC Fragrances

Sisters Anne and Katie McClain create signature scents inspired by their travels.

Mar 27, 2013
  • Anne McClain at MCMC Fragrances in Brooklyn, New York
  • MCMC’s Humanity Amara and Savann Eau De Parfum
  • MCMC’s Humantiy Amara and Savann perfume oils in bottles handmade at Brooklyn Glass
  • MCMC Fragrances Men’s Scented Candle and Beard Oil
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Brooklyn-based Anne McClain founded MCMC Fragrances in 2008.
Photography Lianna Taratin
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McClain developed Savann and Amara fragrances after travelling to Cambodia.
Photography Claire Benoist
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Special edition bottles of MCMC’s Humanity Amara and Savann perfume oils were handmade by a fellow local design house, Brooklyn Glass.
Photography Claire Benoist
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McClain formulated this cedarwood-and-coriander-laced beard oil for her husband.
Photography Claire Benoist

A blend of jasmine absolute and earthy vetiver oil transports boutique perfumer Anne McClain, who founded her company, MCMC Fragrances, in 2008, back to Nepal. “I was studying abroad and living with a host family,” she recalls, “and I still remember the aromas of the chai tea and smoky incense.”

Perfume started as a hobby for McClain, but she later enrolled at the prestigious Grasse Institute of Perfumery in southern France. These days, she can be found mixing essential oils and absolutes at her Greenpoint, Brooklyn, studio space, with her sister, Katie. They hand-blend and bottle everything themselves. McClain’s love of travel informs several of her scents, and a few are named for places, like Maine and Maui. “Scent, more than any other sense, has the ability to transport you back to a very specific time and place,” she says. “A whiff of something familiar just walking down the street can conjure all the sights and sounds of a distant trip.”

Under McClain, a carefree summer spent in Hawaii is captured as a light, beachy fragrance containing tuberose, frangipani, star anise and ginger. The scents of sea, air, sun and pine in coastal Maine are conveyed with Bulgarian rose absolute, clary sage, wild Somalian myrrh and French seaweed absolute. McClain carries the scents in eau de parfum form as well as oil roll-ons, and she added candles last fall. Incidentally, a cedarwood-and-coriander-laced beard oil she formulated for her husband is one of her best-sellers, so a cologne for men is in the works.


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