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.
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.
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.