Post by Ainslie Walker
Hi all. Do you feel overwhelmed when perfume shopping? I often do, but not today in Peony, Melbourne.
Peony Melbourne: Haute Parfumerie Adventure
Ever-so-stylish Jill greeted me as I entered, along with an almighty hit of heady fresh jasmine flower, which were cascading, displayed in the window. The interior oozed sophistication and opulence, nothing dusty or out of place. Themed black and white, a nod to French couture and boudoir, sparkling bottles everywhere, super cool touches of quirky humour. Jill has put her heart and soul into this little luxe haven.
With complimentary sparkling fruit juice in hand complete with black and white striped straw, I began my Peony, Melbourne journey…
From the Olfactive Studio stand, the zesty Still Life called to me like a caiparinia on a blazing summers day. Yuzu, elemi and pepper -pink, black and Sichuan pepper. Star anise and galbanum. Dark rum, cedar and ambrox. I absolutely love the lemony citrus combo with slightly soured spice and pepper, almost sherbet fizz working on top of the deeper wood, amber and rum notes.
Jill explained the range is inspired by photography – Still life from a self-portrait, by Frederic Lebain, which was inspiration for perfumer, Dora Baghriche-Arnaud. A boxed “discovery kit”, containing 5 x 4ml for $55 was in my hands: KERR-CHING!!…Purchase #1.
To my left was Ormonde Jayne, I grabbed Ormonde Woman and spritzed it onto a Peony branded blotter. Cardamom, coriander and grass oil. Black hemlock, violet and jasmine absolute. Vetiver, cedar wood, amber and sandalwood YUM. Love at first sniff. Beautiful. Womanly, magical, floral and herbaceous. The bottle feels weighty in my hand as I reluctantly place it back. A boxed “discovery set” ($95) 12 x 2ml landed on the counter -Purchase #2
Jill offers gently delivered advice, then leaves me to my own devices. She is unobtrusive, yet there when I need her. She guides my experience and lets it unfold organically. I am in awe of how many Peony-exclusive brands stocked that I never have had the chance to smell anywhere else in Australia.
Passing the handpicked Hermes selection, I re-sniff Hiris, and Eau de Pamplemousse Rose, two of my favorites of the range.
At Heeley, Cocobella disappoints – the notes sounded better than I experience…too thin. I discover Hippie Rose. Fresh rose and patchouli, it is rose-velvet. Dry down reminds me of a less-dirty Agent Provocateur original fragrance. Jill hands me a sample size to try later, as I’m not sure.
I smell ALL the Cire Truedon candles from their glass cloches that house them. I pop “Ernesto” on the counter, embarrassed at the pile forming. Purchase #3
In the front corner, I’m right besides the Mona Di Orio range. Gah! “I’ve read about these too!” Les Nombres D’or Violette Fumee stops me in my tracks. So elegant, violet, soft but not sweet. Mediterranean lavender, Calabrian bergamot, oak moss from the Balkans, Egyptian violet flowers and leaves, Turkish rose, Haitian vetiver, clary sage, opoponax, cashmeran and myrrh.
Jill tells me the story of how before Mona Di Orio sadly passed away; she designed this rose/tobacco/suede and violet piece for her Co-founder Jeroenu Oude Sougoteu, whom after she died, generously decided to share it as a tribute to her. Jill is full of these stories. She really knows her stuff!
It’s been an hour and 45 minutes of serious olfactory fun. As I pay for my items, Jill shoves more mystery samples in my bag, and I scurry off happy, loaded with even more new things to discover when I get home.
Ainslie Walker X