Creating a signature scent? It’s emotional
Don't suffer the smell of Gwyneth Paltrow's orgasm. Say yes, yes YES to creating your signature scent at a Home Fragrance workshop where memories are literally bottled.
Is it even autumn if you’re not lighting scented candles all over your home? Er, no. But what is about an intoxicating room fragrance that has us spending more than £2bn a year on them? Yup, us Brits are well and truly sold on little mood-boosting bundles of joy, that help us relax whether it’s in the bath, by the fire or for a wellbeing shot during the working day.
But with so many fragrances to choose, where do you even begin when it comes to finding a fragrance that is as personal to you as the one you wear on your body? How about channeling your inner Jo Malone and creating your own signature scent?
Natural perfumer, HUMOS is a stunning atelier and showroom on Church Street in Caversham, selling HUMOS fragrance combos, but also a lovely spot for a workshops to help you create a scent that is personal to you – be it a perfume, scented candle or room diffuser.
Scent designer Gabriel De Carvalho is the magician behind HUMOS – an English artisan English artisan brand, built around a passion for natural essential oils and the power they have to heal the mind and body. Using his collection of 280 different essential oils from all over the world, he has created his own 24 fragrances, is often commissioned to create bespoke fragrances and will guide you to create your own at his stunning Blend Bar.
Gabriel works with individual or small groups which in the current climate – whereby all fun happens in parties of six or less – works rather nicely. The space is like a mini beauty hall – pristine white, black decor details with light bouncing off the glass, crystal and metallic finishes of some of the products. It’s got a modern day apothecary vibe, with its wall of essential oil votives on display. The workshop lasts for 90mins to two hours, and rather surprisingly, it’s about to get personal.
Scents and sensibility
Its all about you, so Gabriel starts by asking a little bit about your life and background before going to his wall of sensory wonder. There he chooses all the aromas thinks you’ll like. First impressions count, so the labels face away – your job is to sniff and decide if you love it, or loathe it. You start by choosing your base, then the heart, finishing with a top note. The middle layer is where the perfume party happens. In each edit, you put your favourites in order.
The Scent Designer then determines how much of each scent will work in harmony together. So drop after drop is mixed into a glass tube and once your happy with the blend, alcohol is added to give your the quantity for your room diffuser.
What did I learn? I was drawn to smells that remind me of home. I grew in by the sea and it is still my go-to place to unwind – Ocean Sea Breeze was in. Sweet Fig, Bluebell and woodland aromas featured heavily, reflecting where I live right now. But it was the smells that reminded me of loved ones past and present that really hit a nerve. I picking up tobacco and leather. It could be a misspent youth partying in the bars of Soho, but I suspect it was more a reminder of my beloved granny (she smoked 60-a-day) and leather smelt like Mr M. He’s not a leather trousers kinda guy, but it smelt just like his aftershave. Jeez, throw in the sweetness of caramel and the freshness of tomato leaf (a whiff of my two boys) it becomes blinking emotional.
A lifetime of memories, bundled into one little glass vessel. My office now has its own unique This Is Your Life fragrance – and I love it. If you’re getting married, organising a girls’ get-together or want to give someone a truly personal gift, it’s one of the best couple of hours I have spent doing a workshop. Plus your blend is kept on file, so refill forever.
Good for: For anyone looking for an experience that is as personal as it gets without taking your clothes off. Weddings, parties, girlies get togethers – all those occasions when you want to bottle the joy. Now you can.
Not so good for: Well, if you don’t like walking into a cloud of fragrance, then this is not going to be your bag. But I promise you, it won’t trigger the Lush gag reflex.
££: The Home Fragrance Workshop is £110pp, additional guests £60pp – includes all materials, drinks, your own Room Diffuser to take home. The Candle-making Workshop is £90pp.