Experimental Perfume Club, London Fields

Some Saturdays ago, I was wandering around London Fields on one of my usual weekend jaunts and stumbled across Netil Lane. Wandering down, I passed something that caught my eye - a large studio space which was filled with people all sitting round a table, intently working on whatever it was they were doing. A quick glimpse at the name on the door said the studio belonged to Experimental Perfume Club.

Nestled within the old railway arches was Experimental Perfume Club, an open-access fragrance laboratory and perfume creation studio just a skip and a hop away from Broadway Market.  

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The perfume industry on a whole is highly guarded and secretive but at EPC, the curtains are pulled back and the veil is lifted. Founder Emmanuelle's aim is to educate people about scent and get them excited about perfumery by practising it for themselves. 

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I was very kindly invited along to one of Em's 'Le Petit Parfum' workshops - an hour long introductory one-to-one session where you learn the basics and leave with a small 50ml bottle of your very own, bespoke scent.

The workshop starts by discovering your scent profile through learning which types of smells you like and dislike. This was done with a blind test, leaving our noses to do the thinking for us. We were given 9 different scents and the challenge was to say what they reminded us of and take a guess as to what olfactory notes they were. Given the time restraints, we used pre-made blends, known as accords, and got to sniffing everything from amber to citrus notes.

From our sniffing session, we were then asked to rank the scents from most to least favourite. Based on these rankings, we then got to creating our own scent using a bit of basic mathematics. If this sounds like a daunting task, don't fear - Em is on hand to help at every stage. She will happily give you the free reign but is always around for any question you might have and does so in a friendly and relaxed manner.

It was truly one of the most interesting workshops I'd done in a long time - not only was it fun, educational and interesting but the bonus was that we got to leave the lab with our very own scent, unlike anyone else's anywhere. And I'll let you into a little secret... mine smelt rather fantastic. 

A fantastic gift idea, brilliant team bonding exercise and something that bit different to do in London. Whatever your reason for visiting EPC, you'll be glad you did. 

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Experimental Perfume Club runs a number of different workshops - from group sessions to private tutorials. Visit the website for further information here: www.experimentalperfumeclub.com/workshops

Em also runs an open-lab twice a month, so you can come into the lab and have a play around with scents for yourself, check @experimentalperfumeclub for further details! 

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Need to know:

EPC Lab, 4 Netil Lane, London, E8 3RL