Olfactoria On The Road – London Day Four

Yesterday evening was amazing! I had the good fortune to smell and hear all about L’Artisan Parfumeur in their London boutique at Covent Garden. This deserves its own post, so please check back to see lots of photos and my experiences there. Also I have very (very, very) interesting news about the line – more next week!

After that lovely meeting we went to dinner at an amazing chinese restaurant called Hakkasan. It is an incredible success, booked solid three sessions a night for the last ten years, a good thing we have such lovely friends in London to make it happen! Thanks for everything E. and F.! 😉

Today I made my last perfume trip around the city. First stop was Liberty, a department store in an amazingly beautiful venue that houses many interesting brands. I smelled a little into the Byredo line (not interested right now, sorry Byredo), tested most Le Labo’s (I liked Poivre, the London exclusive, and Labdanum, a cousin of Shalimar). I also tried Odin 01-04 and a few Comme des Garcons. I saw a little contingent of the CB-I hate perfume line for the first time, 1966-The Beach is a lovely summer scent, but I concluded that the old half-empty bottle of Bobbi Brown Beach would do just fine for this particular kind of craving.

After lunch at the stylish Sketch (try googling “Sketch Loos”, quite worth a look!) the last stop was Fortnum&Mason on Picadilly.
Thanks to Tara for this tip, they had really interesting lines available.
There is a fully equipped Caron counter, urns and all (finally got the chance to smell Farnesiana that Marina of PST loves so much), they carry Amouage, Micallef, Clive Christian, Maison Dorin, Xerjoff, Prada Exclusives among the usual suspects like Serge Lutens or Penhaligons. I tried Amaranthine, a Duchaufour creation, it shares some traits with Frapin 1697, I think. Closer investigation seems indicated!

Tonight is our last evening in London, we will go to a traditional pub, The Clarence.

The reason I had so much time to wander the city and investigate its every perfumed nook and cranny, was that my plans have been changed, but not by me.
I was enrolled at the London Institute of Fashion for the course most of you will probably know about – Understanding Fragrance, held by Denyse Beaulieu of Grain de Musc. Sadly, due to unforseen and certainly unfortunate circumstances the course got cancelled at the last minute, actually only the first day at first, then the second too, before they finally cancelled alltogether. I had been looking forward to this very much of course, so I was disappointed as well as furious at first at the unprofessionalism of it all. I had flown here especially after all and organized child care for my boys, my husband had closed his practice, all for this course.
I was in touch with Denyse through email since and she explained the whole, slightly surreal ordeal she went through. She was not allowed to enter the UK due to some absurd new regulations, it was not her fault. But I do blame the institution for not being sufficiently prepared for the situation.
The upside is I had more time to explore London, but the sad thing is that is quite likely impossible for me to attend the course at a later date this year, there is just too much else involved for me to just up and go when I would like.

Thank you all for coming with me on this trip, your comments were so lovely, I felt you were with me on my scented adventures. 🙂

About Olfactoria

I'm on a journey through the world of fragrance - come with me!
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27 Responses to Olfactoria On The Road – London Day Four

  1. Rose says:

    Poor Denyse! and I really don’t understand- she’s French Canadian isn’t she and Canadians are Commonwealth citizens, was it because she was working. What a shame for you and her but I am so glad you went to Liberty and Fortnums (two personal faves) and I’ve really enjoyed reading about London through anothers eyes as I see it so often every day

    • Olfactoria says:

      Apparently non-EU citizens are no longer allowed to work in British owned companies! Think about the stupidity of such a law! What about academia as just one example!?!
      But I really made the best of it! 🙂

  2. Marie says:

    I can practically feel your disappointment from here! What a shame. I’m so sorry you missed this opportunity and I hope a new one will emerge in the future.

  3. Ines says:

    I am very sorry to hear Denyse’s course was canceled. I would love to take it if I ever get a chance.
    I’m sure she did her best to arrive.

    But you had so much perfume time! 🙂 I wonder how many bottles you’re coming home with… 😉
    And I can’t wait to hear more about L’Artisan. Fumechat tonight or are you going to have a lot of fun your last evening in London?

    • Olfactoria says:

      Ines, I was incredibly restrained, only OJ Frangipani (Ta’if was a gift) and Dior Mitzah. But I will get an Amouage at home, since they are cheaper there, but it coumts as a London purchase. 😉

      • Undina says:

        Which Amouage are you getting?

        • Olfactoria says:

          Epic, most likely. 🙂

          • Undina says:

            Not my first choice but probably because I have a decant of this one 🙂 Though… If to think I don’t know right now which FB I’d buy. My dream – Amouage travel spray set with 3 (or 4? I do not remember how many they have in that set) different scents. But it’s a recurring dream for most of the brands that I like.

          • Olfactoria says:

            That would be perfect indeed! They have four vials in the travel set.
            Epic, Lyric and Memoir – I love them all, eventually I will have them all, it is a question of time and patience. 😉

  4. Victoria says:

    I am so sorry to hear this! How unfortunate and thoroughly disappointing! I feel for you and Denyse, and I am furious at the organization. Why didn’t they take time to figure the red tape before the class was announced in the first place (or isn’t it the job of such an organization to keep track of changing regulations)?

    Either way, enjoy your time in London! Go to St Martin-in-the-Fields (sometimes they hold classical music concerts there) and then be sure to stop by the atmospheric Café in the Crypt. I love it! The National Portrait Gallery is worth a visit too if you love seeing all of those dour, beautiful Tudors and other fascinating personalities captured on canvas.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Thank you, V!
      You are absolutely right, the university should have known better.

      Thank you for tips, I will have note them for next time though, I fly back tomorrow morning! 😦

  5. RH says:

    What a shame about the course! It really is frustrating to anticipate something and then be let down- So sorry that it happened to you. It would’ve been wonderful to read about your experience- Hopefully there’ll be another chance.

    I’m intrigued that the new Frapin has similarities with Amaranthine… would you mind elaborating the similarities if you don’t mind? 😀

    • Olfactoria says:

      I cannot say exactly what the similarities are, I just smelled it once, but as soon as I locate a sample, I will certainly let you know.
      Thank you for commiserating about my course!

  6. lady jane grey says:

    Oh, blimey, how disappointing it must be – I was myself thinking about attending that course some time in the future. Would have been perfect to hear about it from you. I understand you really needed the comforting food of mr. Pierre Gagnaire … (I’m a big foodie and he’s definitely one of my favorites).
    I’d be furious as well – but hey, Birgit, you made the absolutely best of it & had a wonderful time !

    • Olfactoria says:

      When you attend it sometime (if they let poor Denyse into the country again), you must write a guest post! 🙂

      • lady jane grey says:

        Sure I will !
        The whole issue is so ridiculous, the London Institute of Fashion would for sure have no problem to get the work permit for Denyse – but somebody there didn’t do his/her job properly. I wonder though that she (as french Canadian living in France) doesn’t have the French citizenship as well (all our friends in France with similar background are double citizens).

  7. Tara says:

    So pleased Fortnum & Mason was a worthwhile trip, I’ve been there twice with non-perfume lovers so never got the chance to get past the Carons – must remedy that some day. Very excited to hear about the L’Artisan news. I was a bit worried because they’ve closed all the stand-alone stores in London apart from the Covent Garden one. As for Amaranthine, I’m sure I have a partial sample of that which I’d be more than happy to put in the post to you?

    Once again it was a pleasure to meet you, Birgit. Have a good journey home!

    • Olfactoria says:

      Thank you, Tara, Fortnums was really an unexpected treasure trove.
      I am home again, it is so good to see the boys, but a few more days wouldn’t have been so bad either… 😉

  8. Suzanne says:

    What a huge bummer that they canceled the class, and the whole rigamarole with not allowing Denyse in the country to teach it. That kind of regulation (legislation?) is just ridiculous.

    But, to echo what others said here, you very much did make the most of your trip! And what a wonderful trip it’s been! Thanks for taking us along, Birgit.

  9. deeHowe says:

    Poivre! I love that Le Labo so much, if they didn’t require the promise of my first-born, I would own a bottle.

    What a lovely time you are having, despite the disappointment of the course cancellation. 🙂

    • Olfactoria says:

      Why didn’t you say so, I could have gotten it for you!!!!! Argh, I was standing there with a bottle of Poivre in (and on) my hand, not knowing that you would love it so.
      But it should be no problem to have my friend in London buy it for you, let me know!!! 🙂

  10. annemariec says:

    Adding my voice to the others. Would say more but kids are interrupting. Enjoy your return to your lovely boys.

  11. Undina says:

    I’m sure everything turned out for the best. Maybe you just needed that (relatively) relaxed time off. There will be other courses and opportunities.

    • Olfactoria says:

      You are right, I really enjoyed the down-time. But the lack of professional behaviour of the University is appalling, they still have not replied to my email, just refunded the money without a word. Not particularly polite…

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