Sunday 1 June 2008
I adore scent and I can always while away time in a perfume department or shop sniffing and assessing the olfactory offerings. Sniffing is actually a past- time enjoyed by more people than you might think, so there is no need to worry that the departments will be annoyed if you spend some time feasting on their scents and examining the beautiful packaging. Any proper perfume sales person will know that it takes time to decide if you like a scent and also that people enjoy the process of trying perfumes. The best places will leave you to yourself but offer help if you should require it.
My London favourites are the Liberty perfume room and Les Senteurs but there are many others I love. Liberty is to me what Tiffany’s is to Holly Golightly, the shopping equivalent of heaven, instantly relaxing and calming but also beautiful and stimulating. The perfume room is one of the best parts of the shop- it’s decked with decadent wallpaper and has a great variety of scents laid out enticingly; favourites they offer include Tann Rokka, the Comme De Garcons fragrance line and L’Artisan Parfeumeur.
Les Senteurs is a specialist scent shop located in Belgravia which specifically offers more niche and unusual lines and has real exclusives including the fabulous Frederic Malle scents amongst many others; the staff are real aficionado’s and are very helpful. The shop is also on a lovely villagey street surrounded by white washed buildings and tree lined squares. Visiting fills me with the same sense of excitement and anticipation that I had as a child when walking to the sweet shop- and I gorge myself on the scents as I did the sweets- often coming out with scents on the front of my hand and all the way from my wrist to my elbow.
For the amount of choice and space you cannot fault Selfridges, Harrods, John Lewis or Harvey Nichols. Fenwick's also has some surprisingly unusual brands (Diptyque, Antonia’s Flowers, Robert Piquet) and also some of the rarer offerings from the big companies (including some of the older and loveliest Guerlain's).
picture courtesy of www.allposters.co.uk