Floris opened its doors in 1730, founded by Juan Famenias Floris and his wife. Since then it has had many customers of note, from Mary Shelly, Florence Nightingale, Winston Churchill and Marilyn Monroe to fictional spies and their authors.
And also me - gentleman, internet impresario and bane of all you can eat buffets.
That being the case I thought I would take you through some of their fragrances for men.
I guess we should start with JF. Named after the founder of Floris, JF is strongly influenced by his native island of Minorca. The first thing that hits me with JF is a blast of bergamot, which is followed up a second after by a hit of fresh citrus. The scent is deep and intense yet it has a lightly delicate, floral spice to it that isn’t over powering. At the core of the scent there is a light and woody masculine musk. If I was to be abstract (which I frequently am) I could allude it to stealing a kiss from a woodland nymph on a warm midsummer eve.
Elite is a clean and masculine fragrance which is rather relaxed and woody. It is brought to life with a cool citrus twist, Elite is perhaps a bit to middle of the road for me and doesn’t stand out as much as it’s brothers, it is however a nice clean scent, rather like a relaxing massage in a musky jaccuzzi.
Santal on the other hand takes its inspiration from a Sandalwood fragrance originally created in the 1800’s. Santal hits you with bergamot and a citrus zest at first, before the delicate scent of green grass and spice wafts up your pert nostrils. Of course at the very heart of the scent there is a woody masculinity. To me it brings in to mind sitting by a fire on Christmas day, with a large brandy in hand.
Limes was created by Juan Floris to stave off the oppressive summer heat of the City. Already highly commented upon, Limes was shortlisted for Classic Fragrance of the Year in the 2009 UK Beauty Awards. The fragrance does what it says on the bottle and is a refreshing blast of lemon and musk. To me it is the fresh twist of lemon in a spring time martini.
Where to start with the Mahon Leather ? Inspired by Minorca once again the theme combines the scent of the warm liqueur Calent, (a spicy wine infusion) with the aroma of leather. This is one of my favourite products by Floris, it takes me to a place, the night air filled with the scent of warm spices and the leather bodice of a dark eyed temptress coming off.
This brings us very nicely to No 89, the stalwart, the classic, the chic. Introduced in 1951, No 89 takes its name from the number of the Floris shop in Jermyn Street. This was the favourite of author Ian Flemming, who also imparted the preference on to his creation James Bond (I must admit that was a contributing factor in my choice). No 89 is my chosen scent, it is hard to pin down as it has many levels. At once it is soft and delicate like lavender and rose, before being dominated by strong woody tones, before a final spicy surprise of warm nutmeg. Floris describe No 89 as the quintessentially English gentleman’s fragrance, so there is no surprise to find on these pages. No 89 brings to my mind a night out in London, it is a mix of scents and sensations that combine to form something unique and special, at times calm and reserved, but always under the surface the seductive spice waiting to come out.
So there you have it, the world of Floris. If you haven’t yet sampled their wears I suggest you do as they are a welcome addition to any gentleman’s collection.