Not just said to be the oldest perfumer in London but in the UK, Floris London started life as a barber-shop and comb-maker in Jermyn Street, St James’s, by immigrant Juan Famenias Floris.
Floris arrived in London in 1730, having travelled from the island of Menorca in the Balearic Islands which had become a British possession after it was captured in 1708 in the War of the Spanish Succession.
The story goes that Floris was missing the sweet scent of the flowers of his youth on the island and so he and his wife Elizabeth began creating and selling perfumes (and living in a premises above the shop).
Floris was granted his first Royal Warrant in 1820 soon after the accession of King George IV as ‘Smooth Pointed Comb Maker’ to His Majesty. It was to be the first of many.
Customers have included everyone from Admiral Lord Nelson (who kept a room Lady Emma Hamilton on the building’s third floor) and Florence Nightingale to Mary Shelley, Beau Brummell, Oscar Wilde, Winston Churchill, Marilyn Monroe and members of the Royal Family including the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, creating a bespoke fragrance for their wedding in 2016.
Writer Ian Fleming was also a customer – the No 89 Eau de Toilette was to become a favourite of James Bond. The company’s other pop culture references include a mention in the Al Pacino film, Scent of a Woman.
Still a privately owned family business, Floris is still run by Juan’s’ descendants today and the London store at 89 Jermyn Street, which was renovated in 2017, remains in the same building Floris first established his business. The current shop front was added in the early 19th century and over it sits the original coat-of-arms granted by King George IV.
Inside, the Spanish mahogany cabinets were purchased from the Great Exhibition held in Hyde Park in 1851. The four storey property, which these days features a small museum at the rear, is now Grade II-listed.
Floris opened a second store at 147 Ebury Street, Belgravia in 2012.
For more, see www.florislondon.com.