Over two centuries of Aromatic Excellence!
It was 1816, colonial India and also the last chapter in the country’s Mughal history. Lala Gulab Singh, an entrepreneur from Jhajjar, modern day Haryana, immigrated to Delhi, the Mughal Sultanate’s capital. Here, a blessing in the form of a whiff of sublime inspiration encompassed him. Little did he foresee it blossoming into one of the country’s most sought after scent sagas that would span over two full centuries!
As per the instructions of the angels of fragrant inspiration, he along with his son Lala Johrimal, established a one-of-its kind traditional perfumery in the heart of what we today call ‘Old Delhi’! Plunked in a quaint alleyway of Chandni Chowk , one of India’s bustling grand old bazaars of the ‘Walled City’, he cultivated a repertoire of exotic and ethereal fragrances that instantly cast a spell on the city’s who’s who, right from the royal Nawaabs to the nobility, wealthy connoisseurs to the influential crème of society.
And so was born the legendary Gulabsingh Johrimal House of Fragrance, once fondly called ‘Gulab Gundhi ki Dukaan’ or ‘the shop of Gulab the Perfumer’. The Sanskrit term Gundhi is derived from gundh meaning fragrance.
Having catered to several generations of an immensely diverse clientele through the glorious two centuries, Gulabsingh Johrimal has witnessed history unfold before its eyes - the 1857 Sepoy Mutinee, India’s Freedom Movement and independence, the birth, lives and struggles of towering leaders and now, the new millennium. With fragrance aficionados from the world over including eminent celebrities revering its oceanic collection of non-alcoholic Attar perfume oils and eclectic incense varieties, the perfumery has brought together members of diverse faiths, nationalities and races under an aromatic canopy.
Many ardent patrons believe that the likes of, to name a few, Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar, towering Urdu Poet Mirza Ghalib and even many historic legends of Hindustani classical music would have boasted of scenting their sherwanis with Gulabsingh Johrimal! Still retaining its old world charm with antique Belgian-cut perfume jars, ornate wooden shelves and the affable perfumers offering customers dabs of attar on the back of the hands, Gulabsingh Johrimal is one of Delhi’s oldest and most revered landmarks. Today, the grand old perfumery’s eighth generation of the Gundhi family of master perfumers carries forward the endearing tradition of its illustrious forefathers.
Around more than 5000 years ago during the Indus Valley Civilization, the cradle of invention and innovation, the art and science of making perfume out of nature’s fragrant bounties was first discovered.
It was then, through the discovery of a unique process of distillation to extract fragrant oil from flowers, woods and spices, that India pioneered perfumery in world history.
Established in 1816, Gulabsingh Johrimal is ideally one of the India’s oldest living traditional heritage houses of fragrance that upholds the world’s oldest perfumery tradition, serving fragrance lovers for over 200 years and seven glorious generations.
Acknowledged for preserving the most original and authentic millennia-old Indian Deg Bhapka distillation techniques for the extraction of natural perfume oil, Gulabsingh Johrimal famously houses an exquisite repertoire of diverse and natural Ruh (pure distillate extract) and Attar ( distillate extract over a pure sandalwood base) varieties that cover a vast range of flowers, woods, herbs and spices.