A new year calls for a new scent. We invited Emma and Robyn, the duo behind Interiors and Home Blog, All Up In My Space, into our Coal Drops Yard store to experience one of our bespoke fragrance appointments to help them find their perfect fragrance to kick-off 2020. Here's how they got on...
Let's begin this with a little introduction. We may both be lifestyle bloggers and Instagrammers, and it's possible that we look a bit like bad drawings of one another, but that's where the similarities between us end. In every other way we are opposites. Emma likes everything calm, neutral and minimalist, with as little going on as possible. Robyn likes all the joyful colour and pattern, with a side helping of glitter and pom-poms on top. And it's the same with fragrance – wildly different. Robyn, a choky-smoky old-library incense; Emma, an innocuous sweet and powdery spice. So, it was with a jolly, 'good luck' that we shook hands with Richard in the Miller Harris store at London's Coal Drops Yard. But he did it. He did the impossible and matched us both with the new scents we never knew we needed.
So, before we even got to the store, Robyn had declared that she knew which fragrance I would like, and that it famously smelled post-coital. I mentally checked out of that one because, you know, opposites. I've always been a fan of easy, warm smells – not too sweet, not too aquatic and not too complex – with just a touch of powdery yum about them. Which makes me a total nightmare to profile, because there's really nothing to hook onto in that description. But Richard sat us down, gave us chocolate, and talked us through every bottle in earnest, spritzing away and letting us know only at the very end which ones we had loved. I smelled spicy notes, floral notes and smoky notes until eventually, rapturously, there was one that just smelled right. The warming amber, that light musk; the soft scent of something very old softened by gentle vanilla – it was perfect. L'air de Rien was the thing that had been missing my whole life. The moment you find your signature fragrance is a highly personal one, and something that shouldn't be marred by the fact that it was the scent you'd written off after your best pal Robyn said she thought you'd like it. Turns out she knows me too well – how fitting that the minimalist out of the two of us ended up with the scent that has no heart notes?
Choosing fragrance can be a faff because what I love is pretty formulaic. I know what I like and that’s tobacco and incense in winter and patchouli and citrus in summer but I was after something I could wear all year round and was a little left-field. Step forward the master of Miller Harris ceremonies, Richard. This man is a genius. He sat me down, asked what I liked in a perfume and then went about choosing options with the panache of Willy Wonka but this factory is an olfactory wonderland. The runners up were: La Fumée Intense which was packed with Lavender, Cardamom, Coriander, Patchouli and Oud for a fireside feel and Vetiver Insolent with Bergamot Black Pepper, Crisp Amber, Tonka Bean and Moss that all come together to create a warm, snug scent that makes you feel all wrapped up. Then the victor, Feuilles de Tabac boasting Sage, Pine needle and Tobacco leaf that immediately took me back to sitting with my grandad as he smoked a cigar while my nan made dinner - it’s a voluptuous scent that packs a punch but that punch is reassuring, reminiscent and warm - it pulls you in. You could wear it on a balmy summer evening while dining alfresco but also spritzed into your scarf as you face the April showers. So with a candle and the fragrance in hand, I skipped out of Miller Harris safe in the knowledge that my house, and my person, would smell sensational right through the roaring twenties.
In summary: our one and only top tip for finding your perfect fragrance is to go and see Richard in the Miller Harris store at Coal Drops Yard. The end.
Read more from the odd couple on their blog, All Up In My Space, find Emma on Instagram @thecrapflat and Robyn @almost_everything_off_ebay.