Frequently Asked Questions

Contact Questions:

How do we reach Sonoma Scent Studio?

The best way to reach us is to email customer service at and we’ll usually get back to you within 24 hours. If you need to arrange a phone consultation, we can set up a time via email. Please remember we are 3 hours earlier in CA than you are if you are on the east coast.

Do you have open studio hours or a local boutique?

We do not have a traditional storefront here in CA and do not have open hours at this time.

Retailer Questions:

Where can I buy Sonoma Scent Studio products?

Most of our sales have always been online through our own website; by selling directly to our customers without a middleman, we can keep prices lower for our handmade artisan products. We have in the past been carried in some boutiques, and please stay tuned for updates in the future.

Shipping Questions:

Do you do international shipping? Do you ship to my country?

Unfortunately, we are not able to ship our alcohol-based perfumes by regular USPS international airmail because of the rules against mailing alcohol by air. We can ship via UPS, but it is more expensive.

So how can I get your perfumes if I live outside of the USA?

If you want to purchase directly from us, one option is to ship via UPS international, but it is expensive (generally a bit over $50 for air to Europe/Australia or $25 plus a brokerage fee for ground to Canada). You can email us for a shipping quote. UPS usually only makes sense for bottle orders, not sample orders.

Another option is to use a freight forwarding service that gives you a USA address; we then ship to the freight forwarder in the USA and they collect and forward all your packages to you, or they can send them one by one. By consolidating your packages from several USA merchants, you can save on shipping. Some freight forwarders will not ship alcohol-based perfume, but others will (depending on the destination country). MyUS has been a successful freight forwarder for a number of my customers, including some customers in the UK.

We can also time the shipping of packages to arrive at a hotel if you are visiting the USA.

Another option is for us to ship to a friend or family member here in the USA who can then get the package to you.

How much does shipping cost?

You can put your order into the shopping cart and then choose your shipping method and then click Update Cart to compute your shipping charges. Please note that we do not make money on shipping; we keep rates as low as we can while still recouping most of our costs for postage, insurance, boxes, mailers, packing material, and labels.

Do you require a signature at delivery?

We only require a signature verification upon delivery for orders that total $150.00 or more; if you prefer that the package NOT be left in your absence, please send us a message and we’ll ask for signature delivery on your order even if it is below $150. Otherwise, the UPS driver will use their judgment as to whether it is safe to leave the package. If you do request signature delivery and then do not make yourself available for UPS to deliver to you on one of their three delivery attempts and do not make arrangements with them to pick up the package, the order will be returned to Sonoma Scent Studio; in that case you would be refunded for the order items but not for the shipping, so please be sure you can be available to sign for the order if you request signature delivery.

Payment Questions:

Are payments on your site secure?

Yes, payments are made through a secure SSL site and your data is encrypted.

Can I pay by PayPal or credit card?

Yes, we accept PayPal payment or credit card payments.

How do I pay by credit card?

You can use the shopping cart and pay by credit card. During check-out, just click the button for credit card payment or the button next to the phrase “If you do not currently have a Paypal account” and you’ll be given a secure credit card option. Sonoma Scent Studio does not see your card number this way; it is encrypted such that no one, including us, sees it before it gets to the credit card processing service. If you check out using an email address that is not (and has never been) associated with a Paypal account, you will automatically be given a credit card option (you may also be asked if you want to set up a Paypal account but you can simply decline).

How do I pay by credit card if I do have Paypal?

If you have Paypal, the cart sometimes wants you to use Paypal rather than a credit card, so it may be easier to use an email address that does not have a Paypal account associated with it. But even if you login to your Paypal account, you should still be able to find an option to pay by credit card.

Can I pay by credit card without the shopping cart?

We cannot take orders by phone and process credit cards because of security issues. It’s getting harder for small businesses to become PCI certified so we must let the big companies like Paypal handle the transactions for us.

Can I send a check or Money Order?

Yes, you can send email to to arrange paying via postal money order. Personal checks are also accepted (though if you have not been a customer in the past, we’ll need to wait for the check to clear the bank). Money orders can be cashed upon arrival so your package can be shipped immediately. We can arrange for a discount on orders paid by postal money order since there are no processing fees associated with that payment method. (Postal money orders are easy, but Western Union money orders are not easy to cash here so postal are preferred.)

How do gift certificates work?

Please email us at if you would like to purchase a gift certificate.

Can I return my order if it doesn’t work for me?

Products are not returnable because once they leave the studio they can’t be used by anyone else, so you should try samples or small sizes first to make sure you love the scent. If you are unsure, start with the smallest 1 ml samples because those are inexpensive and will give you plenty of perfume to tell if you like the scent well enough to pursue it further. We want you to be pleased with your purchases, so we’re always happy to answer any questions you have before you order. If something should leak in transit, please contact us as soon as you receive the package and we’ll make it right.

Sonoma Scent Studio only uses high-quality cosmetic-grade oils that are skin safe, but occasionally people can have sensitivities to certain fragrance ingredients. If you develop any skin reaction, please discontinue use of the product. This rarely occurs but needs to be mentioned for completeness, and it’s another reason sampling first is a good idea. Please keep these products out of reach of small children and pets. Sonoma Scent Studio is not responsible for any damages associated with the use or misuse of the products. Sonoma Scent Studio products are made and packed in a non-smoking, pet-free environment, which should alleviate worries about smoke or pet allergies.

Do you charge sales tax?

Unfortunately, Sonoma Scent Studio must collect sales tax from California customers.

Do you give free samples with orders?

For sample orders of four or more samples, we offer you the choice of a free extra sample; you can let us know which you’d like in the comments box or in the free extra request box of the order form. If you order full bottles you can pick a free sample or two, and we’ll add some if you don’t specify any. We try to pick samples consistent with your choices. We cannot give free bottles with orders, and we can’t send free samples without an order – we are just too small a company and would quickly be out of business that way.

Product Questions:

What “base” or “carrier” do you use?

We now use organic grain alcohol (undenatured) in all our scents. This alcohol is free of denaturants and phthalates; it is just pure organic ethanol. No sunscreens, preservatives, or colorants are used in any of our perfumes, just fragrance in a carrier base of alcohol. The colors of the scents come from the colors of the natural essential oils and absolutes.

Do your perfumes contain parabens or sunscreens or colorants?


Do you use both natural and synthetic fragrance ingredients?

We use many natural essential oils and absolutes, but we also use high-quality synthetic aroma ingredients made especially for perfumery by the top fragrance companies such as Givaudan, Firmenich, and IFF. Synthetics can extend the lasting power of natural oils and work together with them to enhance the scent; the combination of naturals with a light touch of synthetics often makes the best of both worlds. We use synthetic musks, castoreum, and civet to avoid the cruelty issues associated with animal versions of these ingredients. We use no animal musks and no nitro musks — we use biodegradable macrocyclic musks. We are in the process of creating an all-natural collection called the Sonoma Naturals; we will be adding more scents to this line over time.

Do you use animal ingredients or are your products vegan? Do you test on animals?

We do not test our perfumes on animals, only on ourselves and some friendly human volunteers. 🙂 We do not use animal musks, civet, or castoreum, only synthetic replacements and natural musk alternatives like ambrette seed, labdanum, and angelica root. The only animal-related ingredient currently used in some of our perfumes is beeswax absolute in some fragrances (check the list of notes to see and if it is not listed then it is not used).

What scents might men like?

Some scents men have enjoyed and/or women have reported liking on the men in their lives are Fireside Intense, Tabac Aurea, Incense Pure, Ambre Noir, Winter Woods, Forest Walk, Cocoa Sandalwood, Spiced Citrus Vetiver, Wood Violet, and Amber Incense. Champagne de Bois has a nice sandalwood note and some spicy clove and is not floral, but the aldehydes make it just a bit more on the feminine side of unisex, though that will vary from person to person. The driest and most masculine scents are Fireside Intense and Incense Pure.

I’d like to get a scent that used to be on the list but isn’t listed right now — is that possible?

Probably not, unless you see it in our list of archive scents. You can always send us an email at to find out if we have any in stock.

What about skin sensitivity and product usage suggestions?

Sonoma Scent Studio generally follows accepted usage guidelines for essential oils and ingredients that are suspected of being more likely to cause irritation and/or sensitivity reactions. We do not use some oils at all, such as massoia bark, and we use limited amounts of others, such as natural oakmoss. We do use small amounts of real oakmoss, but we only use the low-atranol type that has had nearly all of the allergens atranol and chloroatranol removed. If you know you have an oakmoss allergy, you can check the notes listed for each scent and avoid those that contain moss. Likewise, if you have a citrus allergy or an allergy to another ingredient, you can check the ingredients lists for citrus or for your particular allergen. We are happy to answer your ingredient questions via email if you need help. No sunscreen additives, preservatives, or colorants are used in our perfumes. The perfumes and body products are paraben-free. If you are prone to allergies, discuss the use of fragrance with your physician and you may want to use fragrance on clothes or in a scent locket rather than in direct contact with your skin. Regardless of whether you have known allergies, it is always prudent to test a little bit of scent on a small area of skin and wait a day before trying a larger application (a skin patch test). If you do experience a skin reaction to one of our perfumes (redness, itching, irritation etc.), wash the perfume off with water and discontinue use. The perfumes are for external use only; avoid getting them in the eyes or mouth. Do not use on the face. Keep perfumes away from children and pets. Use common sense with perfumes as you would for any cosmetic products. We cannot predict how each person will react to the scents, but we are happy to answer any questions you have about specific scents if you email.