Interview: Edward Bodenham

Since 1730, London’s premier perfumers, Floris, have been a consistent name in the world of luxury fragrances. Still family owned today, Floris continue to prosper as pioneers of British luxury. We chatted to Edward Bodenham, Director and great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandson of founder Juan Floris about all things Floris.

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Had you always wanted to be part of the family business?

Yes, it definitely felt like a natural progression to go into the family business and I have grown up with visiting my father and grandfather here as a child and remember all these wonderful smells wafting through the building, so there is something very nostalgic working with many of them still. It inspires me and my generation of the family to create what we hope will be future classics to appeal to many generations to come.

What makes Floris unique?

Our original shop and offices at 89 Jermyn Street used to be the family home in the earlier days of Floris and very little has changed there since when it was first occupied by my distant grandfather and grandmother back in 1730. Displayed above our shop front is the original Royal Warrant from King George IV from 1820.

As the business and the expertise has been carefully handed down through the generations we are fortunate enough to have retained all our original formula and reference books dating back to the 1700s. This enables us to continue to recreate many of our original fragrances like Limes, originally created to combat the heat and bad smells of Summer in the 1700s in London, as well as providing a source of inspiration for future fragrances to a new generation of Floris customers.

Over the years we have provided fragrances for many well-known names past and present such as Winston Churchill, Marilyn Monroe, Eva Peron, Benedict Cumberbatch and Ian Fleming. Also we are unique by being the oldest independent family run perfumer’s in the world and the only Appointed Perfumer to Her Majesty The Queen.

Finally the fact that the business is still owned solely by the family without outside influence allows us to retain our autonomy to do what is right for the future of Floris.

How have Floris’ men’s fragrances developed over the years?

I think that our men’s fragrances from the past are wonderful creations, and each creation stands alone in its own right. As the years have passed and new techniques of capturing scent are discovered, new raw materials are now available to a perfumer so our more recent men’s fragrances have experimented with some of these and have become more complex, like Bergamotto Positano which has a delicate marine note which brings to mind the scent of sea air. Also our Santal fragrance contains a fresh green grass note which was something newly available at the time.

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 What is your favourite fragrance and the one you wear most often?

The Floris fragrance I most love is one that I grew up with as it was launched in the 1970s and it reminds me of the scent that I would smell on my numerous visits to the shop as a boy to see my father and grandfather. The fragrance is called Elite, named after a Lotion Elite which we used to sell in the 1800s and is delicately citrus with rich notes of oakmoss, vetiver and cedarwood. It is a warm and comforting fragrance for me and one that is particularly nostalgic.

What’s next for Floris?

Our aims are to protect and nurture our brand but push forward with more confidence, more edge, more character and more reflection of our worth. We plan to be the leading perfumer in London to the world. We have seen a number of new product developments arrive in 2015 including our newly launched grooming range ‘The Gentleman Floris‘ which we are all very proud of. We plan to continue this next year with more launches into our Private Eau de Parfum fragrance collection as well as maintaining the positive work we’ve done with our bespoke service this year. We also have some exciting collaborations to look out for in the summer!

Would you ever open a boutique abroad, if so, where?

Floris is already available internationally through selected partnerships with niche retailers and high end department stores. We have a presence as far wide as Japan and South Korea and growing market across Europe. We are developing our US strategy closely. Floris has a strong following in New York which stems from the 1980’s when we had a boutique in New York. London is our home and true to everything we do, so it’s key for us that the soul of 89 Jermyn Street runs through everything we do both domestically and internationally.

Further Reading