25 May Things to do in Madrid; a sensory journey with Aquaflor
Things to do in Madrid? What do you think of a ‘sensory journey’ with the Italian house of artisan perfumes Aquaflor? They organize workshops during which you create your own personalized perfume. A unique experience in Madrid.
As they say “it is an olfactory experience that will make you enter the skin of a perfumer for a day“.
If I usually write about trips to charming houses, in this article I write about an olfactory journey with an exclusive house but in this case a “Maison de parfum”; a freer interpretation of the central theme of my blog but I think it fits perfectly; it’s very related to the taste for beautiful things and unique experiences.
In 2009 Master Perfumist Sileno Cheloni founded Aquaflor Firenze; an exclusive Maison de Parfum specialised in the art and tradition of Florentine artistic perfumery. They sell perfumes, colognes, ambient fragrances, soaps and body creams composed of noble raw materials from all over the world.
Both the Florence and Madrid shops, the last one opened in 2017, breathe authenticity, craftsmanship and good taste everywhere. It’s the same feeling that the chocolates shop in the movie “Chocolat” gave me.
Aquaflor Madrid ©Oier Rey Delika
“What do I wear in bed? Why, Chanel No. 5, of course.” Marilyn Monroe
THE HISTORY OF PERFUME
The name perfume comes from the Latin ‘per fumum’ which means `through the smoke`. It is believed that the origin of the perfume began with the Egyptians. They burned species and plants and thus released a perfumed smoke as an offering to the gods. At that time they didn’t use it in liquid format, but in powder, oil and cream. The Greeks also used it for their personal care as well as later Romans in their Roman baths.
Then it was more or less forgotten in Europe until around the 12th century when the perfume returns as a luxury product but is also used against diseases such as the plague.
In the 17th and 18th century, the commercialization of related products such as the Eau de Toilette began.
With the entry of chemistry into the perfume industry in the 19th century, they managed to recreate the scents of nature in a laboratory and thus were able to create new and cheaper odors.
THE CREATION OF PERFUME
For a perfume a mixture of vegetable, animal and synthetic aromatic ingredients is used with a fixative and a solvent (in general alcohol) always taking into account the adequate proportions. Currently, for the creation of a fragrance there are about 360 natural essences and 4,000 synthetic materials.
You can divide the ingredients into 7 groups:
The procedures for making a perfume can vary between distillation, expression and maceration (although the latter is in disuse).
THINGS TO DO IN MADRID, A PERFUME WORKSHOP
The workshop to personalize your perfume lasts 2 hours and a half. It takes place in the Aquaflor showroom at the Gran Vía in Madrid. A space with an exquisite decoration and an exhibition of all the products; perfumes, ambient fragrances, body products (creams and bath salts), etc.
I participated with 5 friends and we had a great time !!
The event begins with a brief explanation about the Aquaflor brand and the history of perfume. Then they go on to explain what the perfume consists of in order to understand the process before creating your own.
THE PHASES OF CREATING YOUR PERFUME
Analyzing a perfume is a process similar to tasting a wine with its different sensations at different times. Smelling a perfume from a bottle is not the same as the fragrance that comes off the skin. It also depends on the moment because it evaporates and changes the smell. And the smell is also influenced by skin chemistry (ph value) of each person. Surely it has happened to you that you loved how a friend’s perfume smelled on him or her and when you put on the same perfume you did not smell the same.
Phase 1) THE ANALYSIS
Some 16 essences are analyzed; some are natural and others are synthetic materials. You punctuate the essences to later be able to choose the ones you liked the most. We laughed a lot but we also took the whole process very seriously.
It is not easy to distinguish and value the scents when you have no practice. It is very normal to have to smell several notes over and over. To neutralize your smell, you smell some coffee beans.
At the end of this phase you need to have a list of about 5 to 7 notes that you liked the most.
Phase 2) THE CHOICE AND MIX OF YOUR PREFERRED ESSENCES
With the help of the experts of the workshop you choose a composition of the notes you liked most and they advise you which ones to mix and which ones not. If you are satisfied with the result, you can go ahead with the last phase, if not, they will give you recommendations about how to improve by for example including other notes.
Phase 3) FINAL PHASE
The professionals tell you what final quantities of each essence you have to mix to get to 20% of perfume and add alcohol. The bottle is closed and can not be opened for 3 weeks because the perfume has to mature to realise the synergy between the different essences (similar to a wine).
MY OPINION ABOUT THE WORKSHOP
It is true that it is not a cheap activity but the sensory journey was extremely interesting and also super fun if you do it with a group of friends.
At the end of the event you take home a 100ml perfume that you have made yourself and that only you will wear. It is something special and personal. Also, a bottle in store costs you practically the same prices as the workshop; € 140 vs € 150.
I also think that an experience, like travelling, generally contributes more to your emotional state than something material. And lately it is very fashionable to give away an experiences. What do you think of it as a gift to your friends?
So if you do not know what things to do in Madrid, creating your own perfume is a different, interesting and fun experience.
THINGS TO DO IN MADRID WITH CHILDREN OR WITH THE COMPANY
Apart from the workshop and the sale of its products to individuals, Aquaflor can also offer other services:
CELEBRATING A CHILDREN`S BIRTHDAY PARTY
If you do not know what things to do in Madrid to celebrate your children’s birthday, organize a workshop so they can personalize their own perfume with a small group of friends is an original and creative plan. Contact Aquaflor for more details.
THINGS TO DO IN MADRID AS A COMPANY
At Aquaflor they also offer special activities for companies: tasting of perfumes, teambuilding workshop, animation during events …..
At the same time they can advise establishments such as hotels, restaurants and shops with the best ambient fragances, soaps and so on for their facilities.
PRACTICAL DATA OF THE WORKSHOP
Theme: The AquaFlor Firenze experience
Duration of the workshop: 2h30
Price per person: € 150 (includes the custom 100ml perfume.)
More information: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel. +34 910564162
Madrid Store: Argensola Street 24, Madrid, Spain
Florence Store: Borgo Santa Croce, 6, 50122 Firenze, Italy
OLFATIVE TRIP TO GRASSE, FRANCE
If you really like perfume, you might be interested in a visit to the medieval city of Grasse from the 7th century located in the Provence, France, not far from Cannes and Nice. It is ideal to combine with a stay on the French Riviera visiting villages such as Eze, a beautiful village with magnificent views of the sea and the coast, or Saint Paul de Vence a town of artists. Or Saint Tropez and have lunch at Club 55, a legend on the beach of Pampelonne. I will dedicate another post to our visit to this area.
Since the 19th century, Grasse has become one of the most important epicentres of perfume internationally. A key factor is its suitable microclimate for the cultivation of delicate flowers such as jasmine and orange? blossom.
Activities in Grasse related to perfume:
✅ the International Perfume Museum; its exhibits and its garden
✅ the 3 large perfumeries Fragonard, Galimard and Molinard are open to the public. They offer free guided tours and you can create your own perfume or cologne.
✅ every year the city organizes events related to perfume such as the jasmine festival, `Jasminade ‘, which has been held in August for more than 70 years.
✅ workshops to create your own perfume.
For more information: Grasse tourism office
If you are looking for a nice house in the Grasse area, check out the villa rental agency “Villa Vakantiewoningen”
photo header © Carlos Horcajada