Post by Val the Cookie Queen
I couldn´t have been more excited as I got up on Wednesday. Finally the dreamed of, talked about, preplanned days were here.
Unlike Vanessa from the fabulous Bonkers About Perfume, I have no clothing crises. For I have none. Not to speak of anyway. Long jeans in winter. Cut-off jeans in summer. I prefer to spend my money on red lipstick, and the odd bag of groceries for the family. When my shoes hurt I go barefoot.
Jaunty Capers, Cemeteries and The Rose That Got Away
Random ramblings from a week in London
I left for Les Senteurs from Muswell Hill, the infamous address, early enough to not be late for my date with the gorgeous Tara from Olfactoria`s Travels. We both arrived early and waited for Callum the Dashing to arrive and let us in. Perfumistas waiting on the doorstep.
We hit the sofa talking. After a while Flamingo Nick, Penhaligon´s Fragrant Ambassador arrived, bringing a burst of sunshine into the room with him.I already knew I was going to buy Malle`s Eau de Magnolia and asked Callum to put a large bottle on the side. The small ones were sold out and there was no tester to triple reconfirm that I wanted it. I would pick it up the next day when Vanessa was with us too. So onto the much praised Papillons. I was so excited to try these and planned to purchase one. I sprayed with gay abandon and waited …….
Nick, Tara and I headed to the Gorilla Perfume Gallery for the presentation of the new 12 fragrances. Entitled: Death, Decay and Renewal. A pop-up in the basement of Phonica Records on Poland Street. (See Nick Gilbert<< JuMP) This was quite the display. Mushrooms, sandalwood smuggling, stroboscopic dream machines designed by William Burroughs ……… Clearly NOT Guerlain.
Starting to fall in love with Papillon’s Tobacco Rose, we headed on for tea and sandwiches and a quick Liberty´s heist. Nick scored himself a bottle of Superoud from Comme de Garçons and headed off into the sunset. Fear not, we would meet again.
Selfridge´s and iced matcha, including a wicked brain freeze, saw Tara and I heading home.
That evening after spraying again I decided I would buy the Tobacco Rose. Because it is beguiling.
Tara and Vanessa pretty much covered this second day of fragrant flitterings. (Bonkers About Perfume and Olfactoria´s Travels) What can I add? The Guerlain Royal Extract at 280 quid for 125 mls – 900 bottles limited edition, exclusive to Harrod`s? A pretty pale, kind of watered down Fairy Liquid colour? I think not. Based on the exquisite Attrape Coeur, but missed the mark. (All opinions totally my own!)
Now I was not exactly kicking and screaming when I went up to Roja Dove´s Barbie Palace, but it was close. Bright and shiny and no room to swing a cat. The visit was saved by Benjamin, the on hand sales assistant. He was so nice, totally knowledgable, and actually seemed to think he could turn around my preconceived ideas of RD and the other fragrances for the “Bros”. He could not. It would be remiss of me not to say that I did allow him to give me a pretty decent spray of the “semi-bespoke” (can you hear me laughing????) RD Private Collection No 9. Limited to 50 bottles. It was actually pretty nice for the first 20 minutes. Unlike Benjamin who was nice for the whole time.
Tara and I went to the Amouage stand alone store, hoping to try the Amouage Attars. Sadly because of people buying them, diluting them with alcohol and then selling them on EBay by the millilitre they have been removed. How annoying is that? Very.
“I`d ski naked down Mount Everest” to meet Vanessa, but luckily we only had to go to Covent Garden Tube station. Long lunch, including a number of jaunty capers, and a good chinwag and off to Penhaligon´s to meet up, once again with our very favourite Fragrant Ambassador. I was wonderfully surprised by the sensual beauty of Tralala and can see myself having a bottle one day. The Chucky Child´s Play bottle decoration was a little haunting, but I think I could get over it. Nick sent me off with a good stash of Penhaligon´s samples and I look forward to getting to know them.
Off we went to Les Senteurs. My heart beating a little faster as I prepared to make my purchases. We flopped once again on the sofa, kicked off shoes, fixed blisters and I bought Eau de Magnolia. Straight out of the fridge. I then asked for my Tobacco Rose. SOLD OUT.
WHAT??? You have got to be bloody kidding me Callum. But it´s intoxicating, boozy, and kind of jammy. There are two different roses, Bulgarian and Rose Centifolia. Oakmoss lurks, a great favourite of mine. It is smoky and beeswaxy. Thick without being sweet. It lasts for hours and never stays the same. I don´t have a rose. And I want this. For the moment though it´s the rose that got away. I should have ordered it the day before but I was trying to be sensible. Sigh. I compensate by spraying a ton of Magnolia and pass out with the beauty. I´ll live.
We spent the next three hours, or was it more, having tea and eating Indian food. Talking and sharing more about ourselves. Building friendships.
And so it ended. All leaving from the same station, Tara to the left and Vanessa and me to the right. The trains came in so fast we had no time to say goodbye. But it´s only Adieu.
The following day I went to Highgate Cemetery. This trip was on my Bucket List. The place absolutely blew my mind. The guide was straight out of an Agatha Christie and the lady that was constantly by me in the group was wearing Mitsouko. It was an extremely heavy and lovely version, so I am guessing it might have been an earlier incarnation, because it sure doesn´t smell like that now. What a perfect ending to my aromatic and perfumed adventures.
But it wasn´t quite the end was it? Antonio Gardoni from Bogue Perfumes met up and shared a coconut water with me, including copious sprays of MAAI. Comrades! – MAAI is not for the faint-hearted. More later ……..
I am now back to making cookie dough.
All photos donated by Val the Cookie Queen