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Wednesday 13 October 2010

Homemade London

I've mentioned Homemade London a couple of times over the last week and last night, I was invited to take part in their perfume making workshop. Making my own signature scent and pretending I'm Coco Chanel? Yes please!

Homemade London is a beautiful venue. They've had wallpaper made especially for them by design Ellie Popps and there's some very pretty touches around the venue.

But really, you all want to know about the perfume making, don't you? Our teacher Tanya let us sniff 20 different oils (all natural and organic) and it was so interesting to see what people liked and in same cases hated (lavender had the whole table divided). I've realised I lean towards light florals and citrus notes, but found myself warming to some of the spicier oils as well.

We picked our favourite of the base notes (headier and longer lasting), middle notes (the lingering smell of a perfume after it's warmed) and top notes (the initial smell of the scent). Once we'd done that, it was time to start making! Yay!

The making was actually really simple in theory. Drop little drops of oil into a beaker, sniff, add some more stuff! After a while you could tell what was lacking, and Tanya was so helpful with suggesting how to get the scent you wanted (there's cardamom in one of my perfumes, even though I don't like the smell on it's own). It's clear that sometimes the essence of what you're trying to create can be achieved through mixing to unexpected oils together, even if you're not fond of them individually.

I had such a fun evening with a bunch of friendly ladies, making nice smellies, and eating lovely snacks (posh bread and cheese and bubbly, thank you very much). Nicola is so passionate about her business and she's created a lovely venue in gorgeous Seymour Place. If all of the teachers are as knowledgable and enthusiastic as Tanya, Homemade London's classes going to be sold out very quickly. They've only been open a month and they're already getting very busy!

I took two perfumes home with me, one perfect for the evening, and another lighter fragrance as well. The class is three hours long, but it did run over (not that we were in a hurry to leave) and it's worth the £99. I had a lovely evening, met interesting women and came home with goodies personal to me. I have scent I like that no one else will ever have and that's really special.

What do the Domestic Sluts smell like (aside from Gin and regret)? Well this one smells of jasmine today, with a little bit of spicy cardamom in the background. My perfume is different this morning now that it's settled, and I'm not entirely sure about the top notes. But, after a few minutes it settles and now I keep sniffing my wrist. It's hard to type while you're doing that. I look silly. Happy though. I had a great night.

Homemade London is at 21 Seymour Place, just a few minutes from Marble Arch tube station. The perfume class is £99, but Nicola kindly invited us along as her guests. I'm already looking at the other courses to decide what I want to do next. Shop front and perfume bottle images courtesy of Handmade London. The rest were taken by yours truly.


  1. That is the tea cup of my dreams!!!

  2. I would love to do something like this, I desperately want to understand the 'notes' in perfumes. I am so pathetic and 'smell-sensitive' (aware that's odd phrasing!) that nobody can buy perfume for me, the majority of female perfumes give me a terrible headache. For some reason, I can wear aftershave/cologne all day and not end up wanting to scrub myself clean...I don't know what it is. But safe to say if I don't want to smell like a boy all the time (a pretty smelling boy I have to admit) then I need to really learn which feminine scents I can tolerate and which I can't. This seems like a fun way to do that :) Thanks for sharing! x

  3. Perhaps they should put the scent on boys so we can smell them instead?

    Really though, I think this would be perfect for you, Poppy. The base notes are woody and heavy and a couple of the girls in the class concentrated a lot on these so would have had something really deep and musky. Mine's a bit like that, but flowery as well. You make two, so you can try one or the other . Even if you choose the same oils as someone else, you'll inevitably end up with something totally different and personal to you.

  4. This looks brilliant! A really interesting experience and, as you said, the chance to create an ideal, personal scent.

    It did, however, make me think of 'Perfume' by Patrick Suskind. A brilliant book, which is, in essence(!) all about smell.

  5. I would love to do a perfume course - a colleague of mine did one as a corporate evening and really enjoyed it. I was horrified at the price of the other courses at this place though. I promise you I don't work there - but I've done a number of courses at "The Make Lounge" in Islington - infinately good value and seriously good fun!

  6. We've done several courses at the Make Lounge too! But having done both, we can see that they're different. These might be more expensive, but I think they're worth paying for. I really like the Make Lounge, but I was careful not to compare the two - they're two different venues offering rather different things.

  7. Interesting! I'm actually a scientist in the fragrance industry so this was quite interesting to me. It's a complicated business - perfumers take about ten years to fully train and have an olfactive memory of hundreds and hundreds of scents!It's interesting to note as well that when a cheaper brand want to copy a more expensive scent they will just copy the top notes...


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