What’s in a scent: How bespoke perfumers bottle personalities

Floris London have captured everything from vineyards to wedding days in their iconic Jermyn Street shop...

Evidence of humans crafting perfumes can be dated as far back as 3000 years, to the world of the Ancient Egyptians. Since that time, rare oils and aromatic herbs have been used to mark each of life’s greatest occasions across the world, celebrating and bottling our most significant memories.

It is no surprise then, that perfume is now considered the most quintessential of all romantic gifts.

What’s in a scent: How bespoke perfumers bottle personalities
Interiors at the Floris shop on Jermyn Street

However, selecting the right fragrance for a loved one can prove a fiendishly difficult task — with an overwhelming array of brands to choose from, and the fear that you might select the wrong thing. How can you be sure that the scent is one they’ll like? Or predict how the perfume might smell on their skin? 

If you’re looking to invest in a totally unique gift this season, but don’t know where to begin in selecting the right scent, then allow the Royal Family’s perfumers of choice to tailor-make a fragrance perfectly suited to you or your recipient.

What’s in a scent: How bespoke perfumers bottle personalities
Nicola Pozzani, Bespoke Perfumer at Floris

We spoke with Floris’ bespoke perfumer and global fragrance consultant, Nicola Pozzani, to discover exactly what it takes to bottle a personality.

How does the service work?

Floris have been crafting artisanal, bespoke perfumes at their shop on 89 Jermyn Street for centuries. Nicola explains, “the appointment starts by the customer choosing the base scent from an archive which has been curated over nearly 300 years.

What’s in a scent: How bespoke perfumers bottle personalities
Interiors at the Floris shop on Jermyn Street

“The perfume is then personalised through additional notes and accords that best describe their taste and personality or for a specific occasion”

There really is a scent for every occasion...

Over the years that Floris have offered this service, there must have been a couple of strange requests, and even a few famous faces calling on Nicola’s expertise?

There would be enough to write a book! It’s amazing how much we can learn about people’s life experiences in the making of a perfume.”

What’s in a scent: How bespoke perfumers bottle personalities

"The power of scent is all about preference — so it really should translate who you are..."

“We’ve had famous people, people who are facing challenging times or serious illness, couples in happy tears, and people trying to capture the memory of a significant moment in time or person.”

And, although nobody has yet called on the service of Floris to capture the aroma of a delicious meal, Nicola has worked with families who work in wine and have sought to incorporate elements which are evocative of vineyards.

Perfumes as love potions...

Perfumes might be a deeply romantic gift to give a loved one, but can a scent really operate as an aphrodisiac powerful enough to make somebody fall in love at first smell?

What’s in a scent: How bespoke perfumers bottle personalities
Nicola Pozzani, Bespoke Perfumer at Floris

Nicola has been called upon to test it out. “Once a man asked me to make a perfume that would make women fall in love with him and he actually did test it out on passers by walking through Jermyn Street — I’m not sure they fell in love with him straight away!”

“Once a man asked me to make a perfume that would make women fall in love with him..."

For Nicola, though, the scent has to be a reflection of the wearer above all else. “The power of scent is all about preference — so it really should translate who you are rather than thinking only of what other people will like.”  

Perfumes as personality tests…

Whilst a perfume can never be prescriptive, we wondered whether there were certain scents which indicated certain personality traits? “There are scents that we tend to see in certain ways,” Nicola explains, “for example, passion would normally translate into a fragrance with a woody oriental nature.”

What’s in a scent: How bespoke perfumers bottle personalities
Interiors at the Floris shop on Jermyn Street

And, with a growing trend for grooming and cosmetic products to ditch any gendered labelling, can perfumes really be categorised into male and female preferences?  Nicola says, “ typically, floral scents are considered more feminine and woody ones more masculine.

However, more and more women nowadays are attracted by more masculine scents. In the end, it always comes back down to personal preference and self-expression.”

What’s in a scent: How bespoke perfumers bottle personalities

Floris Bespoke Fragrance Customisation

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