personal out & about

bespoke perfume experience at floris, london

exterior of floris shop on ebury street, belgravia, london

i want to write about this whilst it’s fresh in my mind, though i can’t imagine i’ll be forgetting about it in any near future.

recently i won a competition, and part of the prize was for me and a friend to make our own bespoke perfumes at floris, on ebury street (the flagship store is on jermyn street). making my very own perfume has been a dream of mine for a very long time, and one i thought would never actually be realised.

i invited sade of in my sunday best along with me as i sensed it was something she’d really enjoy (also because she’s wonderful) too.

floris london box with ribbon

floris perfume ingredients in bottles

rounded vintage edison bulb

we were invited down into the basement level, in a room filled with shelves of golden floris display boxes, perfume ingredients, petals in vases and greenery along the windowsill.

firstly we had a bit of a chat, discussing briefly what sort of scents we liked. our bespoke perfume manager, penny went though variants of scents from different fragrance families – like woody, oriental, floral, citrus etc and gave us a little info on the history of the scents as well as how they’re derived.

i found this really boosted the experience for me as i love learning about the history, meaning and symbolism behind things. i also love that making perfumes is a really interesting mix of science and creativity. there’s a perceived magic about it, but what it really comes down to is mixing chemicals together. as well as this, the way everyone percieves smell is different, as it’s so closely linked to your memory (in the limbic system in your brain, where emotion, behaviour and mood are also processed) and i think that’s where the ‘magic’ comes into it.

perfume ingredients at bespoke perfume session

i think we initially went through about 15 fragrances, all on blotter sticks, and had to choose a few favourites out of those. it became quickly apparent i (or just my nose?) am really not fond of the ‘green’ scents, as well as anything overly synthetic. there were also quite a few scents that i would never wear, but still quite enjoyed the smell of – some had that ‘i don’t really like it, yet i can’t stop smelling it’ sort of quality to them too.

going into this, i already have a strong sense of smells i love and even though i wasn’t putting it into my mind to influence me, clearly my gut instincts ran true, and i ended up with a fragrance that is a mix of my three favourite things, namely: floral, warm and powdery with a hit of citrus.

after that, we went through a few more ingredients that would go with what we’ve already chosen, and then it came to testing them on our skin. this part of it is important, because of the way scents work with your body chemistry. they can smell quite different on the stick than they can on you.

floris london perfume ingredients

bespoke perfume invite and tester bottles

finally, we got towards the end and the perfumes were made.  it’s interesting to see them being made in front of you too, and to see how much of each ingredient goes into it. when the bottle was made up and i actually got to smell my finished perfume, it was instant love. a few days later now i still keep smelling it because it just makes me so happy.

perfume bottles at floris

the whole experience is quite bewitching, and you feel like you’ve had part in concocting some magic potion. the magic being that this has been created for you, in front of your very eyes, and specific to your tastes. i really feel like the perfume made for me really smells like ‘me’. it’s a hard thing to put into words, but i just smell it and i feel like it’s part of my soul. which sounds cheesy, but ultimately true ..for me, anyway.

oh, and yes, i totally named my perfume after my cat. i do love the name ava too though.

blue floris bag with custom fragrance

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  • Reply jessica 06/09/2016 at 06:32

    Creating your own bespoke fragrance sounds like such a great experience! I wouldn’t even know where to start when it comes to blending elements that work with each other and knowing what would suit my skin, but I’m sure it would be a lot of fun!

    • Reply laura redburn 09/09/2016 at 08:29

      quite literally a dream come true, and best competition prize ever, right? yeah it seems a bit overwhelming, but the woman basically guides you along every aspect and it’s so interesting to hear about the history etc behind various scents too. i reckon you’d love it!

  • Reply Amy 06/09/2016 at 15:05

    This sounds like such a lovely experience, it must be nice to wear something that you’ve put together yourself. I bet it’s so personal too! The whole day would make a lovely gift for somebody.

    • Reply laura redburn 09/09/2016 at 08:27

      it was amazing, and what made it even more amazing was that i won the opportunity AND got to bring a friend along! i love the perfume so much, it makes me so happy. and definitely, would be a properly fantastic gift.

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