Tag Archives: Bloom

Undina in London at Last!

I started reading Undina’s Looking Glass when it first appeared on the blogosphere six years ago.  I’ve long been keen to meet Undina so I was extremely happy when she wrote to say she and her Very Significant Other would be visiting London from their home in San Francisco.  If only Rusty could have come too…

 

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Rusty: Have submarine, will travel?

 

We met outside Harrods just as it opened at 11.30 am on a sunny Sunday. Undina made me feel at ease immediately and her still jet-lagged vSO very accommodatingly wandered around the store as we hit the perfume trail.

Undina doesn’t publish her photograph online but you can see below what we got up to.

 

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First stop, the 6th floor and the rarefied atmosphere of the Salon de Parfum. Our timing was good because they had opened an additional six fragrance boutiques two weeks before, including Penhaligon’s, Armani Privé and Frederic Malle Editions de Parfums.

 

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Undina had wanted to check out the MDCI Parfums line while in London and already owns Chypre Palatin. Six fragrances are stocked in the Roja Dove perfumerie (three feminines and three masculines). We liked Un Coeur en Mai the most and when Undina said it reminded her of another perfume, I was very pleased with myself for spotting it resembled Chamade. Both are spring green florals with a pollen-y feel.

 

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Roja Dove Haute Parfumerie

 

Guerlain’s  Muguet 2017 is a gorgeous lily of valley with rose, jasmine and green notes. If it were not for the sky high price I’d have happily bought a bottle.

 

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The new addition to L’Art et la Matière collection, Joyeuse Tubéreuse, surprised us by being not very tuberose-like. It’s a pretty floral bouquet with just a hint of super fresh tuberose. When the description says ‘airy’ (below), it’s not kidding. After about an hour it was extremely quiet.

 

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Above is the very Kilian-esque SA modelling the new Black Phantom. A boozy, woody fragrance with notes of rum, coffee, vetiver, cyanide, sugar cane and sandalwood.

Below is the Harrods exclusive Midnight in London which is £15,000 for the whole case (no more will be available).  The fragrance is a very nice mimosa-led floral which Undina liked best out of everything we tried. Oh the burden of expensive taste.

 

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By Kilian’s Midnight in London

 

I was excited that Frederic Malle had come to the Salon de Parfums because since my visit to the Burlington Arcade store with Val the Cookie Queen, I’ve been a little obsessed with the line.

 

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Of course I had to try out what the SA called ‘The Time Machine’. It’s a temperature controlled space for trying out fragrances in a diffused way.  Undina suggested spraying En Passant into it as it is the most fleeting. Sadly the first time if was so fleeting we could smell nothing, but on a second try we picked it up and it was lovely.

Next I tried Iris Poudre in the machine as I’m considering a full bottle purchase. This novel perfume delivery system is a bit of fun and maybe you do get a better idea than when you stick your nose onto a scent strip.

Undina disliked Superstitious on the card but loved it on me so that’s okay then.

 

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At Armani Privé we tried the Harrods exclusive which I have sadly zero recollection of. The good news is, however, that the coveted Limited Edition lipstick iris, La Femme Bleue, is coming back and will be permanent, if not widely available.

 

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You could go just to look at the gorgeous interiors…

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Back on the ground floor we went into the Black Hall and made a bee-line for Ormonde Jayne as it’s a favourite line of Undina’s and I own a couple of their perfumes too.  We tried yet another Harrods exclusive. This one is called Amber Royal and is a very pleasant floral amber.

Montabaco is their best seller and the one the SA told me the brand is now most known for. It’s a wearable, unisex tobacco scent but is part of the pricey Four Corners collection so the 50ml is £195. 

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At the Amouage counter I was impressed with Bracken Woman which smells exactly as you would expect and hope. Quite a contrast with the pink bottle. The notes are wild berries, fern, lily, narcissus, chamomile, leather, patchouli, vetiver and birch.

 

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Undina noted the placement of Bond No. 9 by the toilets…

 

After lunch we met Vanessa of Bonkers about Perfume at Bloom in Covent Garden. It was so lovely to see her after she couldn’t join us for Val’s visit.

 

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Bloom looked quite a bit different. They have removed the glass cabinets which makes everything easily accessible now.  A good move.

 

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Vanessa and I enjoyed trying Hummingbird, a floral fragrance in the Zoologist line authored by Shelley Waddington of En Voyage Perfumes. My favourite is still the fur coat of Civet (also by Shelley).

 

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Vanessa tried quite a few from indie brand Imaginary Authors.

 

 

Undina has been trying to make her mind up as to which formulation of Mito by Vero Profumo to purchase. We all preferred the Voile in a side-by-side test.

 

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Bloom had a tiny bit left of a sample of the forthcoming tobacco perfume from Vero, Naja, for Undina to try. I can’t wait to own a bottle.

We had tea and cake at Patisserie Valerie (it seems to be the perfumistas cafe of choice) and then I said my farewells. I would have loved to stay longer with them all but the day and my cold were catching up on me. All the same it was wonderful to spend much of the day with Undina and her v.SO and to see Vanessa again.

I look forward to seeing Undina and her v.SO again one of these days, either in London or San Franciso (it’s on the list!)

 

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A London Sniffathon with Tina G of APJ – Photo Essay

I was so excited to finally meet Tina G from Australian Perfume Junkies for the first time last weekend. We’ve been virtual friends for a while now – we were introduced by our mutual pal Portia – and I really like the way she writes about fragrance. Tina’s been travelling across Europe and I couldn’t wait for her to get to London

For our intensive tour of some of the city’s fragrant hot-spots, Tina made the decision to concentrate on perfumes not available back home in Sydney, which was very wise. Believe me when I say the following highlights only cover a fraction of what we tried.

 

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Tina and I very happy to be together at Les Senteurs

First on our list was Les Senteurs where the lovely Murray spent ages filling us in on new-to-us brands.  Tina was drawn to the Tom Daxton display and we tested his new fresh floral, Magnolia Heights. I was keen to try the latest addition to Frederic Malle’s Editions des Parfums, Monsieur, which was not animalic the way I envisioned but a very suave patchouli.

Murray took us through Irish brand Cloon Keen Atelier from which Tina was intrigued by Castana which features the novel pairing of vetiver and chestnut, while I particularly enjoyed the bergamot tea of Infusion Assam.

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Tina hadn’t seen French house Les Eaux Primordiales before so we tried all of those, out of which she loved Iris Palladium and almost went for a full bottle. The whole range was very well done, including a vetiver and rhubarb scent in Abstraction Raisonnee and a very natural, wearable lavender with blackberry in Moment Perpetuel.

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Les Eaux Primordiales

Tina is a fan of minty notes so Murray suggested Geranium Pour Monsieur by Frederic Malle which she liked, but was most impressed by Menthe Fraiche from Heeley.

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Murray and Tina

Tina liked Ambre Russe and Tabac Tabou from Parfum de Empire, the latter being a great hay/narcissus/tobacco scent (review to follow). I was very taken with Yuzu Fou. I rarely click with citrus fragrances but this is very concentrated with loads of depth.

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After a meander through Marylebone we found Perfumer H, the new venture of Lyn Harris (of Miller Harris) which has been open for about 8 months now. The store smells of essential oils which is really lovely compared to the synthetic fug of mainstream fragrance shops. The very engaging Caroline told us about the Perfumer H concept. Lyn Harris is really going back to the craft, mixing up the fragrances in a small lab on the premises.

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Caroline in the lab at Perfumer H

They release two collections a year containing five perfumes (each from a different fragrance family), one for Spring/Summer and one for Autumn/Winter. When they’re retired from the current collection they go into the Archive but are still available to purchase. I wear perfume in line with the seasons so this idea appealed to me.

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The current collection of Cologne, Rain Cloud, Atlas, Leather and Musk

We tried the current collection (released in February) and were very impressed with all of them but particularly Atlas, Leather and Musk. On the other side of the room Caroline showed us the Laboratory Editions which are available to buy outright for your sole use (from £1,500) but until then, are available for sale as single bottles (from £140 for 100ml). So if you fall in love with one, you better start saving or stockpiling. From these we tried Ink, Smoke and a few others.

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Tina in front of the Laboratory Editions

Tina tried four Perfumer H fragrances on skin – Leather, Velvet, Atlas and Musk. I liked the cottony iris of Musk the best and as It happened, this is the one she decided to buy. The hand blown blue bottles are gorgeous but you can buy the perfumes in ordinary bottles for a lot less, which is what Tina did as it’s better for transporting home.

Next on the list was Selfridges where we enjoyed salt beef sandwiches before hitting the fragrance floor. After a pit-stop at Chanel we went to the Dior fragrance boutique. Tina hadn’t seen Les Elixirs Precieux before so we sniffed all four (Oud, Rose, Musc and Ambre). They are concentrated oils for layering and Rose is stunning, but so is the price at £225 for 3ml.

I was eager to try Dior’s new Le Colle Noire from La Collection Privée because it’s also a rose. It’s very pretty but I couldn’t detect anything particularly exclusive about it and I like my roses with more depth. There were no samples available but to my and Tina’s amazement the SA offered to spray the lining of my leather jacket. Thanks but no thanks!

 

 

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Dior La Collection Privée

Union sources its materials from around the UK and Tina had been impressed by her friend’s bottle of Celtic Fire so we went through the range of five fragrances. We liked Gunpowder Rose a lot and although tempted, Tina didn’t buy smoky Celtic Fire in the end. The heavy bottles were a factor.

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Union at Selfridges

Tina spotted A Lab on Fire so we sampled a few of those – including What We Do in Paris is Secret – which were surprisingly mainstream in scent. I was also disappointed to find you couldn’t pull the trigger on the Moschino Fresh bottle but had to take off the top and use the bog standard sprayer. Shame.

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Off to Covent Garden and Bloom next. Tina had been the first to tell me about British brand Beaufort and picked up a candle of 1805 Tonnerre for her friend back home. She tried all three fragrances in the line and admired Vi et Armis, which is way too much spicy smoke for me, though very striking.  Owner Oxsana kindly gave us a sneak preview of the forthcoming Beaufort release Lignum Vitae which is, to my surprise, a gourmand. We also tried a few from Turkish perfume house Nishane after which I got nose fatigue and left Tina to browse some more.

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Tina at Bloom, Covent Garden

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We finished off this fantastic day at Aqua Bar on the 32rd floor of The Shard where we met Mazz, a long-time friend of both Tina and Portia. I know Tina is partial to a cocktail and it’s hard to beat the views from here. I also love their Charcoal Cobbler cocktail which has charcoal sugar around the rim of the glass. I drank it rather too quickly and went home on the tube tired but merry.

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The view!

Perfume is a lot of fun and meeting up with perfume friends like Tina is just the best.

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The London weather did me proud!

Do you already love, or like the sound of, any of the perfumes mentioned here?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you already love, or like the sound of, any of the perfumes mentioned here?

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