Monday, 15 October 2012

A Sunday in London

Yesterday my wife, daughters and I spent the day in London, which, naturally, involved some visits to perfume stores! The real reason for going up was that my wife was taking part in a 10km run for charity, raising funds for The Stroke Association. One could choose three different distances, 5km, 10km or 15km, each 5km comprised of one lap around the Serpentine, which is a lake in the middle of Hyde Park, central London's largest green space.

My wife ran incredibly well, shaving four minutes off her personal best, completing the 10km in just a few seconds over 53 minutes. I shouldn't brag I suppose (but I will anyway) but she was the 13th woman home and came 60th overall, out of a field of 164 (10km field only).

Anyway, it was a lovely autumn day in the capital, the parks full of vibrant autumn colours, the leaves just starting to turn to shades of yellow, red and gold. In between lunch and supper, and taking the kids to Hamleys, a large (and manic) toy department store in Regent Street, I managed to pay visits to Selfridges, John Lewis and Liberty. I've mentioned in the past how pushy the sales people can be in the perfume departments at Harrods, for example, but I'm beginning to think that Selfridges is going the same way. I could hardly go anywhere without a sales associate descending upon me with a sacharine smile, trying to force me to smell something. I just wanted to be left alone in peace to browse and sniff at my own leisure. I didn't spot a whole lot of new stuff at Selfridges, but did try Guerlain's Rose Barbare for the first time. I don't know where the Barbare comes from, because it certainly is not an edgy fragrance, but it does smell nice. Having smelt Rose Nacree du Desert not so long ago, I think the two have a similar, if not identical rose note, but they aren't the same fragrance, obviously. I also tried Armani Prive Bois de Encens again. Sigh. If I could sever a limb to get a bottle of this, I might be tempted... What a beautiful incense fragrance.

Moving on to John Lewis, I have a voucher to spend there, and I was trying to find a perfume to buy. I tried Commes des Garcons 2 Man and Diptyque's Volutes, but I am not convinced that I like either enough to buy a full bottle. 2 Man is nice, but it reminded me a lot of Gucci Pour Homme and I already own a bottle of that. Volutes is decent, but I have my eye on a number of more interesting tobacco fragrances, albeit at a much higher price, sadly. I also tried the new leather limited editions of the Mugler classics, Alien, Amen and Angel. I don't know what I am missing, but to me they all smell just like the original. Perhaps my nose is not as good as others but hand on heart I could not detect a molecule of leather in any of them. I don't know what the fuss is about, frankly.

Finally, I went to one of my favourite London stores, Liberty. Some people moan that Liberty staff are cool and aloof, but praises be, they leave you to your own devices! Just what I like, grumpy grouch that I am. I sniffed a lot of stuff at Liberty, but was most taken by Commes des Garcons Luxe Patchouli. Of course, typically, the perfume I loved the most was also staggeringly expensive at £155 for 45ml of juice! I thought it was fantastic, but no way am I paying that sort of price for a perfume.

So ended our day in London and I must say, while I loved sniffing all the perfumes, I still came away thinking that if I had the money, Bois de Encens would have been my purchase of the day.


  1. Even though I do have CDG 2 Man, I can understand how you might feel about it. I was going to recommend you getting the original CDG until I realised you have written about it in the past and loved it too. I think that's a superior version of CDG 2 Man. For something slightly quirkier, I feel CDG 2 (not Man) is great too.

    1. I must say, I still think 2 Man is nice. The top notes especially were appealing (and I know we shouldn't get seduced simply by top notes, but they were great). CDG 2 - you're right, its worth another sniff, I recall it smelling very inky when I first smelt it a few year ago. The original CDG is great and I don't own a bottle, just a sample, so perhaps I should consider that one.

  2. Hi Michael, I just smelled Rose Nacree myself in NYC and you are right, it does smell like Rose Barbare. Can't think why the penny didn't drop when I had the strip under my nose. The NYC boutique also had no Apres L'Ondee! EEK! They had plenty of flankers and Elixir Charnels, and Petite Robe Noirs jostling each other, but not so many classics. Oh the Guerlainity!

    1. Blacknall, I'm seeing plenty of Petite Robe here in the UK too. I think Guerlain is really pushing it. Can't say I'm smitten personally, but I'd rather smell Guerlain in any form than the fruitchouli rubbish I usually smell in town!



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