Jaunty Capers, Cemeteries and The Rose That Got Away: London July 2014


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.

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Les senteurs Val 2014 #1



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 …….

Flowers Val 2014 #1

Gorilla Val 2014 #1

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.

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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.

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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.

Cemetery Val 2014 #6

Cemetery Val 2014 #1

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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.


CQ xxx

All photos donated by Val the Cookie Queen

30 thoughts on “Jaunty Capers, Cemeteries and The Rose That Got Away: London July 2014

  1. You lot are freaking crazy. I am so glad to have been able to live this adventure vicariously Val. THANK YOU for bringing us along and taking so many happy snaps. XXX


    • Oh Portia! It was really great. The older we (I) get the less new friends we (I) make and getting to know Tara and Vanessa is a blessing from heaven. 🙂


  2. How I wish I could have sniffed London with you. I was in London in July, but exploring perfume shops would have been better with perfumista company.
    Thanks for all the photos too.
    Oh, and cemeteries do have their own fascination, I tracked down Nijinsky in Paris, very moving.


    • Hi Jackie!! I had no idea Portia would put up all the photos I sent! Yes, exploring perfume shops with other perfumistas is definitely more fun than on your own. Highgate cemetery was fantastic. I plan on paying my yearly dues and becoming a Friend of Highgate. Good to see you! xxxxx


  3. What a wonderful trip. Thanks for sharing it with us. I LOVE the Eau de Magnolia! Lucky you on scoring such a big bottle!


    • Kandice! Do you LOVE it? Me too! I have worn it pretty much non-stop since I bought it. It is soooo much richer than many would lead you to believe. At least that is my experience with it. I also have a theory that it will be just as lovely in the winter months. We will find out soon enough! Yep, I am lucky to have the big bottle, but to be honest it is hardly worth buying the smaller bottles from FM – you pay comparatively little for the extra 50 mls when you get the 100ml bottle. So nice to see you regularly on APJ. Love, Val xxx


      • Thanks for the tip, Val. Right now my budget limits me to small decants, but if I ever get the chance to splurge on a FB of Eau de Magnolia I’ll keep that in mind 🙂


  4. *Huge sigh* This made me so happy Val. I read it with a smile on my face from start to finish. I could never get tired of re-living those fabulous couple of days.

    You turned it into a riotous, fragrant faity-tale starring Callum the Dashing, Nick Flamingo and the Rose That Got Away.

    Too, too wonderful. Thank-you.


    • I have been reliving them too. Like being a kid. I CANNOT wait for the next Epic Sniffing Tour. November on the cards Benjamin will be waiting for us ;)……….. Loads of love xxxxxx


  5. Hello, terrible news about the Tobacco Rose. It would be lovely to hear from Les Senteurs (*ahem, Callum*) when they get down to the last bottle or two of something rather than after they sell out…
    Anyway, all the Amouage Attars and all the extraits at Dubai airport shop have had to be taken off sale because they smashed EU regulations into smithereens. They were so truly sadly deeply illegal that no amount of tweaking would get them EU cosmetics safety certificates and the Emirates have recently decided to be compliant. Ridiculous, but just one more ridiculous perfume rule.
    They had until this month. Technically, but finding out they were being diluted and sold on ebay might have been an influence too.


  6. Hi Sarah! Oh it surely wasn’t Callum´s fault. I could easily have asked him to keep one for me. Indeed he offered to get another one but time was short for me. I have a little to be getting on with and am planning to return before too much longer and will give all and sundry fair warning. Thanks for the Amouage Attar info – makes sense. Ridiculous hardly covers it. Oh well! Sooooo nice to see you here! Will plan a visit to you next time. Always hard to fit everything in. Love from the Austrian mountains, Bussi. Val xxxx


    • It was a good adventure Tatiana. It´s what keeps me going as I make cookie dough balls – the excitement of something to look forward to!! xxx


  7. Great yarn! And I have to say, despite personal trauma of ‘the rose getting away’, it fills my little perfumista’s soul with joy to hear of these gorgeous ‘fumes selling out! And the Empress Mitsouko in the cemetery, priceless!


    • Hello Marion! Ia sat here typing this well spritzed with Tobacco Rose. Already planning on how to get some more. It would be easy if the Royal Mail would relax their stupid rules. Grrrrr. xxx


  8. just the perfect post! my favorite parts of your day are red lipstick, single minded perfume shopping, friendship, sniffing a stranger and of course a graveyard.

    thanks for the ride ❤


    • Einsof! I am laughing here. Thanks a lot. The cemetery was the icing on the cake. It really was. And – yeah, sniffing strangers. Well with mega wafts of Mitsouko what else can you do? I am sure I was the only one there doing it. Haha. Cheers for dropping by. Hugs. xxx


  9. Like Tara, I read this with a smile on my face from the seasonal variances of jeans length and bare feet right through to the Agatha Christie cemetery guide in vintage Mitsouko. The Mount Everest skiing reference was a particular highlight, as you might imagine ;), while you of course had ‘magnolias up your nose’ for much of our afternoon and – it seems – beyond. I just love your perky, deadpan style, and it was also great to hear more about your doings on Wed and Thursday morning. We will get Tralala. You are welcome to Chucky Child, I’d be happy with my share in a hip flask. Roll on November!


    • Perhaps we could split the head and the bow between us? I got 12 hours out of the stuff yesterday. Can´t decide if that is good or bad. Will repeat in cooler weather. Oh yes – lots of magnolia up my nose. I still cannot stop wearing it. I´ll bring you a hip flask anyway. A big virtual hug. xxxxx


  10. Hi Val! Sounds like you guys had a lovely couple of days exploring fragrances. Yay! And you picked up Eau de Magnolia!!! I love it, has been a great winter scent but it sounds like it may blossom in summer…. I didn’t find it at hefty as you describe, but it is gorgeous. Thanks for the trip update, fun!
    Tina xx


    • Hello TinaG!! Indeed I did. And have not regretted it for a single second. I can´t wait to wear it int he winter. It lasts for hours on my skin. As Sandra from OT would say – I spray it lavishly and it rewards me well. Perhaps you could join us one day?? xxxxxx


      • Oh…I would dearly love to join you guys for a meet up one day… I am currently planning a trip to Europe/England/Scotland for July 2015, so you never know! 🙂

        Tina xx


  11. Looks like good times. I’m another lover of cemetery tours so I especially liked that part. I’ve toured cemeteries in New Orleans and Savannah and find them to be so informative and fun. Strange thing to say isn’t it? But it’s true. Enjoy your Magnolia!


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