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London scented secrets ...

May 22th

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In London's historic quarters, under one of the oldest covered walkways, Find The Royal Arcade, and in it one discovers a hidden shop at number 12. This is Ormonde Jayne, independent perfumer where you can customise your favourite fragrance. – Jo Phillips, Londres.

London; a city as rich as a cream puff, formed of a multitude of delicious layers, so many layers of history. And at the heart of it all, some delicious nuggets to discover.

Walk around and find the tiny cobbled backstreets of say the area of Borough (south east London) and you will find yourself ensconced in some of the oldest street in London, ones that date back to Roman times but also streets that light the touch-paper to such dignitaries as Charles Dickens because street names appear in front of your eyes that jump from the pages of his distinguished books. Take for example the Marshalsea Prison which is the debtors prison mentioned in his book Little Dorrit, the prison of course no longer exists but the street it is named after is still there; Marshalsea street SE1.

London if full to the brim with wonderful little alleyways, cobbled streets and covered alcoves ripe for discovery. Of course not only is it wonderful to be steeped in such history but it’s often these streets where you will discover some of the nicest intimate cafes and boutiques London has to offer.

Take as another example The Royal Arcade in central London; a covered petite arcade which runs discreetly between Abermarle street and Bond street. An area of exclusive elegance; a tasteful walkway covered by a glass roof, richly decorated arches, and shops with curved glass window bays. The arcade opened in 1879, has changed little in the intervening years, making it a rare original Victorian cloister worth discovering for its unique boutiques as well as its refined architecture.

It started out as merely The Arcade but once the resident of number 12, the shirtmaker H.W. Brettell , which was patronised by Queen Victoria so it became The Royal Arcade. Still to this day it has brands within the arcade with royal patronage. But let us go back to the shop at number 12

The door now opens to the elegant, polished bijou new home of the perfumer Ormonde Jayne. Recently refitted it is a compact warm dark chocolate, cream and tangerine space cocooning an all important hexagonal perfume bar where you can immerse yourself in the 17 fragrances included within her library. This alluring niche fragrance brand was started by Linda Pilkington, one of the first of the crop of British brands to enter the world of exquisite independent perfume makers. Still being driven forward by Linda; a non-traditionally trained perfumer with incredible knowledge and a wonderful nose.

While we discuss this raw material, which is called hedione, one of the most used molecules in perfumery that serves as both fixative and "booster", Linda Pilkington, explains that when the master perfumer Edmond Roundnitska was creating one of the best-known perfumes for men's perfumes, Eau Sauvage en 1966, he was mistaken in the formula, putting too much hedione in his composition. And it is thanks to this beautiful accident that he has created one of the sexiest perfumes for men. And unintentionally allowed the hedione to reach heights. This is not an ingredient we hear a lot about when perfume houses describe the different notes of a fragrance, but it's one of the most used in all modern perfume.

While we visit the shop, we learn some anecdotes about some great perfumes, that we discover some beautiful scent, we learn that it is possible to live a much more personal experience. The brand has just launched a "tailor-made" service that allows the customer to obtain one of his favorite fragrances in the intensity required (this can go up to the extract, which contains 20 40% of compounds aromatics). The cap of the bottle is then engraved with the desired initials, so that we can leave the place with a personalized perfume.

Moreover, before leaving, it would be a shame not to look at the last fragrance of the house that arrives this month in shop: True Love. A partum of conquest. Just as light overcomes the shadow, true love is the ultimate emotion. It is made of contentment, understanding, forgiveness too, because nobody is perfect. The name of this perfume invites to reflection: what does love mean? It's about using his intuition to answer that question ...

Top notes of Bergamot, mandarin, tarragon, schinus mole, freesia Heart notes of Rose, hedione orris, jasmin, ylang, honey With a soul of Cashmere woods, sandalwood, benzoe, musk, castoreum

So next time you want a little bit of culture, history, romance and luxury, wander down one of London’s little alleyways for an sensual fragrance experience ands if you do go to The Royal arcade discover the riches of shop number 12.

The Royal Arcade, 28 Old Bond Street, London. ormondejayne.com