Wednesday, 13 May 2015


Tomorrow is the night of the Fragrance Foundation Awards, and what better opportunity to post about one of this years' finalists: Angelique, by Papillon Artisan Perfumes. Liz Moores is not only a great perfumer, but also a really wonderful woman and I'll keep all my fingers crossed for her tomorrow. Given that she managed to get all her three creations in the final round, it would be a small miracle not to see her on the stage. Go, Liz!

My visualisation for Angelique, by Papillon Artisan Perfumes

Angelique is a sparkling, melancholic and luxurious iris. It is both elegant and modern, timeless would be the best description. What I enjoy most is the really sheer beginning, where everything is in place but waiting to play its part. It never overpowers, and more importantly, never overpowders neither, as it can happen with irises sometimes. Incredibly feminine, this is a satiny glowing ripple on slightly powdered skin. 
Absolutely beautiful and a must have if you love your iris. 

How and where to wear:

Iris and early evenings belong together. 
A cocktail dress and a cocktail glass will do nicely

Monday, 4 May 2015

Perfume shopping in Frankfurt

"Off to somewhere nice?" asked the ueber cheerful sales assistant behind the Boots counter at London City airport. "Frankfurt", I replied, marginally less cheerful because  7 o' clock in the morning is not my time.  "Ah..., OK" he muttered with a traceable slight of pity in his voice. "Hope you have a nice day anyway." 
This brief encounter sums up my hometown's image problem quite nicely. Considered nothing more than a necessary business trip location, it doesn't have Berlin's cool or Hamburg's elegance, isn't conveniently close to Italy like Munich, and its only claim to fame is the European Central bank and questionable sausages. *

But of course, I have to differ. Frankfurt is, despite its skyline, a very human sized and pleasant to live in city. Much smaller than most visitors anticipate, it has a village feel with added skyscrapers. It boasts tradition in an ironic way, knowing full well about its lack of picture perfect. A bad image can be a very liberating thing, and Frankfurt has made the most of it during the decades I lived in it or nearby. When homesickness strikes, it's the local cider pubs (Apfelweinkneipen) and the easy going summer evenings on the greens near the riverbank that I miss the most. So, if  for some reason you find yourself in Frankfurt and you don't know what to do with all the museums, the best opera house and the largest botanical garden in the country, the bars, the theatres, the timber framed cuteness of Bornheim and the grandeur of the Westend, the splendid cathedral and all the tragic history of a 1200 year old German city there is always: Perfume!

Parfuemerie Albrecht was founded in 1732 as a 'drugstore', selling all kinds of ointments and tinctures to the people of Frankfurt. It's now in the good hands of the Albrecht family and has three stores dotted around the inner city. One in the elegant Goethestrasse, one just across the road in the "Fressgass" (this one also has a beauty institute) and the latest one in the 'MyZeil' shopping gallery. The latter is the biggest and more modern in feel and decor, paying tribute to the rather different customer base. 

In all the shops you will find an impressive range of niche perfumes plus skincare and make up from brands like Chanel and Co. This mixture of niche and high end main stream is relatively unique in the perfume world, and can sometimes lead to customer confusion as to why they do have Chanel lipsticks but not the perfumes. I met David Albrecht in his Goethestrasse shop and he very kindly took his time to chat about perfume and perfume shopping in Frankfurt. He explained that his parents believed in niche perfumes from its very beginnings and took the risk to change their stock accordingly. Over the last 20 years the perfumery grew and with it its customer base. Frankfurt might be small, but it's the financial hub of Europe and with it comes an international clientele that isn't all that different from shoppers in London or Dubai. Tourists also make up a high percent of perfume shoppers. Herr Albrecht couldn't give the exact number of brands they have on offer, but it is pretty impressive, especially in the MyZeil shop, where space really isn't an issue. If you're coming from the UK you will be happy to find Ramon Monegal, Profumum Roma, Santa Maria Novella and German brands like F.J.Schwarzlose and Nasengold. There is also F.Malle, Byredo, Etat libre, Dyptique, Amouage, Etro, Lubin, SoOud, Lutens, Ormonde Jayne, Creed, Caron, MMK, CdG, Knize, Patou, Isabey, Lalique, Friedemonin, Clive Christian, Kilian etc etc. 

On top of that, the Parfumerie has created a Frankfurt inspired range  of scents which I sampled only briefly and will keep for my next home visit. The Albrechts also organise smell inspired events throughout the year, a lecture and discussion about how pregnancy can change your sense of smell and perception of perfumes sounds particularly interesting, although I'm nowhere near pregnant myself. 

You can always sense when you meet someone who is genuinely passionate about perfume and not just selling it, and David Albrecht (his favourite scent is Philosykos) and his family certainly fall firmly within the first group. In terms of preference, I like the myZeil shop because you can wander around forever and sniff here and there (you will be asked if you need assistance, but it's not a problem at all if you prefer to be left alone). The Goethestrasse in contrast is more intimate and cosy, but wherever you go - the sales staff is charming and knowledgeable. All shops are just a few minutes walk apart and there are plenty of cafes and eateries along the way. So, if you happen to have urgent business in my hometown, take a stroll and have a sniff. 

* I can get incredibly agitated about proper Frankfurters, which I assume most of my readers never ever tasted. It is sad that the city lost the fight for a PDO against American fast food chains. Whatever they sell you in those hot dogs: It's not the real thing!