The Perfume Lounge

High perfumery in Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Meeting Grossmith Amanda and Kate Brooke

Some time ago, I had the pleasure to speak to Grossmith owner Amanda Brooke and her daughter Kate Brooke at Fortnum and Mason in London. Entering Fortnum and Mason felt like travelling back in time 50 years or more. It was quite a pleasant and very English experience. We talked about Floral Veil and all other Grossmith fragrances.

Grossmith consists of Four collections, the Classic Collection, the Royal Collection, the Black Label Collection and the precious Baccarat Collection. The Classic Collection has three fragrances Phul-Nana, Shem-el-Nessim and Hasu-No-Hana. The Royal Collection consists of Betrothal and Diamond Jubilee Bouquet. The Black Collection has Floral Veil, Amelia, Saffron Rose and Golden Chypre.

Kate Brooke at Fortnum and Mason

Kate Brooke at Fortnum and Mason

What impressed me most about our meeting was Kate’s and Amanda’s openness and kindness. They were not only very honest about their daily experiences of owning a perfume house and selling perfumes but they were also genuinely interested to know and meet their customers.

Amanda Brooke and Kate Brooke

Amanda Brooke and Kate Brooke

Amanda Brooke told me their clients want to know the notes in a perfume so they have little displays of them on their counter. Kate Brooke works at Fortnum and Mason at the Grossmith perfume counter. They also shared some irritations like people asking for samples without knowing their fragrances and people carelessly overspraying their fragrances before their counter. Speaking to them I understand their irritation as so much effort and money gone into their fragrances.

While explaining and showing me their fragrances, their eye for details struck me. Everything has been thought through very carefully from packaging to bottles, to counter, to little sample boxes with an included blotter. The complete packaging is made in the UK. It looks and feels quite luxurious, especially their boxes. The design of the bottle and packaging of the Black Label Collection was created by their daughter Eleonor Brooke.

When asking Amanda about the inspiration for the name Floral Veil she explained that it was the veil on the hat of her mother. But everyone has his/her own idea about a veil, depending on his/her cultural tradition. A floral veil might refer to a wedding veil as well. All names for the new Grossmith fragrances are created by the Brooke family.

Grossmith was originally founded in the City of London in 1835. Hasu-No-Hana was originally introduced in 1888. In 2009 Hasu-No-Hana was re introduced by the Brooke family giving the French fragrance house Robertet carte blanche financially to recreate this fragrance together with Phul-Nana (1891) and my personal favorite Shem-el-Nessim (1906). Kate Brooke told me Phul-Nana had been used as a verb as well, to get Phul-Nanad, to get well dressed to go out.  A tin of Phul-Nana face powder produced in WW II can still be seen in the Museum of London.

I will not go into too much detail about the Grossmith history as the article will become too long but if you are interested, can read their  fascinating story in Scent by Descent in The Telegraph. Or you might like to watch their story in the BBC 4 series Perfume, part 3, The Smell of the Future.

Shem-el-Nessim and Hasu-no-Hana Museum Pieces

Shem-el-Nessim and Hasu-no-Hana Museum Pieces

The Perfume Lounge, Amsterdam, has very kindly offered a 2 ml sample of Grossmith Floral Veil for a give away. What do you have to do ?

  1. Follow L’Esperessence on Twitter, Instagram, via mail or WordPress.
  2. Tell us how you follow in your comment.
  3. Leave a comment with your favorite Grossmith fragrance
  4. Draw closes 10-10-2015, at 10 PM, London Time
  5. Draw is world wide, a winner is chosen using
  6. The winner is anounced in a separate post, you will be contacted by mail. Please keep a close eye to your mail !

Special thanks go to The Perfume Lounge, Amanda and Kate Brooke from Grossmith London.

Do you know Grossmith fragrances ? If so, which one is your favorite ? And why ? Tell us more !

Photographs by: Esperessence

Bethrothal, introduced for the engagement of Prince William and Catherine Middleton

Bethrothal, introduced again for the engagement of Prince William and Catherine Middleton



Lorenzo Villoresi Aura Maris Mare Nostrum


Last friday I had the pleasure to meet the Italian perfumer Lorenzo Villoresi at the Perfume Lounge in Amsterdam. His line never appealed to me but I wanted to meet him nonetheless. I am glad I did. Lorenzo Villoresi told us about his latest eau de toilette Aura Maris and let us smell some of its pure ingredients.

Meeting Lorenzo Villoresi made me realize how serious he is about his perfumes and how much work and effort his perfumes have  taken him to create. While telling us about exploring the Middle East for good quality raw materials he took us back a moment into ancient times of spice trade. One could almost imagine camel caravans travelling through Middle Eastern deserts transporting golden spices.


Aura Maris is the first perfume from the Mare Nostrum Collection and means sea breeze. Mare Nostrum is latin for our sea, the Mediterranean Sea. Although a perfume inspired by the sea fortunately, it is not an aquatic scent. The top citrus notes made with mandarin, lemon and bergamot are exquisite. This is a reason on its own to buy this eau de toilette, which I did. The citrus notes are very uplifting and are favorite notes of Lorenzo Villoresi. In the heart notes hedione and narcissus are used which we scented as ingredients as well.


The Mare Nostrum Collection is a tribute to the Mediterranean Sea with its rich cultural, historical, mythological history. What does Aura Maris capture ? Lorenzo Villoresi told us Aura Maris captures a light breeze and the scents the sea breeze brings from the trees next to the sea, wood and some herbs. The image I get is from a bright sun shining on the Mediterranean Sea. It reminded me personally of the Mediterranean in Southern Spain during summer holidays.

Aura Maris suggests an eau de cologne due to the citrus notes but it stays longer on the skin. It is not a very original scent but captivating due to the sparkling citrus notes. Longevity is not very long so you have to reappply during the day. image

It is an excellent perfume to invite spring into our lives for those of us who do not live near the Mediterranean Sea and are still having a very cold winter.

March 2013