The unprecedentedly long reign of our wonderful Queen reflects so many changes in trends, modes and manners. Take for instance our favourite theme: perfume. One might measure out Her Majesty’s 70 Glorious Years in scents; for smelling a perfume associated with various periods of one’s life evokes innumerable poignant memories and weaves a nostalgic tapestry of a life well lived. Every scent is a brush that paints the past in brilliant colour. From your most recent purchase, to the remembered fragrance of apple blossom as you lay under the trees as a small child, every scent tells a tale. Because of this, all the fragrances you have loved stay as fresh and evocative as the day you first smelled them.
Now no one wants their best friend to copy their scent and it would be lèse-majesté to betray the names of Her Majesty’s preferred perfumes, however we do have some insights. We hear that she wears no perfume when visiting her horses lest it distract them. We know the anointing oil at her Coronation was fragrant with amber, rose, cinnamon, orange flower and incense and at the Chelsea Flower Show it is said that the Queen’s favourite flower is the lily of the valley.
Her Majesty’s private tastes - as one might expect from a true English Rose - would appear to be for fresh clear floral scents; the kind of fragrances chosen by uncomplicated straightforward generous persons who love fresh air, long walks, dogs, horses and the beautiful seasonal smells of the British countryside.
Many of Queen Elizabeth II’s royal predecessors have worn similar perfumes which have also exhibited charismatic symbolic significance. Henry VIII delighted in the rosewater which evoked both the heraldic rose of his Tudor Dynasty and the English national flower. His daughter Elizabeth I who loved delicate herbal scents was frequently painted with roses pinned about her person. The Rainbow Portrait at Hatfield House shows Elizabeth wearing a bodice embroidered with English wild flowers including heartsease, cowslips, honeysuckle and roses.
In more recent times the Queen-Empress Victoria (“Sixty Glorious Years”) favoured citrus colognes - above all orange blossom water imported from Grasse. The elegant Queen Alexandra enhanced her allure with heady red rose perfumes while her son George V (our Queen’s grandpa) chose spicy smoky violet accords.
All these scents of course enhanced the aura and majesty of the Sovereign; while the flowers themselves symbolised the peace, prosperity and natural harmony of the realm and reign. There can no flowers without sun and rain.
We can certainly accommodate our customers with similar scents to all the above. Wonderful roses especially have always reigned in splendour at LES SENTEURS: Portrait of a Lady, Incense Rose, White Flowers, Ta’if, À La Rose, Rose Tonnerre🌹... Discover the Queen of Flowers in all her moods and humours.
During Queen Elizabeth II’s record-breaking reign and indeed throughout her life many seismic changes have taken place in perfumery. Countless legendary creations have appeared; perfume houses have arisen and fallen. Perhaps most importantly, haute parfumerie has developed from a highly specialised art relevant to a very few to an essential everyday luxury for nearly all of us. Perfumery has never been so inventive, so ingenious and so accessible as it is in 2022. This truly is the Golden Age of Fragrance.
And look at LES SENTEURS! This epicentre of British niche perfumery opened more over 30 years after our Queen’s accession. Today it is a highly influential national institution dedicated to showcasing scents by gifted craftsmen and artists from all over the world.
We at LES SENTEURS are especially proud to have seen such a renaissance of British perfumery in this century. Creed, Ormonde Jayne, Tom Daxon, Heeley, Papillon, Kingdom Scotland, Moffat, Grossmith and Cloon Keen all have connections with various parts of the British isles. Creed (founded in London in 1760) has been a star since our boutique opened in 1984, but equally we are excited about our new crop of British brand partners such as Olfactive O; Shiraz Parfums and Cochine.
Papillon’s brand new release Hera is particularly germane to the Jubilee celebrations: it is named for the Greek goddess who reigned as Queen of Olympus and spills out in a regal floral fantasy of opulent abundance. Originally created as a bespoke scent for her daughter’s wedding, Liz Moores' latest launch is a magnificent creation worthy of only the most special of occasions.
We must also mention Grossmith’s Diamond Jubilee Bouquet. Founded in 1835 just before Queen Victoria came to the throne, Grossmith came to enjoy unparalleled fame and success, rivalling any Paris brand in its popularity throughout the British Empire. Diamond Jubilee Bouquet was launched in 2012 to celebrate the our Queen’s 60 years on the throne.