Last Autumn Harrods opened their luxurious Salon de Parfums on the sixth floor. It’s essentially a long row of fragrance boutiques – one for each brand – which highlight their most exclusive collections.
Other high-end lines (such as Cartier’s Les Heures de Parfum) are on shelves dotted the opposite wall. The Roja Dove Haute Parfumerie has moved up here from the Urban Retreat and has the largest space.
On arrival I made a bee-line for Chanel in order to try the new addition to Les Exclusifs: Misia (pronounced Me-sha). All the SAs I spoke to in the Salon de Parfums were extremely helpful and friendly and Sophie at Chanel was no exception. We sat down and she gave me the whole Misia backstory.
As you may have read by now, Misia Sert was the best friend and confidante of Gabrielle Chanel. They were both born in impoverished circumstances and went on to improve their positions in life exponentially. Misia pulled Gabrielle out of her depression following the death of her great love, Captain Arthur Edward ‘Boy’ Capel. She was a great patron of the arts and was the muse for a number of artists.
Misia takes its inspiration from the aroma of the theatre’s backstage as well as Chanel’s iconic cosmetics. It was composed by Olivier Polge who took over the reins as Chanel’s in-house perfumer from his father, Jacques, on the 1st January this year.
The fragrance features violet, rose, orris, tonka bean, benzoin and a “hint of leather”.
Sophie laid out a tray of items which represent the main facets found in Misia. She gave me a violet crystal to taste (sweet!) and some iris scented face powder to put on my skin. She then passed me a lipstick which is portrayed by the waxy accord in Misia and I sniffed one of their blushers, which are all scented with May rose.
Finally, Sophie put some tonka bean and benzoin on paper strips which are used in Misia to capture the “soft heaviness” of velvet theatre curtains. It was a fun way to be introduced to the perfume.
Misia is pretty much what I had imagined it would be: a lipstick smeared, powdery/creamy cosmetic fragrance with candied violets. It’s incredibly well blended with a refined playfulness about it. I’m sure it will be a winner for them, although Sophie did tell me it tends to polarise people.
If you like cosmetic perfumes I think Misia is a must-try. I would caution that I’ve found it rather quiet and short-lived, so consider giving it a good test-run before purchasing.
Aside from Chanel, I’m a big Guerlain fan so I had to pop into their boutique before I left. Here they had their newly released wedding perfume which is named Le Bouquet de la Mariée in extrait concentration and Le Plus Beau Jour de ma Vie in Eau de Parfum.
It includes notes of angelica, pink pepper, citrus, sugared almonds, rose, orange blossom, patchouli, vanilla, white musk and incense. On paper both came across to me as sweet white floral bouquets weighted towards orange blossom.
The Guerlain boutique also has the Harrods exclusive Royal Extract and their flavoured teas. Although they only had Habit Rouge and Orchidée Impériale in stock at the time, the tea collection also includes Shalimar, L’Heure Bleue, La Petit Robe Noire, Liu and Nérolia Bianca.
The bespoke and semi-bespoke services at Guerlain are something else. They release five semi-bespoke fragrances a year and one of them can be exclusively yours for £27,000. For that you get 27 standard bottles as well as a 490ml Baccarat bottle.
Le Parfum Sur Mesure costs £36,000 for which a Guerlain perfumer will meet with you in London or Paris in order to create your bespoke perfume. It will be completely tailored to your preferences and the process can take up to a year.
Other brands with their own boutique at the Salon de Parfums are Kilian, Tom Ford, Creed, Clive Christian, Xerjoff, Ex Nihilo, Henry Jacques and Dior.
If you’re coming to London you may fancy going for a nose around. Considering the SAs are all so nice there’s no need to feel awkward if you don’t intend to buy anything. But yes, I did come away with a 75ml bottle of Misia.
For your chance to win a 4ml mini of Misia please leave a comment letting me know what your favourite Chanel fragrance is and why.
The giveaway is open to all until next Tuesday April 28, midnight and the winner will be announced on the blog on Wednesday, April 29.
It has become ridiculously difficult to post perfume to and from the UK so I cannot be responsible if the package goes astray but I will do my best.