Reena Patel heads to Harrods in London on an addictive scent quest to discover the Ex Nihilo Factor
Finding ‘the one’ when it comes to fragrance is no mean feat, especially when you’re as fussy as I am. So I was delighted to try the exclusive personalised fragrance session with fine French fragrance brand, Ex Nihilo.
A latin phrase, ‘ex nihilo’ means ‘out of nothing’ – the basis of the brand’s philosophy. Inspired by free thinkers and emerging talents ranging from people in perfumery, architecture, fashion and even artisanal glass making, the result is an unrivalled collection of standout signature perfumes with high-grade ingredients and craftsmanship.
Developed by perfumers in Paris who are amongst the world’s best, the collection comprises nine fragrances reinterpreting iconic raw materials used in perfumery such as rose of may, agarwood, bourbon vanilla and white musk. With Ex Nihilo, you can expect daring, innovative and highly addictive blends.
I arrived at Harrods’ Salon de Parfums department up on the sixth floor. Walking through the hallway, I reached the Ex Nihilo boutique, dressed with classic French blue walls and laced with gold and soft touches of decadent décor.
I was greeted by the friendly fragrance specialists who invited me to first smell the various scents held inside a row of aroma jars called Vase de Senteurs. With one simple press of a small button, the fragrance is gently puffed into the air to release a truer taste of the fragrance. The names of the scents are kept hidden, so as not to distract or sway you during the scent finding experience.
I quickly discovered my favourites; Vetiver Moloko – an unusual racy, woody fragrance wrapped in a creamy, almost milky enveloping veil with top notes of Bulgarian rose and bergamot and Cologne 352 – a fresh, olfactory signature of Ex Nihilo’s Parisian address Rue Saint-Honore with its own interpretation of a skin cologne that is at once fresh and sparkling with Italian lemon, juniper berries and crushed leaves but falls into a soft floral heart of orange blossom, rose and lily of the valley.
However, I immediately fell in love with Fleur Narcotique, a floral romantic overdose of bergamot lychee and peach, muddled with jasmine, peony and orange blossom with a base of transparent wood, moss and musk.
During the exclusive personalisation programme, each of the signature perfumes can be modified – either by highlighting an existing olfactive note, or adding your own creative twist – yet retain its character and identity. I decided to play with Fleur Narcotique and dress it up with some more orange blossom.
The fragrance specialist carefully weighed out the nectar in front of me and placed it inside a high-precision dosing machine, called the Osmologue to work its magic and bottle my special blend right in front of my very eyes.
The shape of the bottle itself takes you back to the days of Art Deco, with its innovative and clean glass prism. The tops are engraved and ornamented through 3D modelling, and can be offered in precious caps with limited edition materials including mother of pearl, onyx, horn and leather. The glass can also be laser engraved with any inscription you desire.
I was excited to immediately start wearing my demi-bespoke perfume creation but the specialists advise you wait for a couple of days to allow for the juice to settle. Feeling very tempted to break the rules and just about managing to resist spritzing it on much sooner, I impatiently waited to get the Ex Nihilo factor.
Ex Nihilo – Where and how?
For more information on Ex Nihilo, visit www.ex-nihilo-paris.com.
Eau de Parfums are priced at £150 for 50ml. Personalised Parfums cost from £240 for 100ml.
By Reena Patel
See more from Ex Nihilo at Harrods in the gallery below