Monday, July 26, 2010

The Victorian Pharmacy

Alec Lawless, founder and perfumer at Essentially Me Artisan Perfumery, is to appear in the fourth episode of a BBC2 TV series "The Victorian Pharmacy" scheduled on Thursday 5th August at 9pm. On the progamme he works with the three presenters to create a new fragrance using traditional ingredients. The perfume will also be available to buy exclusively from Essentially Me from the same date.

Here's what Alec had to say about the experience:
"For the TV documentary I looked at late Victorian recipes for three perfumes and decided to use many of those ingredients with the addition of some oils from India. As I was going to call the fragrance Empress of India I decided it should contain the finest quality aromatics in fitting tribute to the traditions of perfumery in a bygone age.I chose classic Orientals for the base: sandalwood, vetivert Bourbon, frankincense, vanilla, opoponax and patchouli. For the heart: tuberose, jasmines Sambac and grandiflorum, rose Maroc and orange blossom absolute. Citrus top notes of neroli, bergamot and mandarin were complimented by rose Otto, orris root and coriander.As for the purposes of the television I had three apprentices, I got each to experiment with one of the accords before assessing them as a group and blending them in just proportion to produce the finished fragrance. It was quite engaging and even the guys on sound and camera came to check it when it was finished."
More details from the BBC website can be accessed here. And also on BBC iPlayer.
The corresponding perfume, "Empress of India", will be available exclusively from Essentially Me from 4th August in a 56ml bottle, either as an Eau de Parfum (£65) or Eau de Toilette (£45). There will also be a special edition sample size bottle of Eau de Parfum.


  1. Anonymous08:33

    hi Elena.. how cool is this? I watched an episode just last week, and i have to admit to thinking how cool it would be to see old perfume bottles featured. This is of course even better! can't wait to see this episode (on my BD, no less..).. and BTW: very nice article you wrote in the latest Basenotes magazine! cheers, Wendy

  2. wendy,

    thanks, it's indeed super cool. And doubly thanking for the compliment on my article.


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