What is a bespoke perfume?

It is a question that I ask myself several times a month. More specifically, the question would be: “What is behind the so-called bespoke products?” and particularly perfumes. 

This question is looping around in my head because in perfumery I see very often the bespoke perfumes claim and sometimes at an extremely low price.  

So, I wonder how do they manage to be profitable? There is only one answer to all of this: this term is hackneyed!  

Under bespoke perfume we can find:  

  • Perfumes refused on the one hand to be reoffered on the other
  • Trully tailor-made fragrances without any inspiration from another formula 
  • Perfumes starting from a standard formula to which one or two ingredients are added 
  • Perfumes selected from a list according to the ingredients you have choosen

In this article, I will share my reflection, my observation that raise new questions and a drop of answer. 

With such an introduction, I am sure you can already appreciate the confusion in my mind about this

What does “bespoke” or tailored made” means? 

To base myself on facts and not on a rough assumption influenced by my beliefs, I simply went to look in the dictionary. 

To “bespoke” The French Academy writes: “refers to a garment made according to the measurements of the personan who is to wear it, an object made to order according to specific dimensions.” 

A priori we have no connection with the perfumes because we do not use any physical measurements or dimensions. 

Let’s continue with the informal and figurative sense: “we gave to this actor a tailor-made role, which suits his talent perfectly”. 

Could it mean that a perfume sold in a million of copes that suits you well could be qualify as bespoke? I don’t think so. But we could say: “this perfume suits so well that we could think it is bespoke”. 

I continue my investigation to leave no room for doubt. The Computerised French Language Tresory (CFLT) gives me new information; more specifically in the antonym part : “in production, in series”. 

The analogy with the perfume is then almost obvious … I will still check what it calls a series before I declare victory. By serie : “in less or more important quantity, but for an object of the same type” like mass production. 


I think I have something. A bespoke perfume would be a perfume created only once and for one person. 


This allows me to eliminate numbers of so-called bespoke perfumes mentioned previously. In which category can I put them? 

Differences between standard and bespoke perfume? 

A standard perfume is sold around the word in a million of copies. For men as for women, it is easily accessible because it is available in all kinds of perfumery.  

There is a total opposition to bespoke / tailor-made. Yet, I could put in this category the perfume selected from a list accordgn to the ingredients you have choosen. On the same template as a seller would advise you, an algorithm will determinate the perfume that could suit you. 

The standard perfumes must be forgotten for those who want a perfume created exclusively for them, for those who truly do not want to smell their perfume on someone else, for those who think that the perfume is synonym of their identity. 

Bespoke or personalised perfume? 

Once again, the dictionary is my ally. The French Academy specify: “action of adapt something to a person according to his tastes, his needs or his budget; result of this action”. 

In the case of perfumes, this could mean starting with a standard perfume and making some small modifications. Personalized perfumes could also correspond to creations refused by a customer, reoffered to other with or without extra modifications. Of course, this practice is unofficial. We still stay very closed to standard perfumes, but it is a first step towards the bespoke creation at a low cost. 

In my opinion, the most interesting part in the personalisation of a perfume is the bottle. Putting different coloured ribbons on it, imagine and choose the perfume name by ourselves et maybe even choose the cap. 

What does bespoke really mean? 

I almost want to say something more so much this term is used to qualify personalised perfumes or even standard. 

The question would rather be: what should a bespoke perfume mean? 

To this new question, I will make an analogy with the couture. When a couturier takes your measures, the perfumer smells your skin, feels the story of your life. When the couturier chooses with you the fabric, the colours; the perfumer chooses the ingredient to embody your passions, your journey, your sensitivity. 

These creators start from scratch. While the couturier will sketch all the details from your suit or your dress, the perfumer will write down the name of the ingredients one by one, along with their quantities. 

Then, the couturier will give life to his design through the material, leather, suede, silk; and with his tools, needles, scissors, threads. When it comes to the perfumer, he will compose the perfume. His fabrics will be essential oils, absolutes, synthetic raw materials equipped with bottles, pipettes and a scale. 

In a well-orchestrated choreography, all of these elements have a specific role. 

Now it is time for fittings. Couturier and perfumer observe you. The first mainly with his eyes, the second with his nose; with the same purpose, to adjust their creation on you, for you.  

We are far away from the personalised perfume and even further from the standard perfume. However, the confusion is still there.  

What do you thing to find antoher term?

Skin perfume? Soul perfume? Perfume on you? Perfume inspired by the story of your life? Not conclusive… 

At Anaïs Fournial, we are always looking for a way to talk about our creations. The abusive and misuse of “bespoke” has shown us that we should highlights our perfumes in a different way to keep our desire of transparency and authenticity. 

Something that it is sure, it is that our perfumes will always be created from a blank page.  

Each person, each story and each scent of skin is unique. These variables are the main ingredients and the starting point of our creations. 

For Anaïs, our perfume, is the message of our soul that we offer to the person we meet. In our absence, it revives memories. It records new ones and inform that we are truly here, in our presence.

In all circumstances, it makes us exist in minds and hearts. 

Our mum’s perfume, the one from our childhood school, from vacation home or even our grandmother’s cupboard full of cakes ; these fragrances so personal, so reminiscent of memories are full of emotions and are unique. 

Until the day, you meet someone in the street who wears the same perfume as your mom or your partner. Sometimes it annoys, sometimes it causes a sensation of intrusion in your privacy. 

Perfume is like a private diary which contains all our secrets. Sharing it is unthinkable. 

This is why, at Anaïs Fournial, there are only “real” bespoke perfumes.