I went to London this past Thursday, my first visit to the capital in 2014, and the first since a day spent up there with friends in late November.
It was a work visit, but as is so often the case, I usually try to squeeze in a flying visit to some perfume store, this time Liberty, as I was not too far from the West End. I've noticed a few negative comments about the Liberty perfume section recently, and if these relate to customer service and general attitude, then I can certainly understand why. In the past, the staff used to leave you alone to get on with your browsing and sniffing, and they still do. However, there is something slightly condescending about them when you do ask a question, or if you make it clear that you just want to be left to your own devices. If the criticism relates to what perfume is stocked there, then I disagree. For a fairly small space Liberty packs in a very good selection of perfume lines.
Anyway, I tried quite a few perfumes on scent strips, and if there is one thing to be learned from this (hardly rocket science to any seasoned perfumista) it is that one should never judge a perfume from how it smells on paper, or any fabric for that matter; the true test is on skin. A case in point is Aedes Iris Nazarena, which smelled totally flat and faint on paper, but wore beautifully on my skin. I think it is a really interesting iris fragrance that has that characteristic fatty feel and earthy smell, but is not particularly 'rooty' or 'carroty'. It is joined by a faint incense that works very well. Another perfume tried on skin was Agonist Infidels, which I was less enthusiastic about, not necessarily because I didn't think it was good, but perhaps it didn't work that well on my skin. Oppopnax is a heavily featured note in this perfume and it came across sweetly resinous, whereas I would have preferred something slightly less sweet and dry, but that is just my personal taste.
I say this quite often, but as much as I love London and what it has to offer (and I did live there for almost six years) I find it far too busy, impersonal, and if I'm being honest, smelly. Certainly by my standards anyway, compared to other UK towns and cities I visit. It seems to get dirtier and smellier each time I visit, although I cannot say whether this is actually the case or simply caused by my state of mind!