Lately, I’ve been really interested in exploring the Bukchon Hanok Village (북촌한옥마을) and its surrounding area. Unlike other hanok villages, Bukchon was not created as a tourist attraction, but as an actual residential neighbourhood comprised of about 900 hanoks. Weaving through the streets of 600 year old houses, you also get glimpses of the modern city in the distance. It really makes you feel like you’re walking through a piece of living history frozen in time.
Hidden among the cluster of homes also lie a few hanoks that have been converted into small shops, restaurants, cafes, guesthouses and museums. On my last venture out there, my friend Joan and I happened to come across a lovely little fragrance shop called Granhand.
The shop is located in a beautiful little white and grey hanok with bright lacquered wooden accents and a steel-blue tiled roof. As soon as you approach the store, you are immediately pulled in by the aromas wafting in the air. Honestly, we noticed the smell of the fragrances before we noticed the store itself. It was so alluring, we soon found ourselves walking up the pebbled path and into the store.
The interior was just a lovely as the exterior, simple and traditional with a few potted plants and colourful dried flowers thrown into the mix. It was quite small inside, so all the products were lined against the wall. They offer about 12 different fragrances in a variety of forms: sachets, candles, fabric sprays, perfumes and oils.
All of their fragrances are original and handmade in house. They are also all named after famous authors, musicians, celebrities and well know figures. Perhaps you’d like your home to smell like primatologist Jane Goodall or Pretty Woman’s Vivian Ward? Unfortunately not all of the fragrances were available for every item, which was a bit of a disappointment, but luckily I had more than one favourite fragrance.
One item I found to be particularly unique was a soy candle in a small handmade 항아리 (hangari). A hangari is a type of jar that kimchi is usually stored in. It’s the perfect way to add subtle touch of Korean culture to your home. They have 3 different styles in small (₩30,000) and large jars (₩35,000) to choose from. Since the larger version was only ₩5,000 more, I got that one in the “Marine Vacth” fragrance. It looks so pretty in my apartment and smells so good.
Another item I’ve purchased since then is their perfume in “Lucy Diamond.” It has a fresh and sweet floral fragrance to it and it lasts all day! It has become my new signature scent. The bottle is super cute too, fixed with a hand stamped brown canvas label that can be customized with your name. It really brings the whole product together by giving it a one-of-a-kind handmade feel.
These types of homemade fragrances are becoming quite popular here in Korea, but I have never been so smitten before. Everything is great quality and all purchases are packaged nicely in custom canvas bags or wrapping, making it a perfect gift for yourself or someone else. If you’re looking for gifts or souvenirs to take back home, I really recommend checking this place out.