Smell is perhaps the oldest and most powerful of our five senses. And, unlike the others, our nose isn’t linked directly to our brain’s thalamus, its processing centre, but instead to the amygdala and hippocampus, areas associated with memory and emotion. This is why perfume can be uncannily evocative – and why it can awaken long forgotten memories.
Floris London’s bespoke service was created to do just this. Helmed by expert bespoke perfumery team of Penny Ellis and Nicola Pozzani, it allows its customers to create their own utterly unique fragrances, and capture in scent their most important memories.
“I’ve always loved perfume, ever since I was a Saturday girl selling it in a small chemist,” says Ellis, who then decided to combine her passion for fine fragrances with her love of chemistry, and become a perfumer. She’s been at Floris London for seven years now, guiding her customers through crafting their own bespoke fragrances. “It’s quite a perfecting job; a tiny drop really matters. So you need to have the rigour of science behind you.”
For Ellis, the best part about creating bespoke perfumes is the people she gets to meet, and the stories she gets to hear. “What my customers are looking to do is capture these memories and put them in a bottle,” she explains.
First, she sits down with them to discover the types of fragrance they love best, before discussing the memories the customer would like to recreate. Then comes the fun part: the building and layering of base notes, top notes and heart notes to uncover the perfume the customer has in their minds eye. “It’s completely collaborative,” says Ellis. “As it’s their memories I need them to do the creation for me. I just guide them through it.”
Once the customer is happy with their unique fragrance, Ellis uses her expertise to blend and bottle it,storing the recipe in the Floris ledgers. “I always look forward to customers telling me what they want to call their fragrance,” says Ellis. “It’s the final step on the way to capturing their memories in a small glass perfume bottle, to be kept safe forever.”