L'eau de London: luxury perfume brands that capture the city
Here are the latest London luxury scents that have managed to capture the essence of our city beautifully in a bottle
There's a survey by The Good City Life 'Smelly Maps' (click here) to check out exactly how your street rates for its smell. Of course, the worst scents must be the heady aroma of exhaust fumes and fried food, alleyway urinals, the metallic steeliness of the Underground or the salty brininess from the Thames.
However, let's not dwell on that. What we're talking about are the prettiest olfactory experiences our great city has to offer. There is a whole host of olfactory journeys to be made without ever leaving your house. There's a new breed of beauty products, ones that romanticise and that can be spritzed over the body or lit as beacons of London patriotism. Read on to find a new favourite.
Diptyque turned their nasal passages to London's famous Columbia Road flower market. Londres (£54) is part of the City Candles Collection, and brings to life the spirit of the famous Sunday morning flower market, when the stalls are in full swing, abundant with freshly picked blooms and lively vintage sellers hawking their wares.
Think notes of heliotrope, lilac, juniper and hyacinth all warmed with a touch of spice. While the packaging sums up old English wallpaper, the kind you might have seen adorn a wall in an old pub or your grandmother's house. For international interest, there's also Berlin and Beverly Hills, Miami, New York, three dedicated to cities in Asia, along with a highly spirited scent of Paris.
These are usually sold only in their namesake cities, and will be available online from 12-16 September, click here (quickly).
Scent Republik's Cities Fragrance Pen, London (£12.50) includes essential oils of bergamot, patchouli, lavender, geranium, nutmeg, pepper and cinnamon, and contains over 600 applications of the Eau de Parfum juice. It's a very masculine aroma with plenty of edgy tartness and spice – which makes us think of Shoreditch all the way.
Over at Little Miss London they've created olfactory versions that sum up our favourite neighbourhoods. Little Miss Chelsea (£32) fills the room with pine, geranium, vetiver and patchouli; Notting Hill (£32) is uplifting, with notes of eucalyptus, lemon, rosemary and lavandin, while Mayfair (£32) is sweet and spice and all things nice with lavender, rose, nutmeg and cardamom, representing the multicultural essence of the area. They are all-natural, hand-poured, soy-based and offer a 40-hour burn time.
Gallivant, the fragrances for Urban Explorers, describes their London (£65) offering as rain, shine, a touch of grit, a dash of glam.
Roja Dove, who says London is the 'capital of cool', explains the inspiration behind the range (from £125): 'I had so much fun creating London, the scent of my home town. I have tried to capture the vibrancy, dynamism and sense of surprise that pervades every corner of this great city. From the glamour of The Ritz and the naughtiness of Soho, to the power of Westminster to the simple elegance of St James's Park, each element of this scent is evocative of my love for London. The iconography for London draws inspiration from the 13 dragon boundary marks that watch over the city – the iconic winged guardians of the old gateways to the capital.'
It's definitely a scent for after dark, he explains: 'As the clock chimes into the evening hours, hedonism comes out to play. Black cabs glimmering under streetlights carry secrets to their next destination. Parties start, shoulders rub and glasses clink. In the early hours, good humour is put to bed, and good manners reawaken. There is no time to be tired, because to be tired of London is to be tired of life.'