ONCE UPON A FRAGRANT TIME
Once upon a time an intrepid young British gentleman and a bear (yes, a real live growly bear) left the wild, rugged climes of Northern England in search of fame, fortune and fabulousness among the glittering cosmopolitan streets of London.
That gentleman went by the name of James Atkinson and the year was 1799
Before long everyone who was anyone was beating a path to his perfume emporium at 44 Gerrard Street in Soho to purchase his fragrant wares, with glorious wafts of Atkinsons scents delighting the delicate nostrils of London’s dames, dukes, debutantes, dandies and darlings.
His reputation for purveying the finest of fine fragrances was cemented in 1800 with the launch of a bold, confident English Eau de Cologne, as powerful and mighty as the British Empire itself. The distinctive Atkinsons flacon by now had become a must-have accoutrement in the dressing room of any self-respecting stylish lady or gentleman throughout the realm.
But wait, there’s more. His fame spread abroad and before long his clientele featured names as august and regal as Prince Tomasi di Lampedusa, the Tsarina of Russia, Queen Margherita of Savoia, Lady Hamilton and that dandiest of all dandies, Beau Brummel. Even arch-enemies Napoleon and the Duke of Wellington were fragrantly united in their appreciation of Atkinsons’ divine colognes.
And if that weren’t enough, the final seal of sweet-smelling success came in 1826 when King George IV chanced upon the brand and was immediately intoxicated. Love at first whiff, one might say. In fact, he went so far as to proclaim Atkinsons the Official Perfumer to the Royal Court of England and the rest, as they say, is history.
With the granting of the royal seal of approval, there was no stopping our James ...
In 1832 business was thriving to the point that he upped sticks from Soho and moved lock, stock and fragrant barrel to the illustrious Mayfair district. The luxury shopping hub of the great capital city was, most conveniently for his regal clientele, just a stone’s throw away from a certain Buckingham Palace. His scents wafted tantalisingly out of 24 Old Bond Street for over a century and even today the most observant of observant passers-by will spot a plaque testifying that here once stood a mighty establishment that went by the name of Atkinsons.
They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and who wouldn’t want to behold, let along hold, this most excellent and exquisite flacon of fragrant fabulousness?
If it was good enough for Napoleon, Beau Brummel and King George IV, why change a winning formula and this applies as much to the bottle as the scents themselves. After all, a timeless British classic is a timeless British classic…
The shape of the elegant and oh so sophisticated cut-glass flask recalls that of the very first Atkinsons cologne and the etched pattern of the cap is a contemporary interpretation of the wickerwork overlay of the bottles James himself lined up with impeccable precision and elan at 44 Gerrard Street.
The coat of arms is displayed as proudly today as it was 200 years ago and naturally, it still includes a bear in memory of young James’ hirsute co-adventurer, while the seal on the centre is a homage to the original rose-scented balm that first captivated British olfactory sensibilities back in 1799.