London perfume safari, Vogue Italia

My article on London’s perfume hot spots for Vogue Italia, May 2019

My article on London’s perfume hot spots for Vogue Italia, May 2019

Paris may be the cradle of haute perfumerie but something exciting is going on in London. Forget the antique-pharmacy notions, the British isles is now a source of distinctly modern perfumes of excellent quality. For example, take the fragrances of Irish label Cloon Keen, Londoner Tom Daxon, Lyn Harris of Perfumer H as your inspiration - all brought up outside the insular world of French perfume.


Lyn Harris is behind Perfumer H, a smart atelier in Marylebone where bespoke and seasonal fragrances are sold in hand-blown bottles and candle glass that can be personalised with the customers initials engraved in gold. It is the epitome of chic. The founder of Miller Harris Perfumer London, Lyn opened Perfumer H with the intention to give insight into the craft of perfume making. A visit here is intimate, where scents are recommended according to skin type and formulas are dispensed whilst you wait. Part store, part lab, the modernist interior provides a designer setting – less glitzy, more serene than Parisian counterparts. Every winter and summer, delight in new seasonal editions. This summer’s white floral, Suede, starts with top notes of cucumber pulp, violet leaf and Tunisian neroli with a heart of ylang ylang, cassie absolute France and orange blossom, resting on a base of benjoin Siam, musk and white suede. Divine.


Part of the rise of bespoke beauty, this open-access fragrance lab is as much a space to learn, explore and practice the art of perfumery, as it is to sample great scents. Here, you can unleash your olfactory vision at one of their group perfume workshops, or treat yourself to a one-to-one session where you get to create a completely unique scent to take home. Classically trained, Emmanuelle Moeglin is the ‘nose’ and founder of Experimental Perfume Club. “I began my journey at one of the world’s leading perfumery schools – the prestigious ISIPCA in Versailles – where I learnt the science and secrets of fragrance creation,” Emmanuelle says. “As the creative director and in-house perfumer at EPC, I have a desire to bring the wonders of fragrance to the world. Exciting, exacting, exploratory. Just how scent should be.” The brand debuted with Layers\01 - a 6-line collection of scents, designed to either wear alone or blend together. Choose from Incense/Bergamot, Jasmine/Osmanthus and Sandalwood/Musk. Layers\02 will launch in May.


Jo Malone, the founder of Jo Loves and formerly Jo Malone London is something of a genius when it comes to fragrance. Her style is intuitive and creative – and it is this personality that shines through her perfumes, as well as the experience in store. White and bright, the flagship Elizabeth Street location is conveniently across the road from the perfume boutique Les Senteurs. Book ahead for a complementary Fragrance Tapas experience, which is a fun ‘barista’-style way to acquaint with the fragrance, bath and body products. The scent application ideas are also playful. Try out the gel-formula Fragrance Paintbrush and Fragrance Graffiti body spray that mimics the sound of a paint aerosol can. Favourite scents include the new grapefruit-inspired signature scent Jo by Jo Loves and the delicious White Rose and Lemon Leaves – perfect for a summer’s wedding day. All wrapped up in a Union Jack embossed white box tied with a super wide crimson ribbon.


Proving that the most precious things come in small packages, the tiny retail space of Ormonde Jayne is a must-visit for fragrance devotees. Located in the elegant Royal Arcade just off Old Bond Street, there is magic in these complex accords. Not least due to the lashings of expensive ingredients but also the high concentration of pure oil that is hand-poured into each bottle in the London lab. This is not fast-fragrance. This perfume is luxurious and lengthy that develops over time. Launched in 2002 by British perfumer Linda Pilkington, the Mayfair boutique offers a made-to-measure service where clients can select the intensity of their perfume, as well as choose top notes on certain accords or even add an ingredient such as oud. From the Signature Collection, Vanille d’Iris is one of the heroes, as is the Frangipani candle - a stunning ode to the pretty yellow-and-white flower. New for 2019 is Privé: a wonderfully elaborate floral that captures the Ormonde Jayne spirit to a tee.


Most recently, Ostens have thrilled a British fan base by opening their first ever store - a vibrant, immersive installation that showcased their Rose Oil Isparta perfume by Dominique Ropion in neon-pink surrounds. This growing art-house fragrance brand is one to watch out for. Following their gallery-like pop-up in Marylebone to launch their first set of fragrances earlier this year, they also partnered with Wallpaper* magazine at this year’s Salone del Mobile in Milan and will be exhibiting during London Craft Week in May 2019. Ostens is the mastermind of two fragrance experts, Laurent Delafon and Chris Yu, who worked with some of the most talented perfumers at International Flavors & Fragrances to craft their unisex scent collections. From patchouli to rose to cedarwood, creative inspiration came from championing exceptional hero ingredients. The result? Tantalising perfumes designed as an ode to a single note, where Preparations (perfume oils) intensify and carry the key ingredients, while Impressions (eau de Parfum) use the hero elements as a jumping off point.


If you have even a passing interest in fragrance, then make Les Senteurs your first port of call. Celebrating their 35th-anniversary in 2019, this specialist perfumery is beautifully curated with niche brands that include cult favourites and undiscovered gems from all over the world. It is the place to while away an afternoon and fall in love with fragrance. A destination for independent British brands such as Tom Daxon and Cloon Keen (the Irish label’s rose and patchouli Roisin Dubh is divine), it is also the spot to take home deliciously feminine Parisian brands, such as E. Coudray’s Iris Rose, and exclusives from Anima Vinci and Dusita. On first sight, expect to be wowed by glamorous window displays, where seasonal flowers literally spill on to the street. Cross the threshold to enjoy access to an exceptionally knowledgeable team, who can offer an unbiased service, whether you are looking for a personal fragrance consultation or would rather be left to sniff to your heart’s content.