HARRODS

Knightsbridge, London, UK

The Monsters! That’s what I like to call Selridges and Harrods.  Massive stores with massive turnover, and an expansive range of brands to choose from. Yes, Selfridges and Harrods host the largest perfume collections in London, and more often than not hold exclusive sale rights over certain brands and release launches. Unlike small boutiques, their appeal as tourist destinations often ensure that their collection match their customers expectations. Heavy marketing towards the Middle East and Asia ensure a wider range of oud and private collection fragrances. From the weary shopper picking up a £10 Juicy Couture EDP roll (Selfridges), to those in search of  a special edition bottle of Bond No.9 (Harrods) willing to pay the incredulous price of £5,500 for only 100ml. Yes, there is something for everyone. Without stating the obvious, the stores are both generously staffed, though due to the high footfall, you may not get the same level of attention, or quality of care, that you would get at smaller stores. Again, it depends on what you want. For example,  Harrods and Selfridges are great for simply buying perfume, but don’t expect anything else (like let’s say, a conversation with a member of staff or love-at-first-scent moment). Different shops are there for different moods.

 

Salon de Parfums

At first glance, Harrods stocks the largest collection of fashion house Private Collection fragrances, a wide range of commercial fragrances, and some real perfume gems. If wandering into the store you might be a little put out by its Perfume Hall at the ground level- at best, it can be described as a jumble sale, where many perfumes are placed in different rooms. However, this is a mere distraction for the Great Unwashed, as the true collection of perfume can be found on the sixth floor, at Harrods’ own Salon de Parfums. This is where the good stuff is kept.

On my last trip to London I had made a specific point of visiting the salon as it had just been relocated to the sixth floor, and I had grand visions of perfumed powdered puffs, crystal blinding me from every surface and a reception waiting to show me round. Reality dawned on me though when I remembered this was not the opening of the salon, nor was it fantasia. I’ll admit that I was a little disappointed with its corridor layout, but to anyone who found the concept of a mini arcade unfamiliar, I’ll just say that its quite a Middle Eastern habit. Below is a little taste of my three favourite brands on show.

Scentspy Harrods Salon de Parfums 1

Scentspy Harrods Salon de Parfums

Roja Dove Haute Perfumery:

This treasure trove of perfume did fulfil my expectations as the place was practically stitched together with Lalique crystal. Aside from hosting a really mammoth display of Roja Dove perfumes, it was hard to concentrate on which perfume to sample as there were just so many! Furthermore, most of them were wrapped in either Lalique or Barracat. I was able to relive my teenage years in true oppulance when I picked up the Lalique apple bottle for Nina by Nina Ricci, and I’m sure half the perfumes that get sold are vanity purchases just because the bottle are so beautiful. If I could, I would have given the Haute Perfumery twice as much space, as it is very crowded (though it already has twice as much as the other concessions). Finally (and I hope I caught them on an off day) I would send for fresh flowers as their silk flowers aren’t fooling anyone- why penny pinch on the finishing touch? That said, the Haute Perfumery is a sight to behold.

Scentspy Harrods Salon de Parfums Roja Dove

Guerlain:

I went there in L.OV.E. with Mitsouko, as it has been my perfume since I was first gifted it on my sixteenth birthday. I left in L.O.V.E. with L’Heure Bleue.

Moments of childish delight are hard to come by as we grow up, but when I felt like a little kid when I stopped by Guerlain. Everything is just SO beautiful, and in a tiny space as it was, that says something. As I said, L’Heure Bleue captured my heart after I sampled the parfum on my wrist. As the early morning hush settled around London, I was in a dream land that only such a perfume can exude.

Henry Jacques:

Christophe Tollemer- Henry Jacques Boutique, Harrods

 

I’ve saved the best for last- Henry Jacques.

After years and years of private appointments at Rue Margueritte, Paris, its presence at Harrods is a first for the unquestioned beauty that is Henry Jacques parfums. Its more conservative, understated and discreet presence was a surprise after seeing Guerlain’s sugar sweet décor and Roja Dove’s crystal boudoir displays. It is something entirely different, and I like it all the more for it. I love it however, for its bottles. I want to possess every single last falcon on display, especially ‘Miss HJ’ because that is just who I am: Miss Huda Jaber. It may as well have been made for me. I went away with something just under supreme infatuation, and I’m still holding onto my paper samples after many months. The experience was completely understated, and very special. I’m counting down the days until I go back for my second visit…

Visit their website for more information, www.harrods.com.

Location:87-135 Brompton rd, London, SW1X 7XL

Opening hours: Monday- Saturday 10am-9pm, Sunday 11.30am-6pm (check harrods.com for any changes)
By Tube: Knightsbridge (Piccadilly line)

 – SeeThe Perfume Hunt  to see the store locations on a map –