Floris of Londonis the oldest English retailer of fragrance and toiletries and is still family owned and run today by the 8th and 9th generation of the family.
Floris was founded in 1730 by Juan Famenias Floris, who arrived in England from his native island of Menorca to seek his fortune. Shortly after his arrival, in 1730, he secured premises in Jermyn Street, in the elegant quarter of London’s St. James’s. Juan Famenias Floris initially set up business as a barber and comb-maker, however, he soon missed the aromas and sensations of his Mediterranean youth.
The first Royal Warrant granted to J. Floris Ltd was in 1820 as ‘Smooth Pointed Comb-makers’ to the then King George IV soon after his accession. Today this first Royal warrant is still on display at 89 Jermyn Street together with no less than 19 others. Floris holds two today: Perfumers to HM The Queen Elizabeth II and Manufacturers of Toilet Preparations to HRH The Prince of Wales.
The Floris archives hold letters from famous customers detailing their preferences and their thanks, examples include:
- Florence Nightingale: 25 July 1863 – thanking Mr Floris for his ‘sweet-smelling nosegay’ and giving news of the Army’s sickness record in India.
- Mary Shelley, who whilst abroad sent friends clear instructions on where to purchase her favourite combs: Floris.
- Beau Brummell, the dandy of his day in the early 19th century, would discuss his current fragrances at length with Mr Floris.
- Floris is even a fictional character’s choice. Ian Fleming’s James Bond always wore Floris No.89 while Al Pacino’s character in Scent of a Woman famously declared he knew the ‘woman in his sights’ was wearing Floris fragrance.
The London store is in Jermyn Street, London, in the same building Juan Floris created the business in the 18th century. The mahogany counter still used in the store was purchased directly from the Great Exhibition at the Crystal Palace in Hyde Park in 1851.
In 2012 Floris opened a second London shop, at 147 Ebury Street, Belgravia, offering the full Floris range, together with a Bespoke Perfumery service.