The Bear Evolution


    In the early Spring of 1799, James Atkinson, an enterprising young
    gentleman from the wilds of Cumberland, set forth by carriage for the
    glorious city of London. In his suit pocket were recipes for fine scents
    and toiletries of his own devising. Next to him sat a sizeable quantity of
    rose-scented bear grease balm. Next to the balm sat a growly bear.

    The growly bear was thoroughly devoted to James. Within mere days
    the utterly fantastic balm became indispensable to London’s most uppity
    crust, who braved the bear at the door of 44 Gerrard Street
    (“that marvellous perfume shop with the most terrifying bear”)
    to procure sufficient stock for the Social Season.


    In 1800, James Atkinson hit upon his most startling creation to date,
    a fearlessly English Eau de Cologne totally different from the
    Italianate colognes then in vogue. Curiously fresh yet warm and spicy,
    the new Eau de Cologne was stronger and more prepossessing than
    its continental cousins, with a lingering trail that conjured
    forth the confident attributes of the British Empire.
    It and all things Atkinsons became such a sensation with the royal ranks that
    when King George IV caught a whiff of it at Buckingham in 1826, he proclaimed
    Atkinsons the Official Perfumer to the royal Court of England on the spot.
    From then on the sweet smell of Atkinsons’ success wafted
    throughout the realm, emanating most deliciously, in 1832, from its
    utterly fantastic new headquarters at 24 Old Bond Street.


    Atkinsons’ greatest devotee in Regency England was that fabulous arbiter of all
    things elegant, Beau Brummel, First Dandy of the Realm. Lesser luminaries –
    Napoleon, the duke of Wellington, Admiral Nelson, Lady Hamilton, Prince Tomasi
    di Lampedusa, Queen Margherita di Savoia, and the Tsarina of Russia – also
    clamoured after Atkinsons’ customised bouquets. Soon, all of society was hot
    for the house’s instantly recognisable, off- the-peg creations. To meet demand, new
    shops were opened abroad – in Paris, the Americas and Australia. The Atkinsons
    inventory was positively bursting with new fragrances. White rose. English
    Lavender. Royal Briar. The British Bouquet. The Odd Fellow’s Bouquet… Then as
    now, and quite unlike anything anyone has sniffed before or since, each is
    unconventionally powerful, and unexpectedly vigorous and enduring. They are,
    we dare say, the very essence of English Fragrance.


    After a most delightful hibernation, Atkinsons and its growly bear have awoken
    from their slumber totally refreshed and revived. Drawing on 200 years of English
    eccentricity, style and impeccable manners, not to mention an incomparable
    heritage and imperishable commitment to making the highest echelons of society
    as fragrant and delectable as humanly possible, we are now ready to usher in a
    new century of perfume snobbery. How? By means of our newest collections, our
    boldest and most irresistible to date. “True style,” as Beau Brummel once said,
    “never goes out of fashion. You simply cannot keep
    a good bear down.”