Bright and early last Saturday morning I met up with a gaggle of perfume lovers in east London’s trendy Spitalfields. (Perhaps we should have our own collective noun, a “flacon of perfumistas” maybe?). After a coffee and croissant we set off for Angela Flanders‘ perfumery, just a stroll away in Artillery Passage.
Angela opened her first shop in the famous Columbia Road Flower Market in 1985 and sells her own perfume compositions as well as home fragrances and skin care preparations. There are about 40 perfumes in total across three collections (Signature Collection, Collection Florale and Collection Noire) including six male fragrances.
Angela’s perfume Precious One won the FiFi Award in 2012 for Best New Independent Fragrance. It’s a warm green chypre, highlighting notes of jasmine, tuberose, oakmoss and vetiver. Other best sellers include the citrusy Mandarin & Mint, the floral oriental Ottoman and the whiskey infused Aqua Alba.
Second up was Bloom, located nearby on Hanbury Street. This is a boutique offering a range of niche perfumes as well as other scented products. Brands stocked include Vero Profumo, Parfumerie Générale, Huitieme Art, Grossmith, Blood Concept, Ann Gérard, Nasomatto, Six Scents, Jovoy and Néz A Néz.
I took the opportunity to try the Ann Gérard perfumes, which I’d heard lots of good things about. I tried two on skin, of the three available. Cuir de Nacre is a sort of “new car” leather scent and Perle de Mousse is a striking green chypre with lily of the valley.
The latter is really well done and includes notes of pink pepper, aldehydes, bergamot, green mandarin, galbanum, ivy, lily of the valley, hawthorn, rose, clove, jasmine, gardenia, lentiscus absolute, ambergris, musk and vanilla. You can buy samples in store at two pounds a time.
We then trooped off to the tube station and headed to London’s West End. Here we stopped off at Geo F. Trumper, a renowned gentlemen’s traditional barber with an unparalleled range of male grooming products. Their best selling colognes are Extract of Limes, Sandalwood and Eucris. The latter is noted for its association with James Bond and features notes of blackcurrant, cumin, coriander, jasmine, muguet, sandalwood, musk and moss.
Trumper’s has been in existence since 1875 and its range of top class shaving paraphernalia, balms, brushes, soaps and shower gels is really impressive and reeks of old world elegance. Several of my fellow ‘fume fans walked out with something and I don’t blame them one bit.
Three o’clock was time for tea and scones at the world famous store, Fortnum & Mason on Piccadilly. Once we were fully refreshed, the perfume sharing and sampling continued. Perfumer Sarah McCartney generously shared her range, 4160 Tuesdays, with us. She began making bespoke perfumes that reminded people of happy times and now three of her fragrances; Sunshine & Pancakes, Urara’s Tokyo Cafe and The Lion Cupboard, are available at Les Senteurs, 2 Seymour Place. Sarah’s perfumes have an interesting quirkiness to them which is reflected in their gloriously offbeat names. Sunshine & Pancakes started out as a bespoke “happy times” scent for Sarah’s mother-in-law. It’s a stunner, evoking bright, carefree days filled with joy. Its notes include lemon, jasmine, honey, vanilla and cedarwood.
A wander around the perfume department on the 2nd floor revealed the Caron urns and a few of hard to find brands. Fragrance houses available include SoOud, Xerjoff, Clive Christian, Creed, Grossmith, Nasomatto, Juliette Has and Gun, Lorenzo Villoresi, Robert Piguet and Illuminum. I guess a store with a Royal Warrant must stock the brand that provided the Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding scent.
This is where we parted ways as the evening drew in. I’d like to thank the fabulous Pia (of Volatile Fiction and known ad Nukapai on Basenotes) for organising such a fun event and the following fragrance fanatics for making it such an enjoyable day: Sarah McCartney, Lisa, Vanessa (of Bonkers About Perfume), Nick (one third of Fragrant Reviews), Karen Gilbert (who runs perfumery workshops) and Liam (of Personal Odour). I very much hope we can do it again some time.
Now it’s Giveaway time!
I would like to share 4 perfume samples from Angela Flanders Perfume and a decant of Sunshine & Pancakes from 4160 Tuesdays by Sarah McCartney with one lucky winner. You can enter from anywhere in the world by stating that you’d like to be included in the comments. The draw is open until March 18, Midnight GMT and Olfactoria will announce the winner on March 19 on this blog.
Please be aware that I cannot be responsible for the vagaries of customs regulations or replace the package if it goes astray.
Good luck everyone!