Perfume Making in Seoul, Korea [Sponsored by Trazy]
Eat Ginseng Chicken in Korea, yummy. Ride a rail bike, fun. Visit Nami Island, beautiful. Make your own perfume in Seoul, that’s exotic. Well, at least it’s not common among tourists to Seoul. I was looking through Trazy.com for things to do in Korea and this activity stood out. Months ago, a friend posted on Facebook about perfume making in Singapore. I was intrigued but it was not within my budget to sign up for it, it’s easily double the price of what I saw on Trazy.
Btw, Trazy.com (“Trazy”) is a travel booking site where you can find tonnes of activities in South Korea (“Korea”) and Thailand — from day tours to concert tickets to manicure. Get inspired of what to do in Korea, especially uncommon tourist experience like perfume making! :) Oh and booking through Trazy website will save you the hassle of overcoming the language barrier and making overseas calls. Almost all Korean establishments we encountered only have phone numbers listed for reservations.
GN Perfume (Itaewon Branch)
The perfume studio conducting our perfume making workshop is GN Perfume. They have a few branches and we chose the Itaewon branch. However, it’s not easy walking from Itaewon station, 1.2km. Trazy actually suggested walking from Noksapyeong Station (Line 6), which is 1km away. If you are coming from Itaewon, just take a cab. Why? Read on.
We were around Itaewon subway station to visit Line Friends store, dine in a popular pancake shop called The Original Pancake House, and soak in the non-Asian vibes. And since we had some time before our 2:00PM session, we decided to walk over to GN Perfume and enjoy the sights. Bad decision.
It didn’t seem bad initially. After climbing two to three slopes, the pin of the map indicated that we were near. However, a few more minutes later, I looked at the map again and something was amiss. I was trying to figure out if there’s something wrong with it. We had advanced this little after all this while?! The culprit slowing us down must be the never-ending steep slopes we had to climb, and I mean really steep slope.
Our ample buffer time suddenly did not seem enough. We were going to be late. Hubby forge ahead with the stroller. I was already walking as fast as I could to catch up. I felt warm from the heatech inside. At the highest point, I saw an awesome view with what I assumed to be Seoul Tower nestled at the top of a hill.
I wanted to tell hubby to look at it, until I saw what he was looking at. A long flight of stairs! Gosh, that’s the only way down. The studio is right round the quiet corner at the bottom. Hence my muscle man hubby carried the stroller with the baby inside and walked down that flight of stairs. On hindsight, I should have carried the baby. But we were too tired to think.
Imagine how tired and hot we were when we reached the warm studio. Because there was no air con nor cold wind entering the store, we felt warm for a long time after that.
In the Shop
The first thought I had was, it’s a hipster place with a feminine touch. Surprisingly, there was no overpowering scent wafting through the air. Nice cosy shop with bottles of perfumes and scents displayed neatly on the shelves. Other than the “ingredients” of the perfume, GN Perfume also showcases their own concoctions that are for sale.
And as we settled into our seats, the perfumer turned on calming music for us to get into the mood. There were only four seats available, and so I assumed the maximum number of workshop participants at any one time is four.
The perfumer guiding us through this perfume making class is a friendly Korean lady named Eunji. She speaks limited English but good enough to proceed with the class. I didn’t really quite catch her, but she’s either studying or has studied in an academy on scents.
Step 1: Choose Perfume Base
Firstly, we were to smell seven types of perfume base and choose one to two bases. It’s a blind test. We didn’t know what kind of bases we have chosen until she looked at our choices and described its characteristics. I picked ‘floral & musky’ and ‘young, fruity & sweet’. Hubby got ‘sporty, cool & aquatic’ and ‘woody’.
Step 2: Decide on the Type of Perfume
Then through a questionnaire, we communicated to the perfumer the type of perfume we wanted to create. I wanted light and fresh scent, while hubby wanted cool and unisex type.
Based on our perfume bases and desired type of perfume, she handpicked bottles of essence that are suitable for our bases. Hubby and I could share certain essences, but there were also a few others that were only suitable for our particular choice of perfume base.
Step 3: Choose and Drip Essence into Perfume Base
We were to smell each essence she gave us and write down our impression, the type of emotions it invokes in us. For example, my first impression of cherry blossom essence is of flower and spring, while cassis fruits reminded me of sweet gummy bears.
After smelling, we picked 3 to 7 essences that we liked to add into the perfume base. We could add 35 drops of essence into the base, and we get to choose how we like to proportion these 35 and drip them in ourselves. For example, with 4 essences shortlisted, these were the number of drops I have assigned to each essence: 15 + 10 + 5 +5. Lily of the Valley got the most because I like the scent the best and the name ‘Lily of the Valley’ is prophetically significant to me.
“I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys.” Song of Solomon 2:1
During the Process
You should realise by now that we are smelling different scents quite a lot. Wouldn’t our sense of smell be confused after a while? Fret not! A jar of coffee beans is available for us to smell and “relax” our nose, something like cleansing our palate during wine tasting.
All in all, the whole process took about 50 minutes. This includes the time we were entertaining baby Evangeline and running after her as she hustled around the small shop barefooted. p.s. The warm respite might be the reason for her to take off her own shoes.
The Final Product
There are a final few steps I have yet to mention. After we dripped the essences into the base, Eunji added more perfume base to top the bottle up to be 50ml. Then she had us write on our own bottle labels – we get to name our own perfume!
She pasted the labels on the bottles and wrapped them in nice boxes! She had thoughtfully gave us different wrappings to distinguish the two bottles. The blue box with white ribbons belonged to the man, my hubby, and the white box belong to me.
Her final instructions for us was to let the perfume ferment for two weeks. This is for the perfume to emanate an even better smelling scent.
It was really a fun experience to do it with hubby. He found it enjoyable too! Moreover, we could bring home this special gift we made for ourselves. With so many permutations to make a perfume, it’s really cool to customise and have our own one-of-a-kind perfume!
If I have convinced you to make your own perfume in Seoul, head over to Trazy and book your session: www.trazy.com/experience/detail/custom-made-perfume-in-seoul. Otherwise, if you prefer to do something to your hair, read about my digital perm experience at a hair salon in Seoul.
For more about my travels in Seoul and Jeju, be sure to bookmark my Itinerary of South Korea.
GN Perfume (Itaewon Branch)
- 33 Hoenamu-ro 13ga-gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea (GPS Kakao Map: 3785-1094)
- Tuesday to Sunday, 11:00AM – 9:00PM. Closed on Monday
Disclosure: This activity was sponsored by Trazy, but opinions are of my own. Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. Affiliate link means I’ll get a small commission if you make a purchase. There’s NO extra cost to you. I appreciate your support to maintain this website, so that I can share more tips with you. Thank you!