Creating My First Bespoke Perfume

Fleurage Perfume Atelier

Several months ago, I was binge-watching videos on YouTube when I came across a vlog by Lily Pebbles. She vlogged her experience on creating her bespoke perfume at a perfume atelier in London and I thought to myself, “I wonder if there are any perfumaries in Melbourne that feature bespoke perfumes?” After a quick search on Google, I discovered Fleurage Perfume Atelier. It was located at South Melbourne which is really near the Melbourne CBD. I had a feeling the experience is best shared with a girlfriend and I asked LeGeeque if she wanted to come along as well. LeGeeque adores perfume and very quickly (and enthusiastically too, I might add!) said yes.

Our appointment was made and we waited in anticipation for the day to come. Now, I had no idea what it would be like at Fleurage since I’ve never heard of the place before. However, the reviews online were good and the photos were even better so I figured we’ll be all right.

It was more than all right. It was a bloody amazing experience.

Fleurage Perfume Atelier

It was a 2-hour workshop at Fleurage. Emma, who was the master perfumer, gave us a lesson on the different top notes, heart notes and base notes that form a perfume. We had to answer a questionnaire that gave Emma an idea on what we’re like. She didn’t just ask us what our favourite perfumes were; she asked us what our favourites types of scents were, favourite colours, favourite food and what our personalities were like. All these told a story on what our ideal perfume could be.

Fleurage Perfume Atelier

LeGeeque and I have very opposite tastes in fragrances. For me, I’m all for fresh and light scents. I can’t stand anything heady, musky or too warm. I don’t wear different perfumes in summer or winter. She loves the scent of warm leather and wears different perfumes for different seasons. Our differences in perfumes made the bespoke perfume experience even more fun because we were creating fragrances that were complete opposites of each other.

I led Emma on a secret. Well, it wouldn’t be a secret any more since I’m telling you now: I don’t like the Chanel No 5. I love reading the history of the perfume and how it became the highest selling fragrance in the world (to date, it still is). But the actual fragrance? I really don’t like it. It’s too heavy for me and yet, it seems almost blasphemous to say how much I disliked the perfume. Emma reassured me as she admitted that a lot of women don’t like it either. In fact, only 10% of women can actually wear the perfume well. Chanel No 5 is something a lot of parents buy for their daughters for their coming of age because Chanel No 5 is a scent of a woman, not a girl. It’s unfortunate that only a small percentage can wear that perfume well.

Fleurage Scent Composition Wheel

We tested about 100 fragrance oils from the Fougere and Floral categories to the Oriental and Chypre categories. My style and preference were mostly Fresh Herb Fougere and Marine Aldehyde Chypre with notes of lemon herb, metallic, sea forest, seaweed and so on. After selecting the fragrance oils that we liked, it was time for Emma to formulate a fragrance structure for us. As we’d need to wait for her to work her magic, she sent us to a nearby cafe with complimentary coffee/tea and muffin. It was a lovely touch to the service which we really appreciated.

A half hour later, we went back to the perfume atelier and it was time for us to create our perfume. Emma showed us the structure of our perfumes, where the base notes would be, how the top notes would complement the heart of the fragrance and how the heart of the fragrance would tie it all together. With our formula sheet that was created by Emma, we started adding specific drops of fragrance oils into the bottle. We started with the base notes and when we were done with that, Emma checked each one and had us test the base notes out to see if we liked it. If not, some changes had to be made to the formula.

Fleurage Perfume Atelier

The structure of my perfume

In each step of the process, from creating the base notes to the heart notes to the top notes, we stopped to test the fragrance. To me, my base notes smelled the best of the 3 notes and I was very happy with that as those were the notes that linger longest on the skin. After we’ve completed all 3 notes, Emma added some other ingredients into the perfume (I forgot to check what they were) and voila! Our bespoke perfumes were created. The problem was, we couldn’t use the perfume right away but had to wait 24 hours for the base notes to rise to the heart and for the top notes to sink to the bottom. Man, those 24 hours of waiting time was tough!

All in all, the bespoke perfume experience was absolutely fantastic. LeGeeque and I had a smashing time and I really cannot recommend Emma and Fleurage enough. She’s highly knowledgeable, was really friendly and was more than happy to answer any questions we had.

The bespoke perfume experience wasn’t a cheap one. We paid AU$250.00 per person for the 2 hour workshop and we also took home a 40ml bottle of the perfume we created (along with a small glass atomiser and funnel for decanting). For me, it was worth every cent for the time LeGeeque and I spent together and the things we learned about perfume creation. And we’d only just scraped the surface!

Fleurage Bespoke Perfume

As for my perfume, it turned out to be absolutely perfect. It’s very me. It’s fresh and light, just the way I like it. LeGeeque’s perfume is far more complex than mine and smells wonderful as well. Each perfume comes with a small metal sheet that allows us to engrave the name of our perfumes. Mine shall be engraved “Christine“. 🙂

If you haven’t had a bespoke perfume experience before, I highly, highly recommend it. Make it a girl’s day out with your girlfriend(s). If you’re a perfume lover, you won’t regret it.

Fleurage Perfume Atelier
280 Park Street
South Melbourne
VIC 3205
Tel: (03) 9036 0326

Have you experienced making your own perfume?

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22 comments… add one
  1. Kate from Seduced by Beauty

    I can’t believe I am reading this post this week as I have just booked in to a perfume making class! I am going with a girlfriend at the beginning of March. I am really excited now after reading of your experience. Enjoy your beautiful perfume xx
    Kate from Seduced by Beauty recently posted..Best of 2014– Part 1 Skin/Nails/Body/Hair/FragranceMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Oh you’re going to love the experience Kate! Remember to ask lots and lots of questions; it’s a great time to know more about perfumes, especially your favourite ones. I didn’t wear any perfume to the class because I thought I’d get to wear the perfume right away but I ended up having to wait 24 hours before I could use it. I don’t know how your class would be but just in case you can use your perfume right away, I’d suggest going scent-free on that day.
      Have fun! Oh, and blog about it! 😀

  2. Kat Ness

    It sounded like an amazing experience! I think I would get a headache smelling all those scents haha.
    Kat Ness recently posted..Eyes For The Chocolate BarMy Profile

    1. Tine

      I thought I would too but it turned out, not at all. It’s not like a LUSH store. 😛
      We had a jar of coffee beans each to dull and reset our smelling senses back whenever we started smelling far too many scents. It worked a treat and it also prevented headaches. The scents from each fragrance oil are actually not as strong as you’d think. You can only smell it if you unscrew the dropper cap and stick your nose very near the opening.

  3. Allison

    Oh, Tine, I’m so jealous! What a wonderful experience! I would love to do something like that one day. I know there are bespoke perfumeries in NYC but the one that I read about in the New York Times costs thousands to create a perfume for you. I prefer your experience where you learned about how to create a perfume and helped create your own. Just for fun, I must see if there’s anything like this in boring old Boston! Enjoy your creation!! I wish I could smell your friend’s fragrance since I’m a big scent kinda gal too.
    Allison recently posted..Fresh Start ipsy Glam Bag January 2015My Profile

    1. LeGeeque

      Hi Allison, to be honest, I’m not a big scent kind of girl so it came as a fascinating surprise that I picked the heady notes! Part of me blames the partially-cool summery day we had.

      I do wish I could share my perfume with you over the interwebs! I mean, it’s 2015, for crying out loud, how is this still not remotely possible?! 😛

      If I could paint a picture of my scent, I’d describe it as being warm and cosy wrapped up in your favourite merino-cashmere-silk stole, holding a piping hot mug of coffee and browsing old leather-bounds in your favourite old bookstore. It’s a little secret bookstore that only you and a few select few know; it feels like coming home each time you step in. Other days, my little scent reminds of me a grumpy old woman – aka yours truly. I’ve described it to a few people and most have laughed and agreed with me 🙂

      I’m a big leather note sort of girl especially on cooler days. My favourite is Kelly Caleche (floral-leather) by Jean-Claude Ellena. It’s copped quite a lot of flak from many perfume blogs but like the Chanel #5, I think I’m one of the select few in the world who can wear it and wear it well. I’ve received compliments from complete strangers while I was wandering the streets. Unfortunately, no cute guy has ever stopped me telling me I smell (or look!) beautiful 😛 Nice women, did, though 😀

    2. Tine

      Haha what LeGeeque said! Mine is very, very different to hers; it’s a lot lighter and fresher.
      Oh my goodness, thousands??? :O Do you reckon those are for super fancy and detailed fragrance makers? We were just given 100 fragrance oils to sift through but the master perfumer has a minimum of 300 to work with at one go. Hopefully you’ll be able to find an affordable one. I definitely wouldn’t be able to go for this if it cost thousands. Heck, I was already uhm-ing and ahm-ing at AU$250!

  4. Jessica

    This looks like so much fun! And what a great idea for a lady-date 🙂
    Jessica recently posted..Top 3 Sick Day Skincare Must HavesMy Profile

    1. Tine

      I know right? High teas and all that are so last season; let’s have a perfume-making date instead! Hee hee! 😛

  5. Paris B

    Now this sounds like something I’d love! Not that crazily into fragrances, but I kind of know what I like. Interestingly, I’ve found my preferences changing in recent weeks. I don’t know if it’s to do with my mood, or what’s happening, but I seem to be moving away from my warm, spicy preferences and looking at something lighter or even a touch more floral. It puzzles me, but it opens up a brand new perfume world for me and that makes me happy! 😀
    Paris B recently posted..Should I use a cleansing oil or cleansing balm? Some tips on which to pickMy Profile

    1. Tine

      I think you will LOVE this. Hopefully you do come visit this year. If you do, you, me and Geek can go again! 😀

  6. Michelle (Lab Muffin)

    That sounds like an ah-MAH-zing experience! I’m starting to get bored with mass market perfumes, bespoke perfumes sound like something I’ll have to look into soon…
    Michelle (Lab Muffin) recently posted..What products are good for sensitive skin?My Profile

    1. Tine

      Oh it was amazing all right. I’m with you; I’m a tad bored of mass market perfumes too. You’d love one created just for you and by you! 🙂

  7. Ash

    This sounds absolutely incredible! I’d love to give this a go, it’s definitely going on my to-do list!
    Ash recently posted..January FavouritesMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Oh you have to, you’ll really enjoy it! Make it a lady date with your girlfriend(s)! 😀

  8. Me my best and I

    amazing – have always wanted to do this so bad. Youll have to let me smell this sometime!!!

    1. Tine

      Not a problem! 😀 You definitely should; it’s so much fun!

  9. Joyce (bronzerbunny)

    i’ve always wanted to do something like this 🙂 But don’t really *need* to hehe. I also saw some interesting kits where you could blend your own, at fred segal and space nk, that look interesting as well!
    Joyce (bronzerbunny) recently posted..The Makeup Addict Tag!My Profile

    1. Tine

      Oooh there are kits like that? I had no idea! But I reckon it’s more fun to go to a proper perfume atelier with your girlfriends and have a jolly time together. 😛

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