Recently I finally visited the perfumery at Roullier White in south east London for the first time. It took me so long because if you live north of the Thames, it’s not the most straight-forward place to get to. This is primarily because it’s not served by the underground network we are so used to travelling around the capital on.
After taking two tube trains, I met fellow perfume lover Irum at London Bridge Station. From here we got the over-ground train to East Dulwich Station and then opposite we caught a bus (185, 40 or 176) to the North Cross Road stop on Lordship Lane. The shop is less than a minute’s walk at number 125. We were meeting our friends Nick of nickrgilbert.com and Sabine of Iridescents, who are both lucky to live locally.
We found Nick and Sabine standing outside the front of the store enjoying ice-cream from the neighbouring Oddono’s Gelati. Not to be left out, Irum and I went off to indulge in exceptional blackberry sorbet and chocolate ice-cream (me) and salted caramel and pistachio ice-cream (Irum). Perfume people are nothing if not pleasure seekers.
Having consumed our cones, we entered the store. Roullier White is actually more than just a perfumery, it’s a life-style store. They stock everything from pet care and men’s accessories to scented candles and kitchen wares. There is also the Mrs White’s own brand range of home and beauty care products. After reading all this on their website I expected the shop to be pretty big but it’s actually just two rooms with a carefully edited selection of high quality products.
Some of the perfumes are on the counters to the right, but they mainly line the shelves just behind them. The two sales assistants who helped us were knowledgeable and friendly. Straight away Irum and I asked to try the perfumes by Neela Vermeire Creations. These aren’t stocked anywhere else in London as far as I’m aware. I tried Ashoka for the first time, straight onto skin and liked it a lot. It is a beguiling beauty but the bright and bold personality of Bombay Bling! is still my favourite from this exquisite line which also includes Mohur and Trayee.
Sabine, Nick and I then had fun trying a few of the wacky Smell Bent fragrances, which are relatively cheap at £45 for 50ml. Tokyo Mama: Fizzzzz is so like the lemon flavoured fizzy drink 7Up that it made us laugh. Nick thought he may well buy a bottle next summer. Brussels Sprouted to my great relief was actually a green fig cologne and then there was Walk of Shame, which was not nearly shameful enough for Nick’s skanky tastes. However, after a fresh start on Sabine, it did start to reveal a little of the night before.
Irum was looking for something for her boyfriend and very much liked Norne by Slumberhouse which she found wintry and Nick described as “labdanum-y forest floor”. Slumberhouse is an American boutique cologne label inspired by urban culture, particularly “the new school of hip hop”. Slumberhouse may be a bro’s brand but they have bottles with pretty beads in them.
The hit of the day was Odd Fellows Bouquet by Atkinson’s which turned out to be a vanilla tobacco on skin. It was sweet on Nick to the point of resembling Spiriteuse Double Vanille, while to Irum’s slight disappointment it was a little drier on her. Atkinson’s is a British perfume house founded in 1799 and relaunched in September 2013 after a long absence. Prestigious customers of the past include the Duke of Wellington, Admiral Lord Nelson and Beau Brummell.
We also tried fragrances from Histoires de Parfums, Carner Barcelona, Calé Fragranze d’Autore, Jardins D’Ecrivains and Imaginary Authors, among others.
There was so much spritzing that it was hard to keep track as you can see from the photos.Some of the other brands stocked are Mona di Orio, Jovoy, Mark Buxton Perfumes, Hiram Green, Aedes de Venustas, Caron, Olfactive Studio, Maria Lux, Farmacia SS. Annunziata, Maison des Reves, Rance, Evody and Maira Jung, but there were quite a few more to explore. I recommend going on the website and writing out a list of things to try before you go.
After we were well and truly sniffed-out we retired to the House of Tippler next-door for gin cocktails and more chat, of a perfumed nature and otherwise.
So whether you are based north or south of the river, it’s worth seeking out Roullier White for some brands you just can’t find anywhere else in the city and like us, why not enjoy some top quality ice-cream and cocktails at the same time?