Floris has a fragrant history reaching back to the 18th century, catering to fastidious Georgian fops and bewigged London beauties; yet perfumer Shelagh Foyle is continually on the scent of something new, both for Floris’s evolving range of fragrances and for her bespoke service.
From her charmingly antiquated wood-panelled room at the back of the shop on Jermyn Street, where the business was first started 280 years ago, Foyle offers two levels of bespoke perfume making. The first is a customised scent based on an existing fragrance, created during a 90-minute consultation during which Foyle works with the client to add different notes or subtly change a composition. This costs £120, and includes a 100ml bottle of eau de parfum, or cologne for a man (£80 for a repeat order).
For the full service, which costs £2,500, Foyle holds a series of lengthy meetings with the client, in which she demonstrates different notes and smells, and tries to “get a good feel” of who the client is. “There is no language of smell,” she explains, “so you have to find a way of communicating in the first instance – which is through analogies, usually.”
She has at her disposal some 3,000 ingredients, which she uses to create her initial ideas during a process that goes on for some six to eight weeks after the first meeting. Two or three options are made for the client to take away, wear and try for a while. Then Foyle develops one of the themes in more depth and detail to compose a unique perfume that complements the client’s personality and style.
The full bespoke service includes five repeat bottles (the iconic Floris frosted-glass 100ml fragrance spray bottle) and, for both levels, the client names the perfume.