Reviving The House of Atkinsons : New Fragrances

The venerable house of Atkinsons is back in business after many decades of oblivion. In presenting its new range of perfumes, it draws upon its heritage and “200 years of English eccentricity, style and impeccable manners.”  The current collection includes five perfumes (24 Old Bond Street, The British Bouquet, The Odd Fellow’s Bouquet, The Nuptial BouquetFashion Decree), bath and shower products, and scented candles.

24 bond

24 Old Bond Street

“The emblematic fragrance of the house, 24 Old Bond Street is an extremely English cologne of tremendous personality. Its devastatingly aromatic cocktail of juniper, rose and black tea is deepened with a gorgeously eccentric note of smoky, oak casked whisky. Bracingly fresh yet warmly embracing, it is the definitive last word in English elegance.” Created by perfumers Christine Nagel and Violaine Collas.

The British Bouquet

“For ladies and dandies alike. An olfactory ode to dandyism, The British Bouquet is to be worn like the finest suit of bespoke tailoring, with Beau Brummel confidence and panache. Woven from velvety lavender, myrtle and malt, and lined with gilded citrus top notes of bitter orange and caviar lemon. The British Bouquet is impeccably finished with a leather accord that recalls the champagne-polished Hessian boots of the Dandy himself.” By perfumer Benoît Lapouza.

The Odd Fellow’s Bouquet

“The grand return of Lawrence of Arabia to the fireside luxuries of London’s most storied gentleman’s club… This rarified ambience is conveyed with almondy heliotrope flowers and dark tobacco, heightened with ginger and fiery peppercorn and, finally, deepened with a rich ambery accord of benzoin and labdanum.” Composed by perfumer Fabrice Pellegrin.

Legendary-Collection-Atkinsons

The Nuptial Bouquet

“A cherished bouquet of ardent Romance composed of the very blooms Queen Victoria carried down the wedding
aisle to her beloved Albert… the green and white loveliness of Lily of the Valley, violet leaves and exquisite myrtle flowers enhanced with delicate white musk and sandalwood. For women who wouldn’t dream of settling for less than a prince.” Authored by perfumer Fabrice Pellegrin.

Fashion Decree

“A languorous scent redolent of a cargo of Asian silk brocades steamship-bound for London, carefully packed in patchouli leaves. A mesmerising re-creation of the fragrance that seduced the most dazzling fashionistas of the late 19th-century, among them, Sarah Bernhardt. Fashion Decree summons up a time when precious silk brocades, arriving from the Far East in trunks packed with patchouli leaves, were all the rage at the court of Queen Victoria. An opulent patchouli perfume of far-flung origins. A fragrance for exquisitely dressed women with a passion for luxury.”  By perfumer Karine Dubreuil.

The candle collection features three candles:  The Isle of Wight Bouquet (mint and rhubarb), The Hyde Park Bouquet (linden flowers, moss, and grasses), and The Mayfair Bouquet (rose, orange flower, amber, and oud wood).

The Emblematic Collection featuring 24 Old Bond Street has several items:  Eau De Cologne Spray 50 ml / 60.00 £, Eau De Cologne Spray 100 ml /80.00 £, Perfumed Toilet Vinegar 65.00 £ / 100 ml, Perfumed Body Lotion 34.00 £ / 200 ml,  Bath & Shower Essence 29.00 £ / 200 ml, Perfumed Soap 22.00 £ / 150 g.

Eaux De Toilette from The Legendary Collection (The British Bouquet, The Odd Fellow’s Bouquet, The Nuptial Bouquet, and Fashion Decree) retail for 95.00 £ /100 ml.

Candles are 56.00 £ /450 gr.

The design and communication agency Aesthete, founded and headed by Thierry de Baschmakoff, worked on the packaging for Atkinsons. Atkinsons fragrances are currently available at Harrod’s. Via press release

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68 Comments

  • Cornelia Blimber: Atkinson! Readers of Heimito von Doderer have of course the association with Herr von Geyrenhoff and René Stangeler in ”Die Dämonen”. Both wear Atkinsons ”Lavande”. What a pity that it is not in the new collection. Perhaps the British bouquet is similar. But must we go to London to smell it? August 15, 2013 at 7:12am Reply

    • Victoria: What a cool reference! I’ve never read von Doderer, but I love seeing mentions of anything scent related in books.

      And yes, for now Atkinsons is exclusive to Harrod’s. August 15, 2013 at 11:24am Reply

      • Cornelia Blimber: I quoted from memory, wrong! The lavender in Die Dämonen is made in a perfumery in Vienna, I checked it in my copy. (DTV p. 52).
        But I know I saw Atkinsons Lavender in some book. Perhaps it was not so cheap in the past (before Jillie was born).
        Perfume is important in Doderers books. It plays a significant role in the lives of some personages.
        Sorry for the mistake! August 16, 2013 at 5:43am Reply

        • Victoria: Very interesting, thank you very much! August 16, 2013 at 5:56am Reply

  • BlinkyTheFish: Interesting that they would include something called ‘perfumed toilet vinegar’ – possibly because it would have a very small demographic of users or people who even knew what it was? I’m trying to figure it out myself – I take it like an after bath or ‘anywhere’ splash – something you could use on your hair as a rinse as well? Maybe someone can write in ‘toilet vinegar’ as a bottle of something on one of the Downton Abbey ladies’ vanities – and then watch sales soar 😉 August 15, 2013 at 7:45am Reply

    • Victoria: That would be a great way to do it! And who knows if Downtown Abbey may not expand its franchise into perfume… August 15, 2013 at 11:26am Reply

  • george: 24 old bond street is now the Salvatore Ferragamo store; Queen Victoria purportedly had snowdrops for a wedding bouquet, and the myrtle plant from which royal bouquets traditionally take some leaves came later (five years to be exact); the copy for Fashion Decree reads almost the same as that I have read previously for Borneo 1834, only Victorianised; and there are crests on the bottles, which seem to suggest a certain type of historical precedent but the crests themselves don’t seem to exist previous to now; as doesn’t the ‘House’ part of the appellation, as they seem to have been historically know as J and E Atkinson or Atkinson’s. They did however used to do a product called bear grease, though presumably not a perfume, but an actual bear’s grease. I’d love a perfume called bear grease! I think the marketing could be so much more imaginative and more playful, but they seem to be going for Penhaligon’s (or maybe Grossmith’s) mk II and that they know the market they are going for. Anyway, here are some interesting links, and even I’ve got to admit that their old building on Bond street with their name on it was GRAND! It’s also worth noting the names of three wise men in the decoration- presumably for the perfumery aspect of their gifts? Good choice of perfumers for a new range, but dare I suggest that my expectation is that the perfumes will not be above serviceable..

    http://www.gracesguide.co.uk/James_and_Edward_Atkinson

    http://manchesterhistory.net/architecture/1920/atkinsons.html August 15, 2013 at 8:19am Reply

    • george: Ah I have noted that the “house” part of the appellation is maybe not part of a rebrand, but just Victoria identifying them as a perfumery house. Fair enough! Although it would be interesting if they are referring to themselves as the House of Atkinson’s in their own PR. August 15, 2013 at 9:00am Reply

    • Victoria: They don’t refer themselves as The House, but just use it to identify the brand.

      “Like its predecessor, 24 Old Bond Street is
      no mere Continental cologne but a powerfully
      assertive and peculiarly wonderful English scent. With a glamorous twist of Brit eccentricity, it redefines the very notion of cologne, and will beguile boys and girls of the
      very highest discernment.”

      The only thing I don’t like about their marketing is this emphasis on how rarified they are. They even say at some point that “we are now ready to usher in a new
      century of perfume snobbery.” This runs so counter to the way I treat perfume that it feels jarring. August 15, 2013 at 11:23am Reply

      • george: The funny thing about the snobbery is that Atkinson’s is immediately recognisable as a Northern name (just as Penhaligon’s is immediately recognisable as Cornish) and I would think that for most people it conjures up the idea of down-to-earthness and tradesman origins with an emphasis on the substance of the product rather than the style. August 15, 2013 at 1:42pm Reply

        • Victoria: Perhaps, that’s why. Plus, for many people Atkinson’s is associated with inexpensive, mass-market products, since until it was gone completely, it went through a down phase. I’m very curious to smell the new perfumes. It certainly sounds like the new owners put a lot of thought into the launch. August 16, 2013 at 5:58am Reply

      • george: Remembering that the last time I wrote really critically about a company’s marketing, on your blog, was about Parfums de Nicolai’s website, I thought I’d recheck it out. IT HAS CHANGED and IT IS So MUCH BETTER!!!! and everything I was complaining about has been changed. Hurrah for PDN! August 15, 2013 at 2:29pm Reply

        • Victoria: I’m off to see it too! How great that they’ve made the changes for the better. August 16, 2013 at 10:49am Reply

          • Austenfan: The site is a huge improvement. They are discontinuing quite a few scents though. Le Temps d’une Fête,Sacrebleu and Vanille Tonka, are the ones I remember. August 16, 2013 at 6:13pm Reply

            • george: I think Vanille Tonka and Le Temps de Fete are under a seperate section called limited diffusion, and Sacrebleu is still there as the intense version. August 17, 2013 at 5:25am Reply

              • Victoria: It would be criminal if they chose to discontinue all of those scents. They are some of the best from Nicolai, in my opinion. August 17, 2013 at 8:03am Reply

              • Austenfan: I noticed that and am assuming that that is because they will be disappearing slowly? There is a lot of talk about it on Basenotes apparently. I picked it up on the Posse. August 17, 2013 at 1:42pm Reply

                • george: I just think it means that they have limited sillage, and is just a pdn idiosyncratic way of labelling thier scents- colognes, parfums and limited diffusions. I think people have interpreted this as meaning the scents are discontinued, but I’m not sure this is the case. August 18, 2013 at 4:51am Reply

                  • Austenfan: You know, you may be right. I certainly hope so!
                    I will miss the original Sacrebleu though. Mind you, I have about 100 mls. of it, so that should last a long time. August 18, 2013 at 7:54am Reply

            • Annikky: I heard the news about these three as well and am quite disheartened. I’ve got a bottle of Le Temps, but Sacrebleu is something I’ve meant to revisit for a thorougher test. August 17, 2013 at 9:00am Reply

  • Annikky: It was George, I believe, who said about Penhaglion’s that their products seem to be meant for tourists. I think it’s true for many heritage brands that they appeal to tourists in a broader sense – cultural fan-girls (and boys) who don’t have to be physically present to covet a piece of their favourite places. It is certainly true in my case, as I tend to fall ridiculously easily for all things British: riding jackets, green Hunter wellies, G&T, violet shaving cream in a metallic tube, Blackberry & Bay ads… Marketers just need to call a candle “Bloomsbury” or “Brideshead” and I’ll be lusting after it. No matter what they say, reading big amounts of foreign literature at a tender age CAN have detrimental effects.

    It follows naturally that I’m curious about the toilet vinegar. And the Hyde Park candle sounds lovely, even without the added Britishness factor J August 15, 2013 at 8:29am Reply

    • Victoria: I know exactly how you feel! I sort of got over it after I’ve lived in London, but I still love all of these things.

      Speaking of ballet and Bloomsbury, anyone with an interest in dance and John Keynes should read “Bloomsbury Ballerina” by Judith Mackrell. It’s about ballet dancer Lydia Lopokova, who was married to Keynes. The book is really well-researched, and it gives a glimpse into both the world of classical dance and the Bloomsbury society. August 15, 2013 at 11:29am Reply

      • Eva S.: Oh, thank you so much for telling us about this book! 🙂
        I was just thinking of getting some new books for autumn, the evenings in Sweden is getting darker..
        A good book, my favourite perfume (at the moment Jour d’ Hermes) and a cup of tea after riding my horse feels great! 🙂 August 15, 2013 at 2:27pm Reply

        • Victoria: I’ve never ridden a horse, but I’ve read enough classics to imagine the scenario you describe as something idyllic. 🙂
          Hope that you enjoy the book! August 16, 2013 at 10:50am Reply

      • Annikky: I’ve only visited London (and spent a month in Brighton), so I’m not yet immune…

        The book sounds really interesting, thanks for the recommendation. It may not be that easy to get, though – it’s not on Kindle and is only available from third-party sellers on Amazon. August 16, 2013 at 4:50am Reply

        • Victoria: There are lots of copies from the used book sellers on Amazon for under $10 (both at the US and European Amazon sites). But yes, it has been out of print for a while. It’s too bad, since it’s such a terrific book. August 16, 2013 at 10:34am Reply

          • Annikky: I’ve never bought anything used from Amazon, but I should just get over myself and do it. I’ve gotten a bit lazy with this “buy with one click” option… August 17, 2013 at 9:02am Reply

            • Victoria: With Amazon’s protection and guarantees, it’s a fairly low risk proposition. Plus, you can get amazing deals and support small bookshops. August 19, 2013 at 7:33am Reply

      • Figuier: Thanks for the recommendation – I’ve been eyeing this book for some time, this might be the final purchase trigger 🙂 It got some great reviews when it came out, and I’m a big Bloomsbury lit fan. So far I’ve only come across Lopkova in diaries, biographies etc of others, it would be really interesting to get a foreigner’s perspective on the whole scene. For all their avant-garde posing, Woolf & co were often pretty insular in their outlook…

        As to Atkinson – yes, I agree with George that the name sounds like a producer of retro cleaning products, but I quite like the sound of some of the perfumes. They seem to be keen on myrtle, don’t they? August 16, 2013 at 6:44am Reply

        • Victoria: They were really catty to Lydia, although Woolf later regretted their treatment of her. But it was painful to read the things they said about Lydia, much of it very unfair. You’re absolutely right, it was a very closed, insular circle. August 16, 2013 at 10:52am Reply

          • Austenfan: I’ve never heard of this book although I have read 3 biographies of Woolf. She was quite a troubled soul. A brilliant writer though.
            I once read the collected letters of Dora Carrington. Another “Bloomsburian”, although I seem to remember she operated a little outside of the main group.
            To anyone interested in Woolf herself, I can’t recommend Hermione Lee’s biography of her highly enough. August 16, 2013 at 5:53pm Reply

            • Victoria: If any European readers are interested, Hermione Lee’s biography is available for under 1 pound at amazon.co.uk. I read the excerpt yesterday, and it’s on my list now. Thank you very much for recommending it. I have a feeling that Annikky will like it too, especially if she’s interested in Bloomsbury. August 17, 2013 at 8:08am Reply

              • george: It’s a great read, and a bargain at a pound. If you are a Woolf fan and have made your way through the usual suspects of To the the Lighthouse, The Waves and Mrs Dalloway, make sure you also read Between the Acts- the last novel she wrote; it’s absolutely my favourite, and the paragraph where Ms la Trobe sees the tree full of starlings one of my most favourite pieces of writing ever. August 17, 2013 at 8:39am Reply

                • Victoria: I was very late to discovering Woolf, and I still have a lot to read. Adding Between the Acts to my list. Thanks to all of you, my reading list has grown more interesting and eclectic.

                  By the way, I love this letter written to Woolf by Vita Sackville-West:
                  “I am reduced to a thing that wants Virginia. I composed a beautiful letter to you in the sleepless nightmare hours of the night, and it has all gone: I just miss you, in a quite simple desperate human way. You, with all your un-dumb letters, would never write so elementary a phrase as that; perhaps you wouldn’t even feel it.”
                  You can read it in its entirety at http://www.lettersofnote.com/2013/06/a-squeal-of-pain.html August 17, 2013 at 8:53am Reply

              • Annikky: I really should read it, thank you both. I do have Woolf’s diaries, but I’ve never read a biography of her.

                On the subject of letters: the correspondence between Mitford sisters (The Mitfords: Letters Between Six Sisters) is an absolutely astonishing read. It can be uncomfortable, but it surely is thought provoking and often awfully entertaining. I thought it was well edited, too. August 17, 2013 at 9:26am Reply

                • Victoria: Memoirs, biographies, epistolary genre–all of these are my favorites! August 19, 2013 at 7:35am Reply

                • Austenfan: I have heard about the Mitfords but have never read anything by them. I think Love a Cold Climate was made into a TV-series years ago. I did watch some parts of that.

                  Speaking of biographies: Aristocrats by Stella Tillyard might be to your liking. It’s about the Lennox sisters. They lived in the 18th century and had close connections to the royal family. They corresponded very regularly and if my memory serves me right these letters were the main source for the biography. August 19, 2013 at 10:40am Reply

            • Figuier: This is my favourite Woolf biog as well – I’ve read it so many times now, and it never fails to fascinate. Lee’s biography of Elizabeth Bowen is also worth a read. August 17, 2013 at 9:59am Reply

              • Victoria: Based on what I read of Lee’s so far, I very much like her style and her attention to detail (and also that she’s careful not to draw random conclusions like many biographers tend to do). August 19, 2013 at 7:36am Reply

                • Austenfan: Which is why I liked and appreciated this biography so much. I had previously read the one by Quentin Bell ( Woolf’s nephew) and the Di Salvo one. Bell’s is fine but being so close to his it’s harder for him to be truly critical. Di Salvo’s I found rather farfetched ( to say the least). August 19, 2013 at 10:31am Reply

  • Belle: As with the book title, I had (excuse me for the bad pun) “Great Expectations” for this line when I read the title. I’m surprised that they didn’t try to include their original formulas. I mean, who doesn’t love a little history behind their perfumes? Imagine! The edt used by the graceful ladies of London…I’m also quite sad that it’s only edt, because they never really last that long. August 15, 2013 at 8:41am Reply

    • Victoria: That would definitely be interesting!

      I think that the concentration doesn’t matter much when it comes to the tenacity of perfume. The appellations edt, edp, etc. are completely made up and mean almost nothing anyway. The composition of the blend itself will determine its lasting power more. August 15, 2013 at 11:33am Reply

    • annemariec: Grossmith have revived their original formulas. I always grin to myself about this. Grossmith was originally quite a cheap brand but now they charge an arm and a leg for fragrances that were originally bought by servant girls.
      Ah well. As we say where I live, there’s one [ie one fool] born every minute. 🙂 August 15, 2013 at 7:06pm Reply

      • Jillie: Annemariec – you are so right about Grossmith! People don’t believe me when I tell them that, as a child, I used to buy Phul-Nana (in tiny bottles, I admit) from our local Woolworth’s store, where you would find their colourfully labelled bottles sitting next to pots of Bourjois Rouge. Cheap and cheerful, but exotic at the same time. To think you now have to pay Harrods’ prices for a bottle!

        Atkinson’s was another very cheap brand: when I was 11, I went through a lavender phase and my favourite was Yardley’s. When I bought a bottle of Atkinson’s (from either Boots or a little chemist shop) I was so disappointed in it as it seemed to be very inferior to my beloved Yardley! August 16, 2013 at 2:40am Reply

        • george: Thank you for sharing that Jillie! August 16, 2013 at 4:30am Reply

        • annemariec: Yes, thanks for that! Phul-Nana from Woolworths! Yardley lavender is still pretty good isn’t it? I haven’t tried it in ages. Yardley is a brand that has followed a different trajectory from Grossmith and Atkinson’s. Once it was glamourous and expensive, but by the 80s it had become dowdy and cottage garden-y. Its April Violets, my mother’s signature for about 50 years, is still terrific wet violet perfume. August 16, 2013 at 4:46am Reply

          • Cornelia Blimber: Hi Annemariec! you set me in a nostalgic mood! April Violets, Lavender, Bondstreet, all Yardley’s, echos from my youth.
            Lavender is still very good, the eau de toilette, soap and talcumpowder are still available. August 16, 2013 at 5:49am Reply

            • annemariec: Now I’m on a nostalgia trip too! I love the 1950s ads for Bond Street – so smart and glamourous. I’ve never smelled the perfume but I once bought an old, unopened, container of the talc on eBay, but it had lost all its scent. I keep it as an ornament because it looks so stylish. August 16, 2013 at 7:19am Reply

  • Aisha: I must admit, I’ve never heard of Atkinsons. Or, perhaps I’ve smelled their fragrances but never remembered their name??? Either way, Fashion Decree and Nuptial Bouquet sound interesting to me. August 15, 2013 at 10:32am Reply

    • Victoria: I’ve never smelled them, as far as I know. I’ve heard of the brand before, so I was curious to see it revived. August 15, 2013 at 11:33am Reply

  • Yulya: I admit, I have never heard of them! I would love to try, descriptions sound great. August 15, 2013 at 4:49pm Reply

    • Victoria: There are a few that seem very tempting, like The Nuptial Bouquet and Fashion Decree. August 16, 2013 at 10:53am Reply

  • Daisy: Regardless how the marketing comes across, I am always happy to see a brand resurrected. Let’s hope that the scents themselves live up to the marketing. August 15, 2013 at 6:16pm Reply

    • Victoria: The scent is the most important thing anyway, isn’t it? August 16, 2013 at 10:54am Reply

  • annemariec: Colour me skeptical too (not that I expect to encounter these in my part of the world). With Penhaligon’s, Grossmith and Floris all going for this kind of market, is there room for another? Time will tell.

    I always thought that Jo Malone was an interesting departure from the English heritage aesthetic. Very English, but modernised and unfussy. That’s how it started out, anyway. Things got a bit weird at one point when they introduced rabbits into one of their marketing campaigns! August 15, 2013 at 7:00pm Reply

    • Annikky: I’m not the biggest Jo Malone fan, but I think they got it right again with Blackberry & Bay – both with the scent and the ads. There is still this feeling of heritage, but as you say, modernised. August 16, 2013 at 4:39am Reply

      • annemariec: Those Blackberrry and Bay ads are genius. I really must try the perfume. Every time I pick a fresh leaf of my potted bay tree I think of the Jo Malone. August 16, 2013 at 7:22am Reply

        • Annikky: I keep wishing that there was a little bit more bay in there, but it’s a very enjoyable scent nevertheless. August 17, 2013 at 9:29am Reply

    • Victoria: English niche house have been seeing a kind of revival as of late, as is the entire English perfume scene. It’s very interesting to observe.

      I also liked the approach Jo Malone took, and it obviously resonated with others. I haven’t tried Jo Loves (another line she created) yet, but I wonder about them. August 16, 2013 at 10:56am Reply

  • mezzodiva54: Viz. toilet vinegar, I used to purchase such an item from Caswell-Massey in NY, before they changed into something unrecognizable and touristy. I used it in the a.m. diluted about 10:1 as a facial rinse. I now make my own facial vinegars, but would certainly consider purchasing one again if the price were right. August 15, 2013 at 9:20pm Reply

    • Victoria: Would you mind sharing how you make your own facial vinegar? I love discovering recipes like this. August 16, 2013 at 10:54am Reply

      • mezzodiva54: LOL, the last time I made a batch, I used your recipe for raspberry and rose vinegar! I have a number of recipes that I’d be delighted to share. I’m on vacation at the moment, but will certainly post them when I return home. August 16, 2013 at 11:19am Reply

        • Victoria: 🙂 I use it for my facial toner too! And yes, I love learning some new tips, so whenever you have time once you’re back, I look forward to them. August 16, 2013 at 11:28am Reply

          • maja: A very long time ago I got a bottle of perfumed vinegar from Santa Maria Novella, it had a gorgeous herbal smell. I used it mostly for my hair. I never knew you could use it on your face, too. It was before the Internet era, obviously 🙂 August 16, 2013 at 12:36pm Reply

            • Victoria: It depends on what it contains though. If they added perfume oil and intended it as a body splash, then it might have been too harsh to use on face. But in my old French and Russian books there are sections on making different vinegars. Some are specifically face and body vinegars and they contain an array of aromatics. In a pinch, natural apple cider vinegar diluted in water makes for a fantastic toner. I generally use 1 T of vinegar to 1 cup of distilled water, since my skin doesn’t like a stronger concentration. August 17, 2013 at 8:11am Reply

              • maja: Thank you. You always have the right information. 🙂 I will try apple cider vinegar as a toner. It makes sense since I use it internally, too. August 17, 2013 at 5:06pm Reply

  • Tatiana: I wonder, how close is Rose In Wonderland fragrance to the original White Rose by J & E Atkinson. Ltd (1910) – anyone knows? Thanks August 2, 2015 at 7:29am Reply

    • Victoria: I can’t imagine it being close, since many of the materials used back then are unavailable to perfumers. August 2, 2015 at 11:00am Reply

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