Ever wondered how you can smell like you, but better? Mr Smiths: ever considered trading in your rusty razor for a good, old-fashioned shaving kit – soap bowl and all? We’ve pondered these mysteries. In our quest for knowledge, we sought out Edward Bodenham, the impeccably presented director of Floris London, whose perfumes come with royal approval. If it’s good enough for HRH…
Can you suggest three must-have bits of grooming/beauty travel kit for him and her?
Personally, I always like to travel with my trusty shaving soap bowl and travel shaving brush. I do enjoy a traditional wet shave with a good lather, wherever I am in the world. My other must-have is my Elite aftershave balm to scent and sooth my beard area after shaving, and stop my skin from becoming tight and dry. My wife wouldn’t travel anywhere without taking her moisturiser, mascara and – of course – her Floris Soulle Ámbar fragrance.
Any tips on how to choose the right scent?
An individual’s taste in fragrance is very personal: it has a great deal to do with our memories and the emotions that particular scents trigger within us. Our sense of smell comes from a very primitive part of the brain and is the most vivid of all of our senses. Throughout our lives, we gradually build up a memory bank of different scents, which unlock memories and emotions when we encounter them again, even if several decades have passed. I think that choosing a fragrance is about finding a scent that uplifts the spirits and unlocks some of these fond memories. Take time to work your way through the various fragrance families until you find a scent that clicks for you and gives you a sense of wellbeing.
We also offer a bespoke perfumery service for customers who wish to work with our perfumer here to create their own signature scent. They then name the fragrance. We keep all customers’ bespoke formulations on file, for when they want to reorder.
Do you ever visit traditional barber shops? If so, do you have a favourite, and why?
We recently had a pop-up barber shop in our Jermyn Street shop for the launch of our new grooming range, so I was able to sit down for a wet shave with an open razor, which was quite an experience. I regularly visit the friendly team at Jermyn Street Barbers in Taylor’s to have my hair cut, so that has become my favourite. They are another local independent family business; it’s great to try and support each other when we can.
Do you have a favourite Smith hotel bathroom?
Hazlitt’s in London is such a beautiful hotel; its bathrooms are just exquisite. They make you feel as if you are living in a bygone, almost Dickensian era, when you can imagine the pace of life was unhurried and people spent more time on their daily morning and evening rituals.
We have Pacific Direct to thank for supplying some of our favourite hotels with our favourite unguents (Floris London, Elemis, Annick Goutal, the White Company and more). Our friends at Pacific Direct can clearly smell a winner a mile off – no wonder we asked them to help us pick Best Newcomer at the Smith Hotel Awards 2015.