Heaven scent: Azzi Glasser on crafting perfume

Words by
Jemima Sissons

9th February 2017

What makes Jude Law and Helena Bonham Carter tick? Perfumer Azzi Glasser knows, as the job of a modern bespoke perfumer is not just making scents, but being a therapist too

For Azzi Glasser, crafting a bespoke perfume is akin to holding a therapy session. Not only does the glamorous north London dwelling perfumer ask them about their favourite smells - anything from ‘ditches’ to ‘Camden’ - but about their lifestyle. Where do they spend their evenings, are they party people and what are their favourite holiday smells. The distinctive scents are on the most fashionable wrists on the scene: Johnny Depp and Jude Law have both commissioned bespoke scents, and she has made the in house scent for Chiltern Firehouse and the disco pads of big name record producers. Alongside her bespoke service, she brings out a core range of scents with teasing names such as S&X - a collaboration with Rankin - Old Books, and Fever 54, evoking the famous New York nightclub. 

‘For me it’s about hanging out and getting to know someone,’ explains Glasser from her house in Hampstead, surrounded by rows of higgedly piggeldy perfume bottles. ‘It is good to know if someone likes sandalwood, but that’s totally irrelevant in a way as the whole idea about bespoke is that finding out what your story is and translating it as your DNA of smell. It is like a love affair. You fall loyal to the fragrance, so it’s really important to delve deep and down. Most people have two personalities - one that they portray to the outside world and then other that they bring out every now and then; so it’s about discovering both and amalgamating them.’

Bespoke perfumes start from £15,000. Once Glasser has delved into the client’s world and whimsies she makes the perfume in London. The process takes 6-8 weeks from start to finish. Glasser started out by creating perfumes for fashion houses such as Agent Provocateur, Jasper Conran, Bella Freud, and in 2015 opened her own business. 

One of her favourite commissions was Helena Bonham Carter. ‘There is always something very couture about her. The presence that she has, and she is very eccentric. I wanted something that smelt beautiful and her. She will come into school with a ballgown on.’ 

The result is a punky floral mixture, which does indeed conjure the tumbleweed-haired English rose. Making a bespoke scent is not only a science, but part sorcery too. 

Perfumes from £95-£15,000