8 months ago

The Surprising New Place to Discover Perfumes

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Gallery shops haven’t always held great allure, unless you’re in the market for socks emblazoned with Hokusai’s The Wave or a Van Gogh postcard. Recently, though, we’re seeing galleries get creative about a sense other than sight. Visiting the Royal Academy late last year we spotted a perfume specially created to accompany the sell-out Antony Gormley exhibition. Just as Bella Freud designed a limited-edition poloneck to accompany the exhibition of her father’s self-portraits, the Antony Gormley limited edition Iron Eau de Parfum created by perfume designer Azzi Glasser offered a way to complete a sensory experience. There were only 100 made, each individually numbered, and are still in stock at time of writing; £150stg. It makes a memorable souvenir, for sure, aiming to capture the cold smell of metal along with warm wood and resin notes.

We were also intrigued to see a collection of limited-edition mini eau de parfums created by Irish-Canadian photographer Erin Quinn. EQ Factories eau de parfum (all gender-neutral) are all handmade with essential oils and aim to be evocative and memorable;  I love the sound of Can’t Do Without You, a blend of hyacinth, iris, woods, tobacco and patchouli. They are available exclusively at IMMA Shop, €28.50 each (10ml). www.theimmashop.com

Chic old-school French beauty brand Buly worked with the Louvre in Paris last year to create eight scents inspired by some of the gallery’s works of art. So for example The Winged Victory of Samothrace is interpreted by the wonderful Aliernor Massenet, who is also the perfumer behind Memo Paris perfumes (if you haven’t smelled French Leather, head straight to Brown Thomas and smell it now, it’s a stunner). Inspired by the Samothrace sculpture, Massenet has come up with a tuberose, magnolia and jasmine and myrrh blend; I’m also bowled over by the creamy, soft and gorgeous Grande Odalisque, a musky incense that gets right under your skin (€125). And Buly perfume bottles are packaged with handwritten calligrapy labels, so make a divine gift. They’re also interesting as they’re alcohol-free – ideal if you have very sensitive skin. I love the special edition box of all eight, €220; more affordable are the sheets of scented paper soap, €15. Find them online, www.buly1803.com, and at Selfridges in London.

Closer to home, a few years ago, The Burren Perfumery joined up with botanical artist Cliona Doyle to design their perfume bottles; her elegant prints can be see at www.sofinearteditions.com. So when you buy a bottle of Frond or Winter Woods, you’re getting a little piece of irish art into the bargain … www.theburrenperfumery.com

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