Prague perfumers evoke currant gardens and mountain pine

From the perfume mecca of Grasse straight to the Czech capital, Perfumed Prague fragrance studio makes perfect scents

Elizabeth Zahradnicek-Haas

Written by Elizabeth Zahradnicek-Haas Published on 11.11.2020 10:22:00 (updated on 07.12.2021) Reading time: 4 minutes

Borys Kudela and Olga Dworzycka are Polish expats with a nose for business. Their showroom, nestled on Karoliny Světlé street, is equal parts friend’s kitchen and science laboratory – an inviting and fragrant space with a butcher-block island and industrial accents.

Perfume geeks, the duo started Perfumed Prague, Prague’s first make-your-own fragrance studio, in 2016 shortly after arriving in the Czech capital from Warsaw. Today their portfolio has grown to include home fragrances and soywax scented candles as well as endless stories from a diverse clientele proving that fragrance can unbottle memories.

“Both of us have always been crazy about perfumes,” says Olga of the couple’s decision to turn their passion into a profession. In 2009, Olga, then a chemistry student, received a gift voucher for a perfume-making class in France. Together she and Borys traveled to Grasse, a Mecca for the perfume industry, where she made her first perfume.

perfumed prague shop
The inviting entrance of Perfumed Prague

“That’s where I met my future teacher a perfumer, or 'nose,' from Paris,” she says. “And I decided I wanted to learn.”

A major perfume manufacturer from Grasse continues to supply Perfumed Prague with its fragrances. “The fragrance essences produced in this region of Provence are used by all of the significant perfume producers in the world,” says Olga.

Anyone who visits the shop will experience the magic of Grasse firsthand. The tiny room, cluttered with hundreds of laboratory bottles, vials, and glass jars from floor-to-ceiling, contains hundreds of aromatic essences, from favorites like sandalwood, jasmine or bergamot, to lesser-knowns like opium and seaweed.

The vast selection of scenet essences from Perfumed Prague
The vast selection of scenet essences from Perfumed Prague

Olga and Borys guide customers in the creation of a one-of-a-kind scent (a consultation is included in the price of the perfume). “You can be totally inexperienced and not know anything about scents and you will take home something you will really like,” says Olga.

Customers choose ingredients by “following their nose,” sampling, and testing different combinations until hitting upon the right scent that perfectly matches one's character or mood, or evokes a time or place.

The couple says that even visitors who just happen to stop by often stay for longer once they catch a curious hint of something that brings back a vivid memory.

Inhaling a heavenly scent at Perfumed Prague
Inhaling a heavenly scent at Perfumed Prague

“It’s not unusual for people to cry when they come to us,” says Olga who goes on to tell the story of an elderly woman who visited their shop and broke down after smelling lily of the valley. “She said, ‘This is my mom.’”

Despite years of experience, the pair says their clientele still manages to surprise – and challenge – them.

"Our clients are both, women and men, and sometimes even whole families," Borys says. He adds that the percentage of men who come to the shop is unexpectedly high.

"We are really happy to see them enjoying the place. They appear to be quite knowledgeable, asking about something fancy with a hint of yuzu. Like our female customers, men carefully study the label of their perfumes and from the moment they step inside know exactly what they want," he says.

Fragrance workshop at Perfumed Prague
Fragrance workshop at Perfumed Prague

But more often than not people seek out scents that remind them of special memories.

"One lady, for example, wanted to recreate the scent of her childhood – the aroma of the currant garden surrounding her grandma’s cottage," says Borys. Sometimes the couple is faced with a challenge: like recreating the scent of the forest near the Giant Mountains, the lake in Lipno, or even the smell of the racing circuit in Most.

"After closing hours, the calm of our perfumery helps our staff create completely new fragrances," says Borys. Some of those fragrances are also used in Perfumed Prague's natural soy wax candles. One particular combination remains a big hit with customers:

"I am especially proud of our blend of fig, green tea, dark chocolate, and ambrette," says Borys.

All Perfumed Prague products are vegan, eco-friendly, and cruelty-free. Laboratory-styled soywax scented candles are handcrafted in the heart of Czech Republic and the shop's "Zero Waste" policy allows for packaging to be returned and recycled, while personalized candle jars can be refilled with a new candle at a discount after one use.

The couple is hard at work on a new Christmas candle collection. And while the shop is currently operating from a window due to COVID restrictions, its home fragrances, candles, and gift vouchers for later workshops can also be purchased via the Perfumed Prague e-shop.

Perfumed Prague fragance workshops let customers create a one-of-a-kind fragrance
Perfumed Prague fragance workshops let customers create a one-of-a-kind fragrance

Borys and Olga hope that fragrance will continue to be as meaningful to their customers as it is for them.

“The world of fragrance is an excellent escape at a time when small luxuries can make a big difference our lives,“ says Borys.

This article was written in cooperation with Perfumed Prague. Read more about our partner content policies here.

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