What Are Bespoke Perfumes And How Do You Get One?

Offering a sense of majesty, mystery, and often luxury, perfume comes in many scents meant to attach themselves to you, your home, or some of your personal belongings. Historically, perfume was a symbol of nobility as they were often used in ceremonial or ritualistic settings. Mesopotamians are one of the first known civilizations to have used a form of perfume known as incense about 4,000 thousand years ago. Many other ancient cultures burned wood or resin in religious rituals until an Egyptian priest made it widely available for the public's use. Perfumes were then used to symbolize cleanliness, as many Egyptians soaked in baths with their favorite fragrance oils. As it evolved, the Greeks were the first to introduce liquid perfume, and Arabians were the first to distill it to make it what it is today (via McGill).

A good perfume is at the center of luxury, with brands like Chanel, Dior, Versace, and more high-end companies creating their signature fragrances. Many people like to use perfume for an elevated experience and to promote confidence or to connect a memory to it. And like many other luxury experiences, perfume can now be custom created using your favorite smells. "It's like when you request an artist to create a painting or sculpture for you — you're working with the artist on a piece of art," perfumer Ben Krigler tells InStyle. Known as bespoke perfume, it is a careful process of custom-curating a fragrance to your liking.

What is a bespoke perfume?

Dictionary defines "bespoke" as "made to individual order" and "custom-made." This personal touch can also be found in bespoke suits, wedding gowns, clothing, or furniture. Now, bespoke has taken a step further as it enters the fragrance industry. A bespoke perfume is a scent handcrafted to order, made with your specifications and desires taken into account to create your own personal signature scent (via Floris).

When it comes to bespoke perfume, people who choose to go this route are looking for something that distinguishes them and what makes them a unique individual. "Personalized, customized fragrances are growing because everyone wants to reflect their individuality," fragrance expert Sue Phillips tells Sotheby's International Realty. Phillips goes on to explain that she looks at the individual as a whole, observing the clues offered by their outfits, the colors they wear, their gestures, and their vocabulary. "My mission is to create magical fragrances and experiences for people, drop by drop," she adds. Aside from a personal scent, you may also receive a personal, private experience once you find somewhere to get your custom perfume.

How to get one

If you're interested in getting a bespoke perfume made for you, you'll need to look for perfumeries that offer this personal route, particularly perfume workshops. When you approach a perfumery or a custom perfumer, you will likely be invited into a personal experience. Some perfume creators prefer to get to know you on a deeper level to get a better sense of what kind of custom fragrance you are seeking. Because of this kind of commitment, the process from start to finish can be lengthy and requires some patience.

Perfumer Ben Krigler tells InStyle that he starts with the Proust Questionnaire for a deeper dive into someone's personality. Other perfumers begin with a similar approach with forms to fill out detailing one's favorite scents, ingredients, references, and more. "The first session lasts for several hours and is typically followed by subsequent meetings over the next few months that set the plans and inspire the process," Krigler tells InStyle. "To write a brief to capture specific moments, I may travel for amenities, ingredients, and/or space-inspired projects." Then, he continues to meet with clients over the course of several months to really narrow down a smell they like.

Additionally, the process can be expensive depending on where you go to get your custom perfume created. On the higher luxury end of things, Krigler tells InStyle that he once completed a custom fragrance project worth $250,000. Floris London's pricing for a custom fragrance starts at about $5,900. A bespoke perfumer will work with you to make sure they are getting every detail they can to make sure it's the perfect perfume for you.