A luxury perfume playground in the most famous shop in Knightsbridge ...
Many times I've heard we're on the cusp of a 'golden age of perfumery.' And there is no stronger proof that Harrods' Salon de Parfums which opened back in autumn 2014. It all began with Roja Dove's Haute Parfumerie, which was for a decade located on the 5th Floor of Harrods' Urban Retreat Spa. A little olfactory lair, it held a treasure trove of past classics, ultra high-end and niche lines as well as lesser-known gems - houses like Dior and Nina Ricci even revived certain perfumes at Roja's request. What Harrods has done appears like the next logical step - dedicating an entire floor to fine fragrance. The result is a delightful marble arcade, where well-known houses like Guerlain, Dior and Chanel has its own mini boutique showcasing their more premium scents, sharing space with other luxury lines such as Ex Nihilo, By Kilian and Clive Christian. There's also a perfume gallery showcasing Dolce & Gabbana as well as niche lines, including Thomas Kosmala and supermodel Helena Christensen's own 'strangelove nyc'. Yet the jewel in the crown is still Roja's perfumery, which thankfully has moved up there too. The space is tranquil and elegant - a busy department store beauty hall this is not.
It's here that perfumery is treated as a true art form. No giant cardboard displays featuring celebrities or shouting about a 'free gift with purchase'. True perfume fanatics (who have presumably sold a kidney to save up) you can get your own bespoke scent by Guerlain - who also offer their own range of scented teas (previously only available in their flagship Paris store), or head to Dior whose La Collection Privé range of perfumes can be personalised by adding various Les Élxir Précieux perfumed oils.
For general perfume lovers, it's a great place to go and admire the beautiful displays (especially the beautiful Guerlain 'bee bottles'), brush up on your perfume knowledge and sniff some of the more luxurious scents known to man.
Among the 11 boutiques housed by The Salon de Parfums, you can find Parisian house Ex Nihilo, who are relative new kids on the perfume block. Their creations can be tweaked with a dash more vanilla etc. and are mixed and bottled while you wait.
It's also where McQueen's first high-end perfume can be found, housed in a beautiful 'feathered' bottle, a rich dark floral infused with Sambac jasmine (the house of McQueen held the launch event for the fragrance here too).
Another lesser-known line is Henry Jacques who have been based in a small atelier in Grasse, France since 1978 and previously weren't available in the UK. The scents are concealed behind wooden pillars - and are definitely worth discovering.
Harrods Salon de Parfums is located on the 6th Floor, Harrods 87-135 Brompton Rd, London SW1X 7X (go in via Door 3 and take the escalator up to the 6th Floor)