Perfume shops

Purveyors of the best scents in town

Ever the perennial Christmas back-up gift staple - we cross the parfumerie threshold at least once a year - but it doesn't always have to be amidst a blind, last-minute panic...

Perfume is synonymous with elegance and luxury (can't remember the last time we bought a fragrance from JD Sports) so lavish yourself at London's best high end spots for your scents - let us guide you through London's best perfume shops...

195 Westbourne Grove Notting Hill W11 2SB
Region: Notting Hill
Nearest Station: Notting Hill Gate (0.3 miles)

AIL Says: The original Diptyque store opened in Paris in 1961 as a collaboration between a painter, a set designer and an interior decorator who created fabrics and wallpapers for Liberty. It wasn’t till 1968 when they produced their first scent: L’Eau. Their fragrances are typically spicy, woody or musky, presented in exquisitely designed bottles and boxes which nod to Diptyque’s artistic origins

Jo Malone
150 Sloane Street Knightsbridge SW1X 9BX
Region: Knightsbridge
Nearest Station: Sloane Square (0.1 miles)

AIL Says: Britain’s most famous perfumer has a rags-to-riches tale: she grew up in a council house in Bexleyheath and left school at 14 to care for her mother after she suffered a stroke. She went on to build an empire by creating perfumes that are quintessentially British – cucumber, Earl Grey, pear and lime basil are ingredients that frequently pop up. The company is now owned by beauty giant Estee Lauder, but its ethos remains the same.

Harrods, Knightsbridge
87 - 135 Brompton Road Knightsbridge

AIL Says: In 2014 Harrods opened this luxurious perfume salon on the sixth floor, stocking fragrances by 11 of the best perfume houses in the world, among them Chanel, Clive Christian, Roja Dove, Dior, and Henry Jacques. Each company has its own mini-boutique to prevent smell overspill, plus there’s a lavishly decorated ‘fragrance gallery’ containing limited edition scents you won’t find anywhere else, some of which cost thousands of pounds.

Les Senteurs
71 Elizabeth Street Belgravia SW1W 9PJ
Region: Belgravia
Nearest Station: Sloane Square (0.2 miles)

AIL Says: This is one of the best places to go for a consultation to find the perfect signature scent. Some of the finest perfumes in the world for both men and women are available here, and knowledgeable staff will tell you all you need to know about their base notes. Caron, Papillon, Frederik Maille and D’Orsay are among the best-known.

Ormonde Jayne
12 Royal Arcade Mayfair W1S 4SR
Region: Mayfair
Nearest Station: Green Park (0.1 miles)

AIL Says: Ormonde Jayne’s perfumes are mostly ultra-feminine and old school, even though Linda Pilkington established the brand relatively recently, in 2002. Floral scents feature prominently, and her range of candles is just as popular – interior designer Anouska Hempel is a loyal customer. As of 2012 Ormonde Jayne supply the toiletries for all of the Mandarin Oriental hotel’s rooms and suites.

Angela Flanders Aromatics
94-96 Columbia Road Bethnal Green E2 7QB
Region: Bethnal Green
Nearest Station: Hoxton (0.2 miles)

AIL Says: Angela Flanders worked as a costume designer for TV shows before becoming a perfumer and opening her first shop in 1982. If you like classic smells you’ll like her Victorian-inspired fragrances like woody Figue Noire and musky Caspian. The Columbia Road shop looks suitable for a 19th century aristocrat.

26 Old Bond Street Mayfair W1S 4QD
Region: Mayfair
Nearest Station: Green Park (0.1 miles)

AIL Says: Nowadays any celeb worth their Z-list status brings out a perfume every Christmas, but the first person to release a globally successful scent was Coco Chanel, with Chanel No. 5 in 1919. It is the most popular perfume of all time, with a bottle being sold roughly every 30 seconds. Chanel’s flagship boutique on Old Bond Street – the biggest Chanel shop in the world – displays their other famous fragrances (Coco Chanel, Allure, Mademoiselle Coco, and No. 19 among others) in spectacular surroundings decorated with strings of real pearls, crystals and specially commissioned artworks.

16-17 Burlington Arcade Mayfair W1J 0PL
Region: Mayfair
Nearest Station: Green Park (0.1 miles)

AIL Says: Penhaligon’s brand identity has hardly changed since it was founded in the 1860s. Their Covent Garden shop would sit comfortably in the Victorian era with its fireplaces and leather chaise longues, while their fragrances, called things like Trade Routes and Malabah, continue to be inspired by colonial times. Why mess with success?

14 Lowndes Street Knightsbridge SW1X 9EX
Region: Knightsbridge
Nearest Station: Knightsbridge (0.2 miles)

AIL Says: The Western world owes many of its perfume production techniques to Arabic countries, as they introduced numerous ingredients and distilling methods to Europe. Amouage may be the only perfume company founded by a royal, in this case a sultan from Oman in 1983, who wanted to honour the Gulf State’s perfume heritage. Attars – little bottles of essential oils – are shipped into their Knightsbridge store from their Muscat factory, and sold alongside woody and spicy fragrances that evoke the heady smells of the souk.

89 Jermyn Street St. James's SW1Y 6JH
Region: St. James's
Nearest Station: Piccadilly Circus (0.1 miles)

AIL Says: When you’re looking for quintessential British products, whether it’s a finely cut suit, an artisan cheese or a fragrance, you head to Jermyn Street. This is where Floris have been trading since 1730, Britain’s oldest perfume shop. Few come with a better pedigree: Mary Shelley, Florence Knightingale and Winston Churchill have been customers over the years, and their formulas have been handed down through nine generations of the Floris family, who still run it to this day.

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