Once upon a time I co-arranged the first UK Basenotes meet with Grant Osborne and a whole bunch of people came – many of whom became good friends. It’s the friends from that day and a few new ones each year who amble around London perfumeries with me. We also tend to indulge in nice things to eat – cake, afternoon tea, or exotic snacks (or lunch, ice cream, gin and chips like yesterday).
This year we changed the date from a Saturday in May to a Thursday in July because Valerie Cookie Queen Sperrer was going to be in London and we all wanted to meet her. To add to the serendipity, Odysseusm from Basenotes was in the UK all the way from Canada and I was so happy to have him join us.
Then the tube strike was announced. Irrespective of solidarity, the general reaction was very sweary. Of ALL days, it had to be the one that had been in the calendar for months AND could not be changed because we had more than one person from overseas! However, everyone shrugged it off. Ok, so there’s a strike – so.what.
We made our way in groups and alone to our first stop in Covent Garden by various means (mostly on foot) and actually, tube strike London was gloriously empty and quiet.
Nick Gilbert from Penhaligon’s had kindly agreed to host us in their basement and we spent the morning trashing it, more or less. Perfume bottles… perfume bottles everywhere…
We headed to Bloom afterwards and had a great time sniffing our way through scents and chatting. Had I known in advance that Antonio Gardoni from Bogue Profumo was going to be there at 4pm, we’d have arranged our visits another way, but our group was very good about going with the flow, so we just went to Bloom twice in one day. As you do.
After our (first) Bloom visit, we had lunch at Bill’s in Covent Garden and I can’t recommend them highly enough after our seamlessly organised and tasty experience. They accomodated our large group very well and the food and service were both excellent. Will definitely be going there again!
Ice cream was also purchased (to go) from the Parlour (I had a blood orange sorbet which was perfect) and we walked back to Bloom to meet Antonio.
Antonio is such a charismatic man that I think we all swooned a little bit… he let us smell various blends and components he uses for his perfumes which was an interesting insight into his process.
Some of us felt thirsty, so we headed to Nook and spent a couple of hours taking advantage of their two-for-one cocktail offer (I only had mocktails, by the way – the same can’t be said for the others…).
It was an absolutely fantastic day and I can’t wait to do it again next year (we’re also hoping to make some other trips in the future; tad more ambitious, but when there’s a will, there’s a way…)
Thank you to everyone who came!