Creating our own perfume was something neither Rina and I had ever tried, but were very interested in undertaking! I’d been on the market for a new perfume… so why not create my own signature scent myself? We sell a multitude of Create Your Own Perfume experiences, and the best bit is that they are located all over the country, from Edinburgh to Exeter! We opted for the London location, as it handily tied in with another visit that day. After a morning of Indoor Ice Climbing, we were more than ready to settle down and devour a delicious afternoon tea!
As we arrived at the Hilton in Kensington (just a 5-minute walk from Shepherd’s Bush underground, so easy links from wherever you’re travelling), we were welcomed by a large lobby and friendly receptionist. As our perfume making session didn’t start until 7pm, our Afternoon Tea took place prior to our session. For any afternoon sessions, afternoon tea will take place afterwards. We followed a concierge who saw us to our seats in the restaurant and asked if we had any allergies. After getting ourselves comfortable, a waitress appeared asking what we would like to drink. They had a wide range of teas and coffee available, so there should be something that takes everybody’s fancy. Rina is a herbal tea girl through and through, so opted for green tea. I fancied something a little heartier with our food so went for an earl grey. Promptly afterwards our teapots arrived along with some glasses of water with ice and lemon.
Our afternoon tea arrived, and we couldn’t wait to tuck in! It was very traditional, with three perfectly presented tiers starting with savoury at the bottom, and ending with sweet on top. Despite us wanting to dive straight in to the sweet treats available, we opted for the sandwiches first. The selection included coronation chicken in a brioche bun, ham and mustard, and cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches, as well as a delicious smoked salmon and spinach wrap. Next was our dessert plate, jam packed with every type of treat! This included fresh fruit tarts, a coffee chocolate mousse, macarons, and our own individual little Victoria sponge cakes. Finally, we moved onto my personal favourite tier: – SCONES! (Pronounced however you will…). Luckily, Rina and I both agreed on the correct way to build our scones: a generous helping of clotted cream to begin, topped off with a dollop of jam. I firmly believe that anybody who does this the other way around needs to be shown the light. There were two scones each, half fruit, half plain. Both equally delicious! Feeling suitably stuffed, it was now time for us to head to our perfume making.
Classes at the Hilton are held in their conference rooms. Whilst classes are more regularly held on Saturdays, they also do one Thursday evening a month in London. As we entered, we were met by two large round tables as well as a display of perfumes at the front of the room. We were welcomed by Somayeh and Miyako, our perfume stylist’s for the evening. We took our seats and were given a booklet titled ‘Your Bespoke Fragrance’, as well as being presented with a glass of bubbly! The tables were dressed with bottles of water for everybody and various small organza bags containing coffee beans – these were to smell as a palate cleanser between scents, as you inevitably go nose blind after a while! As the session began, Somayeh introduced herself and Miyako, as well as the perfume studio and its background. She let us know that we would be guided through a total of 21 different fragrance blends, beginning with base notes, then exploring middle notes, and ending with top notes. The process was simple, Miyako would hand out strips for each fragrance blend for us all to smell, whilst Somayeh would explain what the fragrance meant and what it says about you if you like it. As we moved through the different fragrances there was time to discuss our preferences, as well as us raising hands if we liked the scents or not. To help us make notes throughout, our bespoke fragrance booklets contained boxes with information about each scent to help with creating our own unique blends. This portion of the experience lasted roughly 45 minutes, and it was thoroughly enjoyable to be guided through many different fragrances by people who were knowledgeable and passionate about what they do. It was interesting to find how many thought to be unknown scents were familiar, reminding different people of different things. It was also intriguing how personal and subjective scent can be, as we found out one person’s number one favourite could be another’s absolute worst!
We finished smelling all 21 blends, and it was now time for the tricky bit – deciding which ones to use to create our own personal scent. As I can be rather indecisive at times, it was going to be a challenge! We were recommended to choose no more than six blends, in order to not go too crazy and have too much going on. For every perfume, we needed to have at least one base note. The base note provides a lasting scent, and, although you might not smell it at first, it will last the longest on you when worn. Middle notes provide the heart of the fragrance, dominating the top notes and complimenting the base. The top notes are the scents that first hit you when you apply a perfume. They are usually light, and the first to wear off. For some people, they wanted to go for majority base notes as they were their preferred over the range. I only opted for one in my fragrance as there were many more middle and top notes I favoured. Once we had chosen which blends we liked, we were told to hold them together, slightly fanned out, and waft gently in order to create the illusion of them being blended together. Somayeh even showed us how to create the effect of double and half measures of blends, by folding the smelling sticks in a particular way. When we had decided on which blends we wanted to put together to create our signature scent, we filled out the bespoke fragrance booklet and would hand these to our master perfumers, who were now seated at the front of the room ready to create our perfumes for us. All 21 blends were perfectly displayed in glass canisters with pipettes, and we watched as our fragrances came to life. Once blended, we were handed our perfume in a decorative gift box that included our perfume name. I rather uncreatively called mine ‘Charfume’, which upon reflection, sound a bit like a hazardous chemical disaster….
As we were on the ‘Platinum’ experience, we were leaving with a 20ml atomiser of our uniquely blended scent. There was a choice of colours for the atomisers, including black, white, red and blue. There was also the option to upgrade to a diamante bottle for £5, for those who really want to sparkle! For the ‘Gold’ experience, you receive a 5ml Mini atomiser, and for the ‘Diamond’ experience you receive a 30ml glass atomiser (which you can upgrade to on the day). To browse the full range of Perfume Studio experiences, you can click here. We were also given the option to leave our details, so that they could keep a record of our uniquely blended scent should we ever wish to revisit it. By keeping your details, they can create your exact scent again for you, and you can purchase your own fragrance online.
Rina and I both had a fantastic time with Somayeh and Miyako, they were both excellent at guiding the lesson and a lot of fun to be around. With venues all over the country, a Create Your Own Perfume experience makes a brilliant gift for friends or family. The sessions are relaxing, interesting and enjoyable, and you get to leave with a unique scent personal to you!