Grossmith Afternoon of Heritage and Discovery at Les Senteurs

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I attended the Grossmith Afternoon of Heritage and Discovery event at Les Senteurs on Seymour Place in Marylebone this past Sunday where Simon Brooke delivered to us a presentation detailing the discovery of his ancestral links to Grossmith perfumes and his and his family’s work in relaunching the venerated English perfume house.

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Since discovering he was the great great grandson of John Grossmith, founder of the perfume house which dates back to 1835, Simon Brooke, his wife Amanda, and their family have thankfully brought Grossmith’s collection of exceptional fragrances back into the streams of our olfactory consciousness with the Classic Collection of perfumes, Hasu-no-Hana, Phul-Nana, which was once England’s most sought after perfume, and Shem-el-Nessim, which were originally released in 1888, 1891, and 1906 respectively.

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Phul-Nana, once England's most popular perfume.  Today's contemporary version is my favorite of the revamped Classic Collection

Phul-Nana, once England’s most popular perfume. Today’s contemporary version is my favorite of the revamped Classic Collection

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Our goodie bags included a postcard print of a 1906 advertisement for Shem-el-Nessim by Thomas Maybank.  I love the cupids funneling flowers into the perfume bottle

Our goodie bags included a postcard print of a 1906 advertisement for Shem-el-Nessim by Thomas Maybank. I love the cupids funneling flowers into the perfume bottle

 

 

The work and dedication the Brooke family have committed to Grossmith struck me as a real labor of love, and having a penchant for history, I developed a real soft spot for Grossmith as Simon discussed Project Ameila, the two years he spent in researching the perfume house which had been out of business for three decades, affectionately named in honor of Amelia Brooke, Simon’s great grandmother, and bringing to fruition the vision for the company to incorporate that rich sense of history and identity in perfumes remastered for today’s consumers demonstrated in the magnificent Black Label Collection of fragrances, Floral Veil, Amelia, Golden Chypre, and my personal favorite, the truly opulent, exotic Saffron Rose.

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White Fire released in 1954. I am a little bit obsessed with its flacon!

To celebrate its 60th anniversary, White Fire was recreated for us to sample with a scintillating blend of piquant spices rushing through cool aldehydes.  Spectacular!

To celebrate its 60th anniversary, White Fire was recreated for us to sample with a scintillating blend of piquant spices rushing through cool aldehydes. Spectacular!

Two vintage White Fire advertisements

Two vintage White Fire advertisements

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By the close of 2014  Grossmith may be found in close to 135 stockists, all carefully selected and vetted by the Brooke family,  in as many as 40 countries worldwide. And with an addition to the Black Label Collection planned for 2015,  it’s fascinating to see the revival and growth of this 179 year old sleeping beauty.

The marvelous Mr. James Craven joined in the presentation to speak to us about how from the 1880's up until World War II, the popular perception of perfume, previously linked only with harlots and wicked women, was cultivated and changed by associations with celebrity and royalty to gain acceptance and respectability

The marvelous Mr. James Craven joined in the presentation to speak to us about how from the 1880’s up until World War II, the popular perception of perfume, previously linked only with harlots and wicked women, was cultivated and changed by associations with celebrity and royalty to gain acceptance and respectability

Lily Langtry (left) starred in a series of advertisements for Pears Soap and Queen Alexandra (right) whom awarded Grossmith with a Royal Warrant.  Mr Craven also spoke with us about some of Queen Alexandra's rather questionable beauty rituals!

Lily Langtry (left) starred in a series of advertisements for Pears Soap and Queen Alexandra (right) whom awarded Grossmith with a Royal Warrant. Mr Craven also spoke with us about some of Queen Alexandra’s rather questionable beauty rituals!

Mr Craven had a way of intertwining the worlds of fragrance, history, and culture that I absolutely loved.  Although his portion of the presentation was brief it was ripe with information.

Mr Craven had a way of intertwining the worlds of fragrance, history, and culture that I absolutely loved. Although his portion of the presentation was brief it was ripe with information.

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2 thoughts on “Grossmith Afternoon of Heritage and Discovery at Les Senteurs

  1. james craven

    Thank you so much for your immensely kind and generous remarks, enormously appreciated. That’s so lovely of you. Thanks for coming and for helping to make the afternoon such a happy success.

    James xx

    Like

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