Monday 11 July 2016


A career which included Coty, Helena Rubinstein, Guerlain and Jacques Bogart surely explains why Hanuš Wolf eventually ended up running his own perfume store. Burgins of York is an Aladdin's cave of fragrance, with the shelves literally groaning under the weight of bottles. Hanuš always had a dream to have his own business, so when he was offered to chance to buy Burgins in 2011 he accepted. Five years on I thought it was time to see what gems we could uncover when I asked him "Stephan's Six".

What is the first smell that you can remember?
Living in old Czechoslovakia until 1967, my family and I used to spend summer holidays in a workers’ co-operative hotel which was in fact a castle. I remember walking through impeccably manicured gardens and being enveloped by a rich warm aroma. To this day I don’t know what it was, but the scent stayed with me forever. I have only ever come across it once in the UK, and it was when passing a hedge in Hampstead. It stopped me dead in my tracks because I was instantly transported back to that time.

What was the first perfume you remember your mum or dad wearing?
My mum has never been a fragrance wearer but some time in the early 70s I spotted an old miniature purple watch bottle with a fragrance that was very similar to what was to become Ferre by Ferre. My dad started out with Old Spice, as that was what we used to buy him for his birthdays, although once I graduated into the world of fragrance I made sure he had whichever brand I was working for at the time.

What was the perfume of your twenties?
My first foray into fragrance was Marbert Man and Onyx by Lenthéric. I loved them both and so wanted to believe that wearing them would make me irresistible to women. It was fragrance or fast cars, but a Ford Fiesta just did not have the pulling power, in every sense of the word.

What was your biggest perfume mistake?
A few years ago I worked with a colleague who used to douse himself in Z Zegna by Ermenegildo Zegna. It really suited him and he convinced me to buy some. I think I wore it at best two or three times as it just did not suit me at all.

You can only choose one perfume?
I am a woody oriental guy through and through, and yet the one fragrance I could not live without is Giorgio Armani’s Eau Pour Homme, a Citrus Aromatic, which I adore. It was the first premium fragrance I encountered in the eighties. The fresh, vibrant, and citrus notes, together with patchouli, my favourite ingredient, embody a true classic fragrance.

What perfume should I try?
Noir Obscur by Antonio Alessandria. He is an Italian perfumer who only started formulating his own fragrances in 2014 and now has a collection of four. Noir Obscure is a unisex Amber-Oriental fragrance which is, in Antonio’s own words, “soft as a cloud, sensual as velvet, sweet as sin."

For more details on Burgins Perfumery you can visit the website at or follow them on Twitter at @BurginsofYork

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