Thursday, 15 June 2017

LONDON by Gallivant

Inspiration comes from many sources but our memories can provide some of the most unusual and exciting. There is something about the way our brains store information about a place or a situation that can result in quite an abstract recollection, and it's this that Nick Steward has used to create the debut range from Gallivant, his own perfume company. After a career spent working for some of the industry's top perfume brands, Nick felt that the time was right to branch out on his own. So, let's take a closer look at London, one of his first four fragrances, which is far more than just Earl Grey and sandwiches.

The idea of creating a perfume range based around cities is nothing new. As I said before, inspiration comes in many forms, but using locations is fraught with dangers. One person’s memories of a place can be completely unknown to another. What is different with Nick Steward’s Gallivant range though is that, whilst they are designed around specific recollections, they also cleverly appeal to a more general perfume lover who just wants an excellent scent. It's treading the fine line between challenging and pleasing that Nick has achieved so perfectly.

Two other companies that spring to mind as having used cities as inspiration are Guerlain and 4160Tuesdays. Unfortunately Guerlain’s Une Ville Un Parfum collection suffered from misjudged marketing, which left customers confused at what they were actually smelling, and the series was discontinued in 2015. 4160Tuesdays took a different approach and set each city in a certain year, creating scents that summed up those periods. A lack of interference by the dreaded "marketing machine" meant that Sarah McCartney was able to create perfumes which truly appealed, and which are still in her main catalogue.

Nick Steward's four fragrances for Gallivant however really embody the mindset of the traveller. A compact 30ml "nomad" bottle makes London, Tel Aviv, Brooklyn and Istanbul hand-luggage friendly. A robust design means that you can just throw them into your belongings without worrying about leaks, and they also fit easily into those pesky plastic bags at the airport. The perfumers Karine Chevallier and Giorgia Navarra have realised Nick’s ideas perfectly and the entire collection is exciting and surprising, but at the same time absolutely wearable. London is the creation of Karine Chevallier and Nick’s brief began with the Pet Shop Boys’ “West End Girls”.

He wanted a fragrance that embodied “his London” and not a gentrified, cleaned up, sanitised version. What you have with this fragrance is a truly intoxicating rose that defies a male or female classification. I can only describe it as arresting. The rose draws you in and then pushes outwards to reveal a watery note, with a touch of violet, but set against a bold leather. Nick describes it as “second-hand leather jackets” and that is a perfect way to think of it. It’s an urban London full of challenges, not cream tea and Darjeeling. You get a dusty aged woodiness from the orris and cedar, but London is all about that magnificent rose. Out of five stars I’m giving this six!

The complete Gallivant collection is available exclusively from Roullier White and also from the Gallivant website.

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