London; a city as rich as puff pastry, full of delicious layers; layers of history. Walk around and find the tiny cobbled backstreets of say the area of Borough (south east London) and you will find yourself ensconced in some of the oldest street in London, ones that date back to Roman times but also streets that light the touch-paper to such dignitaries as Charles Dickens because street names appear in front of your eyes that jump from the pages of his distinguished books. Take for example the Marshalsea Prison which is the debtors prison mentioned in his book Little Dorrit, the prison of course no longer exists but the street it is named after is still there; Marshalsea street SE1.
London if full to the brim with wonderful little alleyways, cobbled streets and covered alcoves ripe for discovery. Of course not only is it wonderful to be steeped in such history but it’s often these streets where you will discover some of the nicest intimate cafes and boutiques London has to offer.
Take as another example The Royal Arcade in central London; a covered petite arcade which runs discreetly between Abermarle street and Bond street. An area of exclusive elegance; a tasteful walkway covered by a glass roof, richly decorated arches, and shops with curved glass window bays. The arcade opened in 1879, has changed little in the intervening years, making it a rare original Victorian cloister worth discovering for its unique boutiques as well as its refined architecture. It started out as merely The Arcade but once the resident of number 12, the shirtmaker H.W. Brettell, was patronised by Queen Victoria it became The Royal Arcade. Still to this day it has brands within the arcade with royal patronage. But let us go back to the shop at number 12.
The door now opens to the elegant, polished bijou new home of the perfumer Ormonde Jayne. Recently refitted it is a compact warm dark chocolate, cream and tangerine space cocooning an all important hexagonal perfume bar where you can immerse yourself in the 17 fragrances included within her library. This alluring niche fragrance brand was started by Linda Pilkington, one of the first of the crop of British brands to enter the world of exquisite independent perfume makers. Still being driven forward by Linda; a non-traditionally trained perfumer with incredible knowledge and a wonderful nose.
Linda happens to be a font of knowledge; for example whilst once discussing Hedione, (one of the most widely used aroma chemical in all of perfumery that is used as both a fixative and exalting agent) she explained the perfumer Edmond Roundnitska used in whilst created the world renowned fragrance for men Eau Sauvage (1966) he got the numbers wrong. Putting far to much Hedione in he created one os the sexiest mens fragrances ever made and helped bring Hedione to the heavenly heights for which it is now renowned. It’s not an ingredient you will see listed in fragrance notes but it is one of the most heavily used ingredient in modern perfumery.
So as well as visiting the store, getting to know and love the fragrances for both mens and womens alongside those scents that are also available in candles, there are now new opportunities for a more personal experience. The newly launched Made-To-Measure service allows customers to choose a beloved scent and have it poured to the desired strength which can go all the way up to an extract ( a perfume extract can be anything from 20% to 40% of aromatic compounds ). Once poured the experience is enhanced by the bottle stopper being engraved with chosen initials therefore creating a personalised flagon filled with exotic scent all whilst on the shops premises.
And least we forget to keep you posted, as from this month a new fragrance comes to the boutique True Love. As the company tells us, True Love conquers all. Light conquers darkness and true love is the ultimate emotion. A feeling of contentment, understanding, forgiveness, because no-one is perfect. Sit reflectively and think about what love means to you. Use your intuition.”
Top notes of Bergamot, mandarin, tarragon, schinus mole, freesia
Heart notes of Rose, hedione orris, jasmin, ylang, honey
With a soul of Cashmere woods, sandalwood, benzoe, musk, castoreum
So next time you want a little bit of culture, history, romance and luxury, wander down one of London’s little alleyways for an sensual fragrance experience ands if you do go to The Royal arcade discover the riches of shop number 12.
Ormonde Jayne manufactures all its products in its own London laboratory to the highest of standards. Keep an eye out for the new website coming soon.
The Royal Arcade 28 Old Bond Street ormandejayne.com