Clearing the air: Perfumer H


LONDON – Shrouded in the mystery of its name, Perfumer H cuts a minimal swathe in the clutter of today’s perfumery. Its first shop opened with a mellifluous whisper in London last year and has already garnered much attention for its free-spirited approach to scent. From the street, the in-house laboratory can be peeked behind the minimal charm of Fifties furniture, glinting brass and smoky glass. Here, you know that you’re in a perfumer’s laboratory at the first whiff of what coils within each bottle.

The brain-child of a mistress of the scents and senses, this brand taps into the essence – spirit and smells – of all things great and small in the British Isles. Two years were necessary for Perfumer H to emerge from the mind of Lyn Harris (who had created erstwhile cult Brit scents Miller Harris) and to give her the full headspace to delve into her favourite fount of inspiration. This willingness to step away from even the most gripping professional endeavour and start afresh has proven to be cathartic, and Perfumer H was born discreetly, as is its founder’s won’t.

In Perfumer H, Harris developed perfumes as a stroll through Britishness. Presented in artistically apothecary glass vials, each fragrance is destined to be delicately dabbed with the glass dipper stopper. Much of the aesthetic has been designed as artistic collaborations: Michael Ruh Studio for the mouth-blown bottles with their clear glass dipper-stopper, Frith Kerr for the gorgeous midcentury Scandi-inflected space. 

As far as imagery goes, the result feels as classic and desirable as any English rose.

First come the five seasonal fragrances in which Harris captures the air du temps and her impressions of the year to come such as Leather, Heliotrope or Rain Cloud (released for summer 2016). In addition come the Laboratory editions, explorations of single notes or evocative snapshots. Wherever the classically trained perfumer’s fancy took her, a scent followed and soon her shelves were filled with minute vials fit for discovery, each with an evocative name. Customers falling in love with one could even purchase the formula, locking it down for their exclusive use. Those with pockets are deep enough can even request Harris’ services in creating a completely bespoke scent. A handful of scented candles completes this lovely posy of wild creativity. Brands don’t come much leaner than this, with an emphasis on artisanal quality and peerless understatement.

But after all, what else to expect from one whose motto is to make air visible?

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