An enchanting perfumery that's a true labour of love ...
If you're a fan of niche fragrance, as I am, you can't help being charmed by Angela Flanders' pretty little shop just across the road from Liverpool Street Station (there is another one in Columbia Road). Tucked away in the cobbled backstreets of the East End (where my grandmother grew up in the 1920s, the history of this area never fails to fascinate me) it takes a while to locate if you don't know where you going, but if you manage to find it - or stumble across it - you won't be disappointed.
Angela herself is in her eighties and if you get to meet her, she will happily wax lyrical on all things perfumery to anyone who will listen. She's the kind of woman I want to be when I grow up.
A former costume designer, she opened her first shop in 1985 selling a number of bric-a-brac, but the turning point began when she decided to create and sell a range of potpourri. Demand soon increased and she channeled her talents into perfumery full time.
So what of the perfumes themselves? These aren't just "nice scents made by a nice lady" - Flanders has been nominated and won coveted FiFi awards for her concoctions Figure Noir (nominated) and Precious One (winning). These are understated scents with soul - using rare ingredients, the notes blend together like colours in a renaissance painting. Try the dreamy 'Parisienne' or the delicate Lily of the Valley which one can imagine 1950s debutante dabbing behind her ears before smoothing out her skirt and venturing towards the dance floor.
4 Artillery Passage, Spitalfields, London E1 7LJ
Tel: 020 7247 7040 / angelaflanders-perfumer.com
Open Monday-Friday 11am-6:30pm, and Saturdays 11am-5pm.