This Insider’s Secret Means You Can Wear The Finest French Perfumers At Pharmacy Prices - The Gloss Magazine

This Insider’s Secret Means You Can Wear The Finest French Perfumers At Pharmacy Prices

Not all the best scents come from a fancy boutique or department store. I have a favourite cologne that comes from a local pharmacy, and it costs less than €25 …

It’s easy to disregard Roger & Gallet as a bit of an old-fashioned soap company, and choose a fancier cologne. But Roger & Gallet is one of those brands that inspires great love, once you’ve discovered it. When I last featured a bottle, lots of readers got in touch to ask where to find it, as distribution is now more limited. So I’m including a full list of stockists (below), and devotees will be pleased to learn that the company is looking to increase distribution around Ireland.

Several years ago I had the chance to learn more about the company and its origins, and discovered it dates back 160 years; Armand Roger and Charles Gallet inherited the original formula for Eau de Cologne in 1862. Originally created to purify and fragrance the skin, and to “invigorate the senses”, the original focus was always “bonheur”, or happiness; they adopted the idea of wearing great smells to enhance wellbeing long before the current trend (thugh I could live without the vague “Fragrant Wellbeing Water” subtitle they’re now using – cologne is a far less woolly category). Personally I would choose these colognes over, say, pretty but pricey Atelier Cologne, for example (from €60 for a mini 30ml and €189 for 200ml). By contrast, R&G’s 100ml are around the €40 mark, with the same eight scents in shower gels for €11.

The most interesting aspect of R&G for me is the perfumers they have worked with – a hitlist of some of the very best in the business, including Francis Kurkdjian (Fleur de Figuier); Fabrice Pellegrin (Neroli); and Alberto Morillas (Gingembre Rouge) – the Spanish master perfumer behind a billion bestsellers, from Armani Acqua di Gio, Gucci Bloom, Caudalie Eau Des Vignes, Cartier’s exquisite Panthere and ‘90s blockbuster CK One (clearly it’s easier to list the perfumes he hasn’t created). Finally, my favourite, Bois d’Orange, is by Dominique Ropion – yes, the creator of Portrait of a Lady. It’s a woody orange that’s bright and cheerful, with warmth. None of these scents last long on the skin, but that’s the point of cologne – an instant hit of sunshine that smells great and makes you feel good (and perhaps remember your sun-lit Spanish holiday) every time you re-spray it, which will be often, as that immediate first impact is the best.

A more minimalist look for Roger & Gallet, using reduced-packaging, is being phased in, and is definitely worth looking out for – the new clear cologne bottles are chic and pared-back. Everything is made in France. As well as the scents, consider the soaps as a pleasingly old-school touch in your bathroom – they are extremely creamy and attractive in their pleated paper. One reader, Marie Therese, mentioned poignantly that her late mother sent her Roger & Gallet soaps every Christmas and so the scents are incredibly evocative for her; another reader mentions that she keeps the paper from the soaps to scent drawers and wardrobes. There’s a range of shower gels to match, too, which brighten up any bathroom.

So if you’ve been walking past this shelf in your local chemists, reverse and have a closer look – we can all use some French luxury at a lower price.

Roger & Gallet are stocked at: Haven Pharmacy, Cabinteely and Stillorgan; Dalkey pharmacy; O’Sullivan’s Pharmacy, Fethard, Co Tipperary. Eakins Pharmacy, Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan. Finnerty’s Pharmacy, Nenagh, Co Tipperary. Kieran’s (Total Health) Pharmacy, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim. Kevin Matthers Pharmacy, Dundalk, Co Louth. McQuillan’s Pharmacy, Blackrock, Co Louth. Magees Pharmacy, Letterkenny, Co Donegal and CH Chemist, Tralee, Co Kerry.

Main featured image Ulla Johnson via Jason Lloyd Evans.


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