In 1730 Juan Famenias Floris and his wife Elizabeth opened a barber and comb maker’s shop at 89 Jermyn Street, selling fragrances, accessories, beautiful handmade hair combs imported from Juan’s native Menorca, as well as shaving brushes, hatpins, toothbrushes, fine-tooth combs and razor strops – all made on the premises.
Nine generations later, Floris remains in sole family ownership and has scented the great and the good, royalty and Hollywood stars from Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn and Keira Knightley to Sir Laurence Olivier, Sir Michael Caine and Benedict Cumberbatch. Its signature fragrance, No.89, was worn by Ian Fleming and continues to be associated with James Bond fans globally. Created in the 19th century for a Russian duke, Special No.127 was worn by Sir Winston Churchill and Eva Perón.
In 1820, the first of 17 Royal Warrants was granted to J Floris Ltd as perfumers to the newly appointed King George IV.
Ever since, Floris has held at least one Royal Warrant and today holds two – as the only perfumer appointed to HM Queen Elizabeth II and as manufacturers of toilet preparations to HRH the Prince of Wales. The Floris range is a combination of rare, original 18th-century scents and much more recent creations, developed by the family’s perfumery team, led by Edward Bodenham, a direct descendant of Juan.
Until the 20th century, every fragrance was created individually for each customer and this tradition prevails today at 89 Jermyn Street as part of its bespoke service in its private perfumery. Floris still has the original formula and reference books dating back to the brand’s earliest days, so even when creating new fragrances for the main range and innovating with the latest ingredients and ideas, Floris never loses its sense of tradition. Its expertise is rooted in centuries of experience rather than artifice and, today, understated elegance is the brand’s hallmark – Floris is a brand that whispers rather than shouts. Bergamotto di Positano, the bestselling marine citrus fragrance launched in 2014, was inspired by archive details of an Italian ancestor from Positano, who married Mary Floris in the second generation of the company and set up a hotel in Leicester Square.
In 2015, Floris released the Fragrance Journals collection, inspired by the social history of various London districts in 1962, 1976 and 1988, drawing on period memoirs.
More recently, Floris has launched ‘Chypress’, a confident floral chypre, and collaborated with its neighbours and royal shirtmakers Turnbull & Asser on a new fragrance named 71/72. For the first time in 100 years, Floris has undertaken the renovation of 89 Jermyn Street. The main aim was to illuminate the beautiful glass cabinets that were acquired at the Great Exhibition in 1851. The shop now combines a contemporary sumptuous visual display which manages to feel authentic and original. A visit there remains an antidote to the pace and clamour of retail in the 21st century. The Floris family’s overall aim is to lay down their legacy as a temporary custodian of the brand so that their heirs can look back at this time as a period of confidence and energy.