A little London-esque sniffage

In honor of the Olympics, now in their second week, and as I’m on a floral bender of late, I thought it might be fun to take a collective look at several London-centric scents that are summer perfect.

Royal Apothic Kensington Garden

I’ve been to London several times but never visited here, so I can’t speak for its fragrance impressions or atmosphere, but if it’s anything like this scent, I’m heading there next time (when the lottery comes through for me, that is). I found this to be quite a beautiful fresh floral that’s very well-blended, ensuring that no one note stands out and takes over the composition. As I sniffed my wrist, something kept tugging at the back of my brain. Ah, there is it! Its lovely waft put me in mind of Frederic Malle’s En Passant, despite its not having any notes in common. Those of you who liked (or wanted to like) EP, but the watery/aquatic notes put you off, might want to give this a go. My only wish is that it lasted a bit longer, but at $32 for 2 ounces, you can spray lavishly, so that’s a tiny quibble. A bigger aggravation might be that the bottle has one of those charming but aggravating bulb sprayers that can leak and lead to evaporation.
— This line also included several other U.K.-themed scents but, alas, my Anthropologie no longer has them to try. The scents are available at the Anthropologie site, however, and this one can be sampled at Surrender to Chance.

Scent of Departure: London 

This scent’s breezily cool start (fresh, green. almost coniferous) eases into a heart of jasmine and freesia. And although it’s very faint and didn’t bother me, there is a bit of (the dreaded, for some of you) marine accord. In the base, its blond woods and white musk remind me a bit of Byredo’s La Tulipe, which could be a distant cousin. This is quite nice, but being the tea lover that I am, I found myself wishing I could discern the Earl Grey effect hinted at by the press info. Still, for a lighthearted summer souvenir scent, you could do a lot worse and the price is right.
— $45 for 1.7-ounce spray at beauty habit dot com, Henri Bendel, and at the company site; samples at STC.

London, from Guerlain’s Les Voyages Olfactifs collection

This scent was already familiar to me, as trying it earlier this year prompted my post on rhubarb. I have loved this one for a while now because its tart rhubarb/grapefruit note really lasts on me. When it finally fades, it gives way to a lush, grassy green and follows with a hint of rose, so nicely blended in that I don’t mind it at all. This does have an actual tea note in it, and that adds a bit of depth, grounding this scent and keeping it from floating off into the land of lightweight florals.
— Available at Guerlain boutiques, Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman, where a 100-ml. bottle sells for $215.

Molton Brown Londinium, part of its Navigations Through Scent line 

Granted, this one’s not a floral, but I thought I’d include it anyway.
I tend to think of MB mostly in terms of their hand and body products, but figured what the heck, and gave it a whirl. This limited edition is marketed as unisex, but definitely slides a hair to the masculine end of the scale. It rolls out smoothly with a nice bergamot sweetened by a few berries, then segues into a soft tobacco-like note and a bit of boozy warmth (at least on my skin). It’s pleasing, just not a heavy hitter as far as intensity and distinctiveness (although perhaps sprayed, not dabbed, is the way to go here — I only had a vial). This didn’t stand out on me; think this is one sample I’ll pass on to DH who likes his fragrances waaay on the subtle side. Wouldn’t mind having the bottle though: a clear, cool, blocky number, almost like a square tumbler of vodka on the rocks. If only it weren’t for that steep price.
— Available at Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and the Molton Brown site ($140 for 1.7 ounces); samples are available at Surrender to Chance.

  • nozknoz says:

    You’re right, that Molton Brown bottle is great!

    • Ann says:

      Yep, it’s a beaut — but not $140 worth, unless you’re in love with the juice. Just peeked at the other scents in their Navigations line (same bottle style) and those range from $100-$120. Sigh …

  • joolz says:

    I’ve sniffed Scents of Departure London and it’s quite nice! In this line, I also like Doha, which is incense-y but prettily so!

    In the Royal Apothic line, I’ve tried Meyer Blooms and Kensington Gardens. Unfortunately, these don’t mix well on me. However, Balmoral Rain is pretty.

    • Ann says:

      So glad you like it, too! And happy to know that the Doha is good — I do love me some incense. I’m eager to try the Balmoral Rain and Meyer Blooms also, if I can find any anywhere to test. Thanks!

  • Suzanne says:

    Hey Sweet Ann! I like your London-inspired post, even though most of the ones you mentioned I’m totally unfamiliar with. The scent I most associate with London is Miller Harris L’Air de Rien: the perfumer Lyn Harris is from London; the muse who inspired the scent (Jane Birkin, as you know) is an English girl (even if she seems just as much French); and everytime I smell the scent, the Dire Straits’s song “Wild West End” goes through my head.

    OK, not very Olympics inspired, but very London-like. 🙂

    • Ann says:

      Hi, beach baby! Thanks for your angle on London — love it! Now we’ve just gotta get over there …

  • Eldarwen 22 says:

    I’ve gotta be the only one who hasn’t been watching the Olympics. I’m still on my jasmine bender and have been draining my jasmine decants left and right. When I get some fun money, I’m gonna splurge on A La Nuit (because I don’t have the money to go to Paris for Sarrasins). I’ll have to keep those scents in mind though.

    • Ann says:

      Mmmm … enjoy your jasmine! I need to go re-try A La Nuit and Sarrasins as well (if I can find the samples, ha!). Don’t feel bad about the Olympics; I’m not watching as much as I’d like.

  • FragrantWitch says:

    Hello from London, Ann! The Royal Apothic Gardens smell gorgeous so I will have to seek out that scent for sure. I found all of Molton Brown scents to be ‘meh’, even the one I had highest hopes for which was based on Egypt with spices and jasmine. Blahsville.
    For all I I know there may well be an Olympic perfume released as we seem to have absolutely everything else Olympic-themed! I’ll report back if I find anything!

    • Ann says:

      Howdy, Ms. M! You can be our London correspondent and alert us if there’s an Olympic perfume out there — that would be very cool. So sorry to hear the other MBs are just so-so. Have a great day!

  • Sherri says:

    These sound interesting! I’m off to check out these Scents of Departure right now, and making note to look for Royal Apothic at Anthro this week!

    Thanks Ann! Happy Monday, everyone!!

    • Ann says:

      Good morning, Sherri! Happy Monday to you as well. I’d like to try the other SOD scents now as well. And I’ll be curious to see if your Anthro still has the line; do let us know. Happy sniffing!

    • rosarita says:

      I’m intrigued by Scents of Departure, too. Lots of them sound really good.

      • Ann says:

        Hi, lady. Yes, they do sound nice — hope we’ll be sniffing our way around the world soon …