Mother’s Day present ideas: a perfume and tea salon at Illuminum fragrances

Now THIS is what we call a good Mother’s Day present idea, a rare tea and perfume appreciation salon at Illuminum Fragrance Lounge in Dover Street., London

For the last few weeks we’ve had PRs sending us ‘ideas’ for Mother’s Day, which this year seem to be geared towards getting us all in printed pyjamas (and I don’t mean the fashionable versions, I’m blaming the Onesie) which strikes me as deadly dull. To be honest, it’s not presents we mothers need on Mother’s Day, it’s a break  from all the dull jobs we have to do, so TIME is the perfect present for us, swiftly followed by an interesting experience where we can learn something, or make ourselves feel good. Heaven knows we all have enough ‘stuff’.

So this idea by smart perfume house Illuminum (we wrote about the clever car aromizer here) to host a half day talk on tea from the Rare Tea Company and how perfume is made, given by experts at Illuminum, seemed a terrific idea. In small groups (16 only per session) you will learn about tea from the people who supply Heston at the Fat Duck restaurant and taste not just the straightforward tea types but also interesting mixes and tea cocktails from a tasting menu. I am currently slightly obsessed with real leaf tea (rather than tea bags) ever since I interviewed the perfumer Linda Pilkington from Ormonde Jayne who claims there is a strong link between quality tea and perfume (she is also obsessed with the stuff). There will also be chocolates from Paul A Young, a chocolate expert who will probably tell you eating chocolate is a good thing ( I’m guessing here).

After that you get a fragrance talk on Illuminum perfumes, how they are made, what goes into them and how to appreciate perfume generally, all while sitting in the gorgeous surroundings of the perfume lounge. I’ve increasingly thought that perfume retail needs to get its act together and offer up experience rather than just product in stores. It can be terrifying buying a new smell, I think the worst place to try is a department store environment, when no one is really interested in getting the right smell for you, they just want to shift product. Sitting down and really learning about smell and discovering all the different perfumes on offer in order to make a proper selection is the best way to do it, when we have the time, so this really might work for you if you are serious about changing perfumes or branching out into additional smells. Admittedly the place only sells Illuminum perfumes (I don’t need to tell you, I’m sure, that Kate Middleton got her wedding perfume from this brand) but they are top notch smells.

(remember too that Ormonde Jayne and Roja Dove do a similar, if less fancy idea along this line at their perfumeries if you want to research a new scent).

So, if this appeals, you need to put this post in front of a family member pronto, there are very limited places on 15th and 16th March, 11.00am and 3.00pm each day, and you must book. It costs £45 a ticket BUT you get a £50 voucher to spend on perfume, so that strikes me as a win-win present deal.

Book and buy tickets from  [email protected] or telephone 0207 495 8776. Lets us know what you think if you go!


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