“Liberty is the chosen resort of the artistic shopper”. Oscar Wilde.
Oh, Oscar. You are the man!
I love Liberty. It’s not as huge as some other London landmarks; it doesn’t have every single department you could desire, as in Selfridges or Harrods.
But to my mind, it is the original – long before any ‘influencer’ came up with the label – perfectly curated collection of incredibly desirable stuff.
If I had to choose one department store in London and that was that, it would be Liberty.
Opened by Arthur Lasenby Liberty around 1875, the building has a Tudor vibe though it doesn’t date back that far. It’s tucked away off Marlborough Street (as if you care) behind Regent Street and very close to the Oxford Circus underground station. It is seriously a world away from the madness of cheap and cheerful recreational shopping you get on Oxford Street.
I think I said once before that if you are a shopper looking for a fix in London Liberty should be a destination. It has a very good perfume offer, a lovely makeup hall, loads of candles, the most incredible scarves, jewellery – all on the ground floor. There’s also a choice men’s offer, some women’s clothes. But beyond the ground floor stuff it’s the fabrics and housewares Liberty is known for. If you do visit, make sure you take yourself to the upper floors where all that goes on.
Anyway, after years of offering all kinds of hard to find fragrances Liberty launched its own brand recently, LBTY. Fine, whatever. These come in 100ml bottles EdP priced at £225 (there we go again with these eye-watering prices) with big caps wrapped in Liberty fabrics. The bottles are lovely, hefty glass, and they are meant to sit in the caps once you remove from the top of a bottle. Interesting concept. I have small hands and found that whole schtick unwieldy. I admit the look is attractive with bottle sitting in cap. I’m not convinced by cap on.
Anyway, here you go. Five fragrances. I only tried one on skin (see below).
Adelphi Sun. ‘Verdant, succulent, botanical’. Grapfruit, cardamon, golden fern, jasmine, linden, narcissus, neroli, sandalwood, boxwood, ambrox. Nose: Hamid Merati-Kashani. Good solid green citrus. Things like the jasmine, neroli and sandalwood are discernible on the blotter. A great warmer weather scent – and if this sort of things works on you.
Maze. ‘Crisp, tranquil, citrus’. Bergamot, Earl Grey tea, neroli, primrose, jasmine, honeysuckle, Dreamwood®, silver birch, hawthorn. Nose: Gabi Chelariu. Notes less individually discernible on this. Cool floral with something sour. Maybe whatever the Dreamwood thing is? If you can wear this sort of fragrance (I can’t) might be worth a sniff.
Tudor. ‘Bohemian, ornamental, woody’. Juniper, ginger, nutmeg, cypress, chamomile, cistus, myrtle, sandalwood, iris, amber. Nose: Pierre Negrin. This is a perfectly adequate woody amber. There’s a bit of rough from the iris. Maybe I get a bit of nutmeg and ginger.
Wild Rosinda. ‘Rich, mysterious, floral’. Black pepper, English ivy, wild currant, Bulgarian rose, saffron, geranium, guaiac wood, patchouli, amber. Nose: Hamid Merati-Kashani. This was the only one I tried on skin vs just a blotter because on the blotter it was just … wow. The opening (ie, on my skin) was this insane caramel rose. Just totally gorgeous. Given the notes I have no idea why it would do that but if there are decants around I can see a decant just to get that opening over and over. As it develops, the saffron is apparent, along with the patchouli. If you are a rose person, this is most definitely worth a sniff.
Zepherine. ‘Spiritual, luscious, amber’. Fig Nature Print®, cypress, clove, rose, patchouli, benzoin, suede, vetiver, cedarwood. Nose: Frank Voelkl. I don’t get this. It’s one of those things that dries down to those cedar boxes I bought as a kid on holiday down south US. The cedar was always a bit sour. On paper, that is what this is: a bit sour. I can’t really make out much else. To say this is my least liked of these would be an understatement.
The two I rate from the line are the ones by Hamid Merati-Kashani, Adelphi Sun and Wild Rosinda. He works with Firmenich apparently and has actually produced a fair body of work. Had never heard of him.
Anyway, I think these are definitely worth a sniff if you find yourself in their proximity. If they land on one of the sample sites here I will most likely get a decant of Wild Rosinda.
Anyone else tried these? Thoughts on the bottles? Been to Liberty? Love it down to your toes?
Pics: mine. Sorry they aren’t that great