Finding a perfume that you love and that suits you is so delightful, so why not make an occasion of it and visit the Avery Perfume Gallery?
Avery describes itself as an ‘immersive space on beauty,’ and I would have to agree. The concept was curated by directors Celso Fadelli and Cristiano Seganfreddo and opened on Avery Row in 2010. This calm space provides the perfect antidote to bustling New Bond Street just a few metres away.
I was recently invited to this sumptuous place as part of my quest to discover interesting and less mainstream fragrances for you. Avery is an unassuming little treasure trove that will delight the olfactory senses, and you’ll find it tucked away on a cute little side street in the heart of London’s Mayfair.
What is a perfume gallery?
Well, it’s basically a perfume boutique with curators not sales assistants, and it’s laid out in a more original way than a simple store format. This isn’t a shop where you go in having already decided what you’re buying, but rather somewhere you come to journey through who you are and work with an expert, a curator, to match a scent to you. A far more bespoke experience.
Avery isn’t about following the pack and leaping onto the bandwagon of the latest marketing trends – it is so much more authentic than that. It mingles a contemporary setting with old school passion and values. The perfume curator reiterated to me that the concept of the gallery is very much about the fragrance itself rather than the brand. How refreshing!
Avery has galleries in other cities: Modena in Italy, where it’s housed in an old atelier with ‘elegant and sophisticated Italian lightness,’ bright and buzzing New Orleans in an art gallery opposite the new museum of contemporary art. You can also find Avery in Milan, Beverley Hills, Doha and Florence – all of them in exquisite spaces.
What does the space look like?
Avery likes to play with all the senses – not just your sense of smell! It’s a luxurious little place with birdsong piped through speakers (a wordplay nod to the gallery’s name). There are ceramic creatures that can be used as scented objects to decorate your home and candles provide a calming atmosphere. Tea and coffee are offered to customers.
Now, let’s talk about the perfumes!
I spent about an hour with the lovely perfume curator who made it her mission to find me something I’d love. There is a lovely old chest of drawers in the gallery called ‘The Boudoir,’ which showcases and stores flacon upon flacon of scents to suit all tastes.
The first questions asked were about what I like to wear – the fabrics, styles and colours. For example, green may attract you to herbal or soft floral scents, and black or deep reds might show your more sensual side.
Avery has its own fragrances, of course – five of them – created by Celso Fadelli, each one named with a letter from the word Avery. Naturally, I was keen to try them out. I tested Avery R, which to my nose was distinctly aquatic and unisex with an almost leathery undertone. Katherine Hepburn might have liked this!
The next perfume I tried was Santa Eulalia Marinis, which I would describe as dark, sweet and very, very sexy!
I then discovered Roads’ Bitter End (what a great name!). I was expecting something bitter, but actually this is a very mellow, complex scent with a hint of spicy mystery – a delicious ‘skin’ perfume (by ‘skin’ perfume, I mean something that blends so well with my own skin that it feels as though it could be my skin’s natural scent). It definitely makes me think of balmier climes. I’m thinking dusk. The scent I would wear after evening bathing.
This is the beauty of a place like Avery – you can take your time and really break down what you like and what you don’t like with absolutely no pressure. It is perfectly normal for the curator to spend an hour with a customer.
A wedding fragrance
Scent is so important on your wedding day. Have you ever worn something that doesn’t agree with you? It isn’t a pleasant experience and your wedding day is not the time for unpleasant experiences! It’s nice to have something new for this special occasion, which is why Avery is such a lovely place to find as you can really have fun! You might like Sogno d’amore by Re Profumo, which is a special wedding fragrance and very romantic.
Here are some of the others I tried:
- Boadicea collection – very bold
- Agonist ‘Saphir’ – empowering
- Santa Eulalia ‘Albis’ – floral and sensual
- Agonist ‘Solaris’ – summery
- Agonist ‘Onyx Pearl’ – velvety and unisex
- Andrea Maack ‘Coven’ – shadowy and mysterious
So, this is a little taster of what this gorgeous boutique has to offer – definitely go and check it out if you are in the neighbourhood and you’ll be one step closer to that elusive *perfect scent*. Even if you don’t find it, you’ll have a lot of fun trying!