Pleasure / January 2018

How Floris London Blossomed on Jermyn Street

One of the oldest merchants on Jermyn Street, Floris fragrances are synonymous with gentlemen of taste, from Winston Churchill to James Bond.

Floris is Britain's oldest perfumer.

Given the dominance of the fragrance market by designer brands and celebrity names - and its MO of pumping out products, giving them a matter of weeks on the shelves to either sink or swim - it’s easy to forget that there are both makers and fragrances that have kept their course and ploughed their perfumed niche for centuries. And that’s literally: as Edward Bodenham notes, with some awe, he's the ninth generation head of a family firm that was founded in 1730. That makes Floris Britain’s oldest perfumer, and a stalwart of the same spot on London’s Jermyn Street for all that time.

“Despite the feminine name, Floris came to be seen as more masculine because of the gentlemen who inhabited the area, back when it was all coffee houses and gentlemen’s clubs,” argues Bodenham, “even if they ended up wanting something to take home to their wife in the country.”

Not that Floris - inevitably, given its longevity - is short with its roll-call of the great and good who have dabbed their jowls with a splash of their fragrance: yes, Mary Shelley, Eva Peron and - despite the claimed attachment to Chanel No. 5 - Marilyn Monroe were fans, but so were Beau Brummell, Winston Churchill and Ian Fleming - he favoured Floris No. 89, named after its Jermyn Street address - which is why his literary creation James Bond also favoured it. “And let’s just say that at first my boys didn’t think it was so cool that their dad worked for a perfumer,” Bodenham notes. “I had to tell them that the man who wrote the James Bond books wore it before they started to change their minds…”

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Josh Sims

Josh Sims is a writer on menswear, design and much else for the likes of Wallpaper, CNN, Robb Report and The Times. He's the author of several books on menswear, the latest 'The Details', published by Laurence King. He lives in London, has two small children and is permanently exhausted.