Monday, 5 March 2012

What is the Secret to the Best Perfume?

One of my earliest memories is of my mother glamorous in black and sparkling with diamonds, she would pop in to my room and kiss me good night wearing perfume. Her scent would linger in my bedroom. She was gone for the evening. I would be left lying in bed feeling that the most beautiful person in the world had abandoned me!  I smile now of course as my own children are also uniquely selfish and demanding of me on those rare occasional I actually go out in the evening .. .. but perhaps that is why I keep my best bottle downstairs, and spray a mist just as I walk out of the door. 

My favourite perfumes are from Annick Goutal.  I think that they are very reasonably priced for such a boutique fragrance. It is written that the secret of her sensuous perfumes lay in her talent for transforming emotions into fragrances. Each unique creation I was told by the lovely Eric in the shop on Moncombe Street , represents a moment of happiness, a treasured emotion, or even a powerful memory  that is connected to a significant event  a loved one or just a moment captured in eternity.

 The first time I went in to he shop I wasn’t instantly doused in perfume the way many shops do seem to love spraying you from top to bottom!   Eric chatted with me, asked me about myself, and was intrigued by my love of food and flavour.  I wasn’t expecting to buy a perfume.  It normally takes years for me to find a scent I love and yet after finding out all the things I love and like Eric sprayed two perfumes on a card. To my astonishment one of the perfumes was the most divine scent and is called Mandragore Pourpre  It has bergamot, mint, star anis, rosemary from Spain, geranium and black pepper in it and Camille Goutal and Isabelle Doyen created this spicy romantic scent  in 2009. It's me. 

I’m not expecting  people to rush out and buy the same perfume I love …  we all have different tastes .. but what I find particularly fascinating is the food elements woven in. the layers of scent are almost musical in their tones. There is rhythm and the scents are blended like a cord played on the piano.  Base notes, top notes and balanced in harmony using ginger and lemon, violet, sage, black pepper and vanilla. It is the way I develop my recipes and flavours as a cook ...  so I wonder is the is the secret to a really amazing perfume is that it makes you smell utterly delicious?

ANNICK GOUTAL20 Motcomb Street
SW1X 8LB London
tel.: 0207 823 2176


  1. Lovely! I always wear the same perfume, Vanessa. It's me and everyone knows it is me. Scent is a very personal thing isn't it! I like the perfume in your photo - Eau de Charlotte : )

    Charlotte x

  2. There is nothing stronger than the smell of something (food/perfume/dettol!) or music that evokes the memory in such a powerful way. Love the bottles - I am intrigued to smell your perfume now as I have not come across it before.

  3. I see this is stock in David Jones in Melbourne. I am in the City today and will pop in for a tester.

  4. I find it really difficult to buy perfume and so tend to use the same one. For years that was Chanel 19 and now I wear Prada. I like the idea of being recognised by the perfume you wear. The waft of fragrance that is unmistakably me! GG


If you are reading my blog I must warn you that I am not impartial. I want to influence you. I want to make you stop for just a moment and consider the effect of a lifetime of seemingly insignificant decisions and how making small delicious choices can change the world.

I believe that we can change the world one bite at a time.

It's a delicious revolution.