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Lyn Harris is the mastermind behind Perfumer H, the British perfume house that concocts a myriad of refined, unconventional fragrances rooted in nature and craftsmanship.

Here, The Style Sheet speaks with Lyn to learn more about her fragrance philosophy, advice for budding perfumers, and what makes H Perfumer’s olfactory haven in Starstreet Precinct so unique.

Lyn Harris, Founder of Perfumer H at the studio’s Sun Street store

1. Tell us a little about your background. When did you decide you wanted to become a perfumer, and why?

My main source of inspiration and olfactory beginnings came from my grandparents, and the summers spent on their farm in Scotland. From a young age, I had a deep fascination for fragrances. I worked in a perfume store in my hometown, back when fragrances were considered exclusive to the elite. The atmosphere left a lasting impression on me, and my instinct led me to Paris and Grasse, where I studied to become a perfumer. This passion has been an enduring part of my journey and explore olfactory worlds.

2. Your fragrances are a reflection of your personal style. How would you describe that style?

Fragrance is so personal. It’s an expression of who we are on every level, and it defines our style — as part of our wardrobe it’s the essential accessory. My style is pared-back, delicate and intimate.

3. Your mission was to put naturals back into perfumery. Why was that important to you?

Naturals define me as a perfumer — the use of these ingredients forms the foundation of my work and gives expression to my creativity. Natural ingredients possess volatility, a higher price point and intricate compositions that the fragrance industry avoided at that time, but they’ve always presented a delightful challenge for me. My creative process knows no bounds, and I have a firm belief in what I do, free from the constraints of trends.

4. Could you share a little about your classical perfumery training?

I trained in Paris and Grasse with Robertet, leaders in sustainable and natural materials in the fragrance industry, to gain a solid foundation in the technical aspects of fragrance creation. I was also fortunate to have mentors in the industry who guided me through the intricate art of perfumery.

My training involved studying the traditional techniques and ingredients used in classical perfumery, honing my olfactory senses and understanding the historical significance of different fragrance families. I believe a strong foundation in classical perfumery is crucial for any perfumer, as it provides the grounding necessary to innovate and push the boundaries of fragrance creation.

5. What inspires or influences you? 

Throughout my career, I’ve been inspired by the timeless beauty of classical perfumes, and that comes through in my work. But I also embrace innovation and constantly seek new ways to express creativity in scent. It’s this combination of classical training and a contemporary approach that defines my unique style as a perfumer.

6. What advice would you give anyone interested in becoming a perfumer?

Be patient — it’s a process. Remain dedicated and be willing to work at it. Knowing your materials is number one, and having commitment will pay off.

7. What’s your personal favourite Perfumer H fragrance, and why?

I like them all for different reasons, but if I were to choose favourites they’d be Rain Cloud and Petitgrain. Rain Cloud’s musk gives a beautiful trail to the floral fragrance. There are top notes of orange blossom from Tunisia and angelica, the middle note is ylang-ylang from the island of Reunion, and the base notes are musk, bourbon vanilla and vetiver. The scent conjures humidity on white florals.

I created Petitgrain in honour of the orange tree and its many offerings. There are top notes of bergamot from Italy, lemon from Sicily and orange from Florida, resting on a base of aromatic herbs, woods and musks, with a heart of petitgrain from Paraguay, orange flower and neroli from Tunisia, which bring an interesting twist.

8. What are some highlights in the Hong Kong store?

The unique olfactory testing shelf — that’s a concept we first launched in our Hong Kong store. Test tubes are suspended in the wooden shelves and hold bespoke handblown glass stoppers by glass artisan Michael Ruh. Glass is a unique material we’ve studied at length. It’s actually porous, so it absorbs droplets of perfume to allow customers to experience the fragrance not only at its purest but also in a very elegant way.

9. When gifting something as personal as a perfume or fragranced product, do you have any suggestions?

I’d play it safe with a great cologne, but if you know them well then be brave and choose a wood — you might change their olfactory world forever.

10. What are your goals for Perfumer H in the next ten years?

We’re excited about expanding our footprint in Asia and connecting with so many of our customers there. We’re also excited to launch our new spring fragrance — we think it will really resonate with people.