Monday, 16 February 2009
Perfume shopping in London: Fortnum and Mason
I am very happy to add Fortnum and Mason to my list of London shops for the fragrance enthusiast to visit.
Fortnum’s has been undergoing a gradual transformation from what I can see. It has always been a must visit for me for food and wine but I don’t think I had ventured above the ground floor until about a year ago- and I suspect that is the case for many of their customers (I say customer loosely, I'm not sure if buying some rose petal jam once every 3 months is really going to keep them afloat).
It as beautiful upstairs, if not more so. It also has that wonderful hushed peace that some shops can have and makes you feel instantly calmer. They also have a divine ice cream bar but I managed to resist the temptation of the first floor and head straight up to the second- for beauty, perfume and handbags- oh my!
They seem to have added far more contemporary names to their general assortment of stock but I of course was mainly interested in the perfume. The first thing your eye sees as you step through the doors or lift is a divine carousel with all the Caron fragrances in decanters.
As I explored I found Penhaligon’s, Ortigia, Miller Harris, Creed, Annick Goutal, Serge Lutens, Tokyo Milk which I have mentioned below and lots more. It was the Guerlain counter that I most loved though. They have gold bee bottles and I was told they carry the full assortment of fragrances available to the UK market- they certainly had Apres L'Ondee which is increasingly hard to find, so I told myself I had better stock up, I had forgotten just how beautiful it is.
They also seemed to be, whisper it, very generous with samples at F&M and have them in bowls, like sweets to help yourself to! Why is it so satisfying to get free samples?
Dressing table picture courtesy of and available at Graham and Green