Dating back to 1730, Floris is one of London’s most cherished perfume houses. So loved, that they even count the Queen of England as one of their clients. Offering unique bespoke services and classic scents, the 9th generation and Director of Floris, Edward Bodenham talks us through the history, present, and future of the brand.
Could you share with us a brief history of Floris?
Our company was founded in 1730 by my ancestor, Juan Famenias Floris who extensively studied perfumery before meeting his wife Elizabeth in the St James’s area of London. Together they bought their house at 89 Jermyn Street which soon became their shop and perfumery and gained a reputation for its selection of fine fragrances. Before long, word spread, the British Royal Family began wearing our fragrances and we were honored to receive our first Royal Warrant in 1800 from the His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales and later from His Majesty King George IV in 1820. Since then we have received 17 Royal Warrants and are today the only Appointed Perfumer to Her Majesty The Queen and also hold a Warrant to His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales.
The original shop at 89 Jermyn Street is still very much the heart and home of our family company and it is where we still work from and create all of our fragrances, including a Bespoke Perfumery Service. Each generation of my family has taught their craft to the next generation from our treasured original formula books, and we have a collection of fragrances dating back to the earliest days but are always adding to our collection with newly inspired compositions.
Did you always want to be part of the family business?
Yes, it has always felt like a very natural progression. I have always felt immensely proud to be part of the family business and to have the opportunity to take the reins and introduce our fragrances, our stories and our brand to the next generation of customers. I have such wonderfully fond memories of visiting the shop from a young age so it is very nostalgic for me to work with the scents that I have grown up with for my entire life and which are a bit like old friends to me. It is very important for me to look after those nostalgic scents, but it is also very exciting to be able to add new fragrances to the collection which will hopefully become future classics for many generations to come.
Why is heritage so important to Floris?
Our heritage is so important to us as it influences and shapes all the decisions and creations that we work on directly or indirectly. Our entire collection of fragrances and the ethos of the company is built on and shaped by our heritage so it something that we are immensely proud of and hold great respect for as we move forward into the next generation.
How has it managed to stand the test of time?
We are an independent family company without large corporate advertising budgets, so we have always relied on the quality of our fragrances and products and on our customers to spread the good word of Floris. Many of our customers have grown up with Floris and have a strong nostalgic and emotional connection to our fragrances, so there is a certain comfort in wearing a fragrance that you have known and loved for many years and you can rely on to be around for many years to come. There is also something reassuring about wearing fragrances from a perfumery that has stood the test of time for so many years, especially in these ever-changing times when brands often come and go very quickly.
How are Floris creations unique?
Our creations are all created by myself and our perfumery team at 89 Jermyn Street, where, we have been blending fragrances since 1730 in our unique artisanal way using traditional methods. I strongly feel that because we continue to compose the fragrances in the same atmosphere and the same surroundings in which they have always been created, there is a certain energy or magic that goes into each creation and makes it uniquely a Floris scent.
What are some of the most iconic scents from Floris?
We have many iconic scents simply because we have fragrances in our range dating back to the 1700s spanning the centuries up to the present day. One of our most iconic scents is called No.89 which is named after the number of our shop and perfumery in Jermyn Street. It was a fragrance that my grandfather created in 1951 and was worn by James Bond creator, Ian Fleming. It is still extremely popular today.
Another iconic fragrance is Honey Oud which was created in 2012 and it was the first time in nearly 300 years that we had worked with the raw material ‘oud’. We wanted to give the exotic ‘oud’ a British twist with a prominent English honey and rose note. White Rose is one of our most popular iconic fragrances as well, dating back to the early 1800s and is very typically English in its classical style of composition.
What inspires you when creating new blends?
For me, the initial inspiration for a new scent is sparked by a strong emotion. It can be an image in my mind or more often a memorable and moving experience. Traveling and experiencing new environments and cultures I find very inspiring.
What is your best-selling fragrance in the region?
Our best-selling fragrance in the region is Honey Oud. Cherry Blossom and Leather Oud are also very popular in the region.
Which of your standing fragrances would most remind you of Arabia?
Cherry Blossom most reminds me of Arabia because it is the fragrance that was a favorite with many of the customers that I spoke to, which meant that I was smelling the scent in the air for much of my visit, and when I smell it now it vividly brings back to me, the memory of where I was and the people that I met.
What is your favorite scent?
My favorite scent overall is Elite, as it has such a perfect, but complex balance of citrus, aromatic, mossy and woody notes. It is also the fragrance that my grandfather used to wear so it has a strong nostalgic connection for me. I also regularly wear our fragrance Jermyn Street as it has a lovely balance of being refreshing with notes of bergamot, lemon, lime, and juniper, but also has the depth of warm vetiver and musk so it is perfect to wear for all seasons and for any time of day.