Heaven scent: we try Penhaligon’s bespoke perfumes

By Rachel Ingram | 17 Aug 2017 | Style

Tempus explores the scent-sational new way to create a perfume that’s as unique as you

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The perfect perfume is the finishing touch to any lady’s outfit and should be considered just as important as her accessories, if not more so. Just as a tailor sculpts an outfit to the natural curves of a patron’s body, leading perfumeries in London are working with clients to select notes that work with their skin and blend a bespoke and highly personal scent just for them.

One such boutique is Penhaligon’s, located in Harrods recently- extended Salon de Perfumes. Here, the luxury perfumer offers two excellent fragrance-making experiences: semi-bespoke and bespoke. The nose behind the semi-bespoke concept is Fabrice Pellegrin, one of France’s greatest master perfumers. To Pellegrin, the intricate art of perfume making runs in his blood.

“My father was a perfumer; my grandmother a beloved jasmine picker and my grandfather a supplier of naturals for perfumery. My craft is a true family story. Naturals hold no secrets from me as I grew up surrounded by their precious scents. It is no surprise that my sense of smell is particularly developed as I never stopped training it from my earliest age.”

Pellegrin has a way of capturing emotion in scent that is unrivalled. “Most women need to feel self-confident in the fragrance they wear; it involves a lot of emotions to find the scent that brings inner pleasure. When I design a feminine fragrance I always imagine a woman and which attributes I am about to highlight. My main objective is to focus on enhancing her natural beauty so she feels more seductive.”

Penhaligon’s semi-bespoke service starts with a private consultation at Salon de Parfums during which Pellegrin works with clients to define their olfactive personality, based on their tastes and expectations. Customers then choose one of the four exclusive bases – Chypre, Wood, Amber and Oriental – and one Essences Signature – options include Iris, Oud, Rose and Santal – which are blended to craft the final customised blend.

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Pellegrin says: “As they first choose the base, we have a discussion that will enable me to best define their olfactive personality. This is all is about the fragrances they used to wear, the ingredients they prefer, what they expect from the fragrance... Then I will suggest which Essence should best customise the fragrance. Each one can be combined with any one of the four natural ingredients selected to beautifully complete the composition and be the perfect fragrance for each client to showcase her personality and build her own unique fragrance.”

The fragrance is then presented in a customised 100ml bottle, featuring personalised engraving and a choice of bows. It’s perfect for those who are accustomed to a bespoke way of life but are also short on time, because customers are able to take it away with them that day. For those who have the luxury of time, Penhaligon’s also offers a ‘bespoke’ option. Created by world-renowned master perfumer

“The made-to-measure programme is a six-month-long process which includes four meetings and myriad tests to make sure the final scent is the perfect fit for the client,” Pellegrin explained. “At the beginning of the creative process, master perfumer Alberto Morillas’s first encounter with the client will help unveiling her personality. That becomes the key to unlocking the olfactive universe. The initial request includes a detailed profile featuring her character and lifestyle, her specific expectations as well as her likes and dislikes in terms of olfactive drivers.”

Morillas then designs an initial proposal, which he presents to the client. Depending on their reaction, he continues to shape the idea and craft, over the course of several meetings, a refined recipe for their perfect scent. The final formula will then be exclusively copyrighted for the client and presented in crystal bottles with a luxury atomiser. If that’s not enough to make you convert from ready-made to tailored fragrances, we don’t know what will.