I went to catch up with the terrific Oxana Polyakova, founder of the Bloom perfume boutique in Shoreditch. When Oxana describes a perfume to me I want to try it immediately. She has a magical way with words when it comes to perfume, it must be her Russian origins, she’s very low key but authentic in her descriptions. I always want to buy everything she recommends.
We were talking about how hard it is to buy perfumes online, when many retailers don’t send out samples. Yet buying a new fragrance takes time, you need to try a few before you find your favourites. I’m curious to know if people will buy fragrance online if the description is good enough…I asked her to select a few perfumes that were crowd pleasers, beautiful fragrances you may not have come across that are much loved. And then to describe them for us here.
So we’re running a small trial ….Oxana is offering 15% off fragrances at Bloom (–and remember Bloom DO offer samples so you can try lots before you commit) and here’s her starter selection…
“The Phaedon range is a great place to start because it’s not scary, the whole range is great quality and can be worn anywhere without overpowering the atmosphere.
Cedres de The, (£69) which means Ashes of tea, is a good place to start. I see fragrances in colours and to me this one is velvety grey and it’s suede-y in its texture. It’s good for the office as it’s not overpowering, good for any occasion in fact, it makes you feel comfortable and it’s just easy to like. It has an incense-y, woody citrusy smell, it’s a classic woody fragrance but done in a more linear way, which means it doesn’t evolve that much on your skin, it stays pretty much the same as when you first spray it on.
What’s inside exactly is cardamom, patchouli, myrrh rose and cedar wood. The rose only lingers there, like a secret, you wont perceive it on spraying but on some days you’ll move a certain way and suddenly you have a flower on your skin.
Phaedron’s Tabac Rouge (£95) to me it’s a very warm comforting fragrance, makes me think of times when we relax, it smells warm. Tobacco has a very complex nature of its own and deserves the main stage. Customers like it a lot. Although it doesn’t smell like a straightforward best seller, it is never the less is one of our best selling scents.
Citruses! there are so many citruses, mandarin, lemon, bergamot, verbena, grapefruit, and many sorts of lemons, which all smell different depending on what areas they are sourced in.
Lets start with Pg Corps et Ames EDT Apaisante, (£117) which means body and soul calming, it’s crisp, and quite sophisticated, by a very talented perfumer. He added musk, which he believes has relaxing properties, so apart from smelling pleasantly –it’s a very modern citrus, it puts you in a very laid back mood….’apaisante’ means relaxing … it has the effect of making me feel like I’m alert and concentrating but not stressed.
Verveine Figuier (£69) Using verbena and the tart mix of figs, this was a huge seller for us last summer, it’s a fragrance that makes me smile. It reminds me of a lemon sorbet, when would you eat lemon sorbet? Either when you were on vacation in Italy, for dessert or maybe when you are with your child eating ice cream on a summer’s day, so it brings nice memories to mind.
Memories play a very important role in smell, because smell is linked to the oldest part of the brain, it’s linked to your first moments in life. The secret why people are so keen on vanilla is because breast milk smells of it slightly. Babies are born with very poor eye sight, so need their sense of smell to locate their mum.
Do you like neroli? Neroli Blanc (£70) is a new a new fragrance for us. This is a little know brand from the South of France, it’s so small and it produces very little quantity but the neroli they use is top quality, it’s a complex brand name, Au Pays De La Fleur D’Orange! It happens to small scale produces, they don’t have a professional makerking team, who will tell them it’s too complex! But it’s my job as a boutique to find them and bring them to everybody’s attention. Neroli Blanc makes me thinks of how the South of France smells, all those places with roses, lavender and orange trees they have there. It’s also just so endearing to think of this little company, of the way they carefully use the neroli, distil it in their labs, it’s like it has the warmth of a human hand on it. Someone made it with great care, like good wine.”
Follow the links for further descriptions on the fragrances, or Oxana and her fantastic assistant Ruth are at the end of a phone to offer advice if you have a particular request. They love to chat and are extremely informed on all their fragrances so do consider phoning.
Oxana has given TWR readers 15% discount, available until 27th November. You can have an unlimited number of orders throughout the validity period (and the discount applies to the testers too, and you can return to use the discount on the main bottle if you like it) but it doesn’t apply to gift certificates.
Access the code by tapping READERTREAT15 into the online ordering form.