The sweet smell of success

A perfume workshop is a fun way to get together with friends while creating your own, unique fragrance, as Sue Parslow discovers

A perfume workshop makes the ideal quirky pre-Christmas get-together, but it’s not just for the girls – the guys can make manly fragrances or a scent for the home. Expert Sara Hawkins runs these workshops in the Midlands, and I joined her for an afternoon session in the Crowne Plaza in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Like the others around me, I hadn’t been sure what to expect, but we soon found ourselves immersed in a world of scent, discussing what we knew and liked.

There’s more to creating a popular perfume than you might think. That said, you won’t be blinded by science: Sara makes it interesting but light-hearted, and before long we were all wafting card sticks dipped in one of each of 21 concentrated fragrances. And, like the TV advert for the deodorising room spray, nose blindness soon struck from sniffing too hard. Little bags of coffee beans on the table offer an antidote – you hold a bag, inhale deeply a couple of times, and you’re ready to go again.

“Many people are surprised by how much they enjoy the process, and go home with a perfume that really suits them,” says Sara, a knowledgeable perfume stylist and aromatherapist who’s been running workshops for the Perfume Studio in Birmingham, Stratford and the Cotswolds for seven years. “It’s a great group activity and flexible too – we can hold them in any venue; even in someone’s home.”

Breathe deep…

While some had gone with the idea of recreating their favourite designer perfume, Sara persuades everyone to start afresh and identify the scents that appeal to them, and then see what happens.

Conversation buzzed as specific scents sparked interest and prompted memories and associations. However, from the start you discover that this exercise is all about your own personal preferences. It feels indulgent to focus on what really appeals and create something that’s unique to you. And, when you’re done, Sara takes your choice of fragrant sticks and blends the liquids so you have a little bottle of perfume to take away.

Take a look at the image gallery below.

Get me there:

  • The Perfume Studio operates workshops throughout the UK.
  • Groups enjoy a generous discount. The Gold experience normally retails at £39 per person including a glass of fizz (or a soft drink) – for a group, depending on the size and venue, it could be as little as £24. In hotel venues, there’s an option to book afternoon tea and cake to enjoy once the workshop has finished.
  • Call Sara on 07775 558859, email sara.hawkins@theperfumestudio.com or visit theperfumestudio.com