Perfume Tour, or Love to Smell Live, 2016 Edition


Penguin burlesque at Bloom Perfumery (representing the ‘daring’ fragrance cabinet, according to the store).

Ever since 2009 there has been a bit of a tradition of a ‘Smelly, Cakey Perfume Meet’ (as it unofficially became known) – the first one was a Basenotes meetup which I helped co-hosted with Grant and Dani and it was such fun that I started arranging tours (almost) every year since. I actually met Nick at the first one, and he has helped co-host the last couple because they’ve been steadily getting bigger. They’re no grand affairs. There’s no ticket price, no formal invites; we all know each other and the theme is very much “we all love fragrance” and that’s a great equaliser – every year the group is a fantastic mix of people.

Since Nick and I have been running our YouTube channel for a few months now, we called this year’s tour “Love to Smell Live” and took some video footage of the day (which you can check out below, though expect a very ‘found footage’ style video rather than high production values).

You’ll find links to blogs written by others about the day in the video description.

I’ve gathered some photos of the day here for your enjoyment and would like to thank everyone who came to have fun with us – I’ve said it many times before and will say it again here – one of my favourite parts about fragrance is smelling things with other people and comparing notes. Smelling through other people’s noses is a fab way to learn more and a great source of entertainment, too.

We visited Fenwick of Bond St, Lalique, By Kilian, Miller Harris, Bloom and B Bakery. Thank you to everyone who hosted us (officially and unofficially).

Ruth took us through her fragrances and had brought along two raw materials to smell, too.

Some people couldn’t smell Javanol.

Fenwick of Bond St were kind to let a group of over 20 people spend a morning occupying their perfumery department.
The cheeky cherub at Zadig & Voltaire. We’ll be reviewing these scents soon at Love to Smell.
Chanel wasn’t part of our official route, but we had some free browsing time at Burlington Arcade, so some of us popped in to shop.
The brand new (2 days old at the time of our visit) Lalique boutique were very welcoming and took us through their brand history. It was the highlight of the tour for many.
Just one of the enormous flower displays at Lalique.
Lalique is more famous for its glass and crystal than for its perfumes, but the fragrances deserve a bit of attention.
Everyone adored Frederick.
We smelled the new fragrance L’Insoumis which had not officially launched yet. A very interesting herbal accord.


We stopped at By Kilian, too, and were shown several fragrances, plus their scented jewellery and candles.
Davina looked after us very well.



This perfume smells of liquorice…
It’s still a Cakey meet as well… so we had afternoon tea at B Bakery, Covent Garden.

Here are some photos from two of the members of our group this year:

Phoebe’s gallery:

Laurin’s gallery:


Send more Mandragore, ASAP

From the moment I started using perfume (so, age 12 or thereabouts), I’ve had more than one bottle of the stuff in use at any one time. This idea of having more than one scent on rotation is often referred to as “the perfume wardrobe”. I currently have around 70 scents in mine, give or take a few. Here are the bottles I finished in 2012:

Daim Blond by Serge Lutens

Daim Blond photo via Luckyscent

Daim Blond by Serge Lutens. It’s a unisex dry apricot wrapped in white suede. Absolutely glorious on my skin and I kept saving the last few drops until I had to give in. Serge Lutens is one of the perfume brands I really clicked with straight away. I don’t like all of their scents but this one hit me like a long-lost memory. It’s as though I had known it in another life and here it was, my perfume, home again.

Alien by Thierry Mugler. I ran out of this last year, too. I wrote about that the other day. When my Alien EdP was running low, my husband very kindly bought me a replacement (only it was the new EdT instead).

Mandragore by Annick Goutal

Mandragore photo via Luckyscent

Mandragore by Annick Goutal. It’s a play between anisic sweetness, aromatic ginger and bitter citrus. It has a translucent, fresh quality which is just so perfect for hot days or when you’re simply in the mood for something uplifting. The scent feels like it’s cleansing the air around you and making you think more clearly. I love it and reach for it often.

Terre de Bois by Miller Harris. Unisex, although probably more aimed at men, this scent reminds me of a herbal boiled sweet. Possibly not the most elegant description of this wondeful green scent but the sweetness of fennel and earthy tones of patchouli stop this being a straight-forward “green” perfume and add a unique twist. Citrus is present but doesn’t dominate. It seems that there is an aniseed-fennel-citrus bridge between Mandragore and this, so if you’ve tried one but not the other, perhaps you ought to explore.

Narciso Rodriguez for Her

Narciso Rodriguez for Her photo via Escentual

Narciso Rodriguez for Her. This feminine musk perfume is pretty, very wearable and widely available. It’s accessible without being trashy. Although there are hints of typical fruity-floral-shampoo of modern mass-market trends, the effect is not shrill and childish. It’s a subtle, sexy fragrance that would probably suit most women.

I tend to have about a dozen scents out on display at any given time and the rest are hidden in a dark drawer in the bedroom. This way I can “shop” from my own perfume collection when I get bored of my current rotation and the scents won’t deteriorate as fast as they would if I had all of them out at the same time. Generally, it’s a good idea to keep your perfumes away from light, temperature changes and moisture. Once you get to the last few drops, though, it’s no point saving them up because they will just spoil faster the emptier the bottle becomes.  I often dream about a perfume, smelling it in my sleep and wake up wanting to put it on. I’m hoping to avoid Daim Blond, Mandragore, Terre De Bois and For Her dreams until I am able to re-stock. Incidentally, running out of a scent doesn’t automatically mean a re-purchase but in the case of all these, it does.