Had an amazing day visiting three perfume houses in London and talking to the experts.
First stop was the Salon de Parfums which is on the 6th floor of Harrods. Very exclusive, but on explaining my mission the Maitre de Consultation of Roja Dove perfumes, Benjamin Paul Mabbett, generously took me through the process of selecting a personal perfume. It was quite a revelation when – with his guidance – I could actually smell the different notes and layers.
Amazing perfumes, all made of authentic ingredients but sadly beyond the means of the average writer starting at around £375 – perhaps one day!
Still in the Harrod’s Salon de Parfums – next stop was the Guerlain salon where manager, Ange Skopatie, showed me the extraordinary and beautiful products favoured by clients from the Middle East (costing up to £38,000!) and told me some of the stories behind the fragrances.
The House of Guerlain is one of the oldest French fragrance houses and recently celebrated the 160th anniversary of their ‘bee bottle’ originally designed as a gilded bottle covered with Napoleonic bees for the emperor’s wife Eugénie in 1853.
A quick trip up to Mayfair to the flagship Floris shop which has been at 89 Jermyn Street since 1730 and is still owned by the same family. Perfumes were originally manufactured in the basement of this building – known as ‘The Mine’ -but this part of the operation has since moved to Devon.
Sales Assistant Pierre Bonvalot kindly showed me the consultation room in the back of the shop which has barely changed over the centuries. Floris was first awarded a Royal Warrant in 1821 and this is where the aristocracy of England, including royalty, still come today to have their bespoke perfume created.