June 29, 2024

Wit + West is an indie, husband-and-wife owned, natural perfumery house in Colorado. Their extensive line of all-natural fragrances has been getting buzzed about ever since their release in 2021, due to their rich textures and unheard-of staying power for natural compositions. Some are even made with materials extracted in-house, from their very own garden.

With 2 fragrances featured in our July Collection, we thought you should get to know these wonderful people and the intoxicating compositions made by perfumer and co-founder Whitney Swales, so let us introduce you…

  Meet Whitney Swales & Rob Westendorf of Wit & West! 



Q:  What does the line’s name, Wit + West refer to?
Wit & West is a play on my name, Whitney (Wit), and my husband Rob’s last name, Westendorf (West).  
Q: How did you first get into fragrance?
Growing up, perfume and everything scented - body oils, perfumed body powders, soaps, candles - were a part of my life. The classic fragrances were a household staple with my mom who wore Chanel No. 5, Youth Dew, and Private Collection by Estee Lauder, and my dad who wore Polo by Ralph Lauren and Lagerfeld by Karl Lagerfeld. Even outside our house, it seemed that the world I lived in was connected to scent.


My dad owned a boutique in Colorado Springs, called Swale Hall (after our last name) that featured British home goods, teas, candies, as well as perfumes, soaps, and scented body powders. I loved visiting my dad at the shop. There was always something new to explore.

While this passion for scent remained a part of my life as I acquired a small collection of perfumes over the years, I went on to pursue a degree in finance. Then in 2018, after more than two decades in marketing and finance leadership roles, I decided it was time to do something different – something with a creative and artistic soul, something that I could truly be excited about. Initially not knowing what that meant, it finally hit me… Perfume!

Q: How did you learn perfumery? Are you self-taught? Did you get trained somewhere?

I started studying perfumery on my own about six years ago, and decided I wanted to take it to the next level, setting out to learn from world-renowned natural perfumers including Mandy Aftel (Aftelier Perfumes) and Charna Ethier (Providence Perfume Co.).

As an avid believer that one can never stop learning and growing, I have since continued my journey of learning the art of perfumery through coursework at the Grasse Institute of Perfumery.

Q: Why do you think fragrance is your expressive medium?

I am drawn to the sensorial aspect of fragrance and its connection to our memories, feelings, and emotions. Scent has the power to transport us to different times and places, making it deeply personal for both the perfumer and the perfume wearer.

Crafting a fragrance is not just about creating a pretty scent through technical know-how; it's about weaving a narrative and capturing an essence that resonates with others. My goal is to tap into the immersive connection between scent and storytelling, inviting those who wear my fragrances to embark on their own journey.

Q: Why did you decide on a naturals-only fragrance line?

In the same way that classic rock, jazz, blues, pop, and EDM are all genres of music, I view natural perfumery as a genre or style of perfumery. Regardless of whether they are all-natural, non-natural, or somewhere in between, I love all types, styles, and genres of perfumery.

For me, natural perfumery is the genre of perfumery that I chose to focus on simply because I love working with natural ingredients. I love their depth and complexity. They are challenging and finicky, and I love a good challenge. I also have a love for the historical and classic styles of perfumery as well as artisan methods of extraction including enfleurage, tincturing, and distillation.

Q: What was the first fragrance you created, and what was the inspiration?

Jasmine Pet Noi | Wit & West | OlfactifThe first fragrance I created for Wit & West Perfumes is one of the eau de parfums in the Wit & West Perfumes Signature Collection, Jasmine Pet Noi (or JPN as my husband and I call it for short).

JPN is a spicy, floral amber perfume with pink peppercorn, bitter orange, orange blossom, jasmine sambac, patchouli, a hint of palo santo, and our in-house amber accord - with vanilla absolute, labdanum, and benzoin.

The name of the perfume comes from its featured notes; jasmine and spices ("pet noi" means “a little spicy” in Thai) and is inspired by a trip that my husband and I took to Thailand, and evenings we spent roaming the frenetic markets and streets of Bangkok.  Get your nose on it in the July Collection

Q: What’s your favorite fragrance you’ve created and why?

Released in 2023, The Violetear - an eau de parfum in the Wit & West Reserve Collection that is the first in the series centered around the art of enfleurage in perfumery.

Named after the Mexican hummingbird, 'violetear' (for its violet coloring on its ears), The Violetear is a fresh and sparkling fougére-style fragrance that features 100% all-natural ingredients, including our in-house artisanal iris enfleurage extrait handcrafted from bearded irises (iris germanica) in the Wit & West garden, as well as bergamot, lavender, geranium, mimosa flower, rose absolute (rosa centifolia and rosa damascena), frankincense, tonka bean and oakmoss.

In 2023, The Violetear was named a Top 10 Perfume twice by ÇaFleureBon.


Q: What’s the best thing about owning and running your own fragrance house?

I am an introvert, so being a perfumer is a good fit for me, as is being a small business owner. Owning your own fragrance house allows you to have creative license to create unique, bold, and non-mainstream fragrances without worrying about meeting a specific fragrance brief’s target audience or profit goals.

Of course, I want to make fragrances that people will enjoy, but I also want to create things that are unique and don’t smell like everything else.  

Q: The part you dislike the most?

Owning your own fragrance house can be challenging at times, as you do not necessarily have the resources or budgets to tap into, that bigger fragrance houses have.

For example, if I want to purchase a particular fragrance ingredient from one of the big fragrance suppliers, it can sometimes be more difficult due to their minimum purchase requirements. As a natural perfumer, this can be especially challenging as natural ingredients are expensive (a kilogram of rose absolute oil can run around $7K).

Besides some of the limitations that come with the territory of being a smaller indie brand, I think one of the hardest things about owning your own business is that you want to do everything, but you cannot do everything, so you sometimes have to make choices that are not always easy (or fun) to make.

Q: Aside from fragrance, do you have any other creative outlets or hobbies?

I am also an amateur ballroom dancer (like perfumery, another art form that is a lifelong learning journey). I started dancing about 14 years ago and dance what is known as "9 dance" in the American Style of ballroom dancing.

9 dance means that I dance all 9 dances in both the American Smooth and American Rhythm categories including waltz, tango, foxtrot, and Viennese waltz (American Smooth category), as well as cha-cha, rumba, mambo, bolero, and East Coast swing (American Rhythm category).

When I am not dancing or working in the studio, you can find me in the Wit & West garden.

My husband and I have expanded our garden to include a wider range of fragrant flowers for the creation of enfleurage extraits used in perfumes in the Wit & West Reserve Collection.

Currently growing in the Wit & West garden are lilacs, peonies, irises, roses, and soon-to-be honeysuckle, which we just planted last year.

Q: What can we expect from Wit + West in the future?

We are continuing our focus on expanding the Wit & West Reserve Collection, and more specifically, our enfleurage perfumes - extracted via enfleurage from flowers in the Wit & West garden.

We expect to launch our next Reserve Perfume in the near future.



Q: Current non-perfume obsession?

Birds and birdwatching.

Q: Where’s your “happy place”?

My garden.

Q: Favorite quote?

“My goal in life is to unite my avocation with my vocation,  as my two eyes make one in sight.” ― Robert Frost

Q: Favorite season?


Q: Favorite smell?

The ocean.

Q: Favorite song currently?

Soft Scene by Autolux.

Q: If you could describe Wit + West in 3 words, what would they be?

Bold botanical fragrances.


Want to smell Wit & West? Find both Jasmine Pet Noi and Fleur du Riad featured in our July 2024 Collection, A Perfumer's Muse.

Subscribe by July 15th to get this collection in your mailbox! 

Follow Wit & West on  Instagram!

Photo credits: Wit & West

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