The Remix: Exploring the rise of bespoke fragrance

The new niche.

[R]ear Window. That’s what I named my new perfume last week. Yes, my very own scent – an Emma Firth special. I have to admit I was a bit apprehensive before my workshop with the Experimental Perfume Club (which offers apprentice and expert masterclasses from its lab in east London). I’m something of a fragrance snob – I’ve worn Chanel Chance for the last five years (Coco Mademoiselle seven years previous to that). That’s one relationship – despite temptations – I wasn’t quite ready to let go of. Could I really join the custom-blend tribe?

After sniffing my way through a selection of perfumery accords (or blends) I made notes of each one – from first impressions (smells like a fresh spring morning or your granddad smoking a pipe) to olfactory notes. Next up, a Tinder-style rating occurs of each smell to find my “signature”. I’m drawn to the warm, oriental and woody scents. “It’s quite, er, sensual,” I giggle (explains eventual sexy Hitchcock film reference). I’m converted. I won’t be giving up Chanel altogether but this is a suitably me; a welcome addition to my beauty cupboard. The entire unique olfactory experience is also very fun and instructional.

“All sessions will carry an educational purpose,” Emmanuelle Moeglin, founder of Experimental Perfume Club, tells Hunger. “The one-to-one consultation with our perfumer focuses more on the creation of one’s bespoke fragrance whereas masterclasses are more about the learning process and the olfactory journey before creating a fragrance.” Bespoke beauty in the past has been too expensive to put most off, but with an hour and a half workshop for £95 it’s more accessible to the general public.

DIY perfume is being hailed as the ‘new niche’. Why the sudden surge of interest? “This is an interesting time for the perfume industry,” Moeglin says. “After years of domination by the big mainstream brands, niche brands have carved themselves out a growing territory –  to the point that niche is now no longer niche. Fragrance is one of the most personal beauty items and bespoke is the perfect answer to making a scent completely exclusive to someone.”


“There is a clear tendency to prefer deep, strong, sensual notes (such as woody, oriental and leathery) over brighter fresher notes such as citrus,” according to Moeglin “This may be explained by the fact that people want their fragrance to be noticed and be long lasting. Citrus and fresh scent is much less likely to stay long and make a significant impact on your surrounding. This also correlates with the trends for oud and big woody and oriental fragrance within the mainstream market.”

“Floral notes are still a must for most people,” she adds. “But what’s interesting is to see men not being shy anymore to use rose and jasmine in their fragrances. But we’ve also noticed that people’s creations change from one season to the other.”

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