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  Grossmith's Bacarrat Range

Grossmith exclusive at Woodforde's...

15 October 2009

Newly re-launched niche perfumery Grossmith of London has just hit Woodforde's shelves. The resurrection of this very mysterious and fascinating brand, one of the oldest British perfume houses founded in 1835, is the result of 18 months hard work by the Mayfair businessman, Simon Brooke. Researching his family tree, Simon discovered not only that he was the great-great-grandson of the company's founder, John Grossmith, but that also a distant cousin still had the original 1890's leather-bound and hand-written formula books rescued from the company's London offices during the 1940's blitz.

At the start of his project, Simon brought these ledgers with him when he visited Woodforde’s in Autumn 2008, giving us an opportunity to look through the sacred texts, but with little more than our imaginations to ponder at the ingredients and envision in our "mind's-nose" the fragrances. We need imagine no longer - Simon has exceeded all expectations with his choice of three of the company's most famous scents from the Edwardian era. Not only that but he has faithfully recreated them using, as best modern legislation allows (real musk, civet and castoreum now being illegal under EC law), authentic ingredients from the time. Grasse fragrance house Robertet was tasked to source the finest ingredients "without reference to cost".

First produced between 1890 and 1910, Grossmith produced an entire range inspired by the then distant and exotic cultures of Japan, India, China and Arabia. Three of these, Hasu-no-Hana (1888) which recreates the scent of Japanese Lily, Phul Nana (1893) a 'bouquet of Indian flowers', and Shem-el-Nessim (1907) , 'the scent of Arabie', have been chosen to spearhead the brand re-launch. All three of these amazing re-creations are available to try and buy at Woodforde's.

The new scents are quite startling to our modern noses. They really give us a feel for the opulence of a former era. Described by Simon as "shy" (meaning they take an hour or so developing on the skin before properly showing themselves), they are perhaps best described as "delightfully well-mannered" as indeed of every well-bred Edwardian lady we might expect !

View the new Goldsmith range

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What the paper's say

Since discovering Woodforde & Co in Sidmouth, I know where to go to find my perfect perfume. This charming emporium is located in Church Street and is run by husband and wife, Jon and Jane Brewer, both of whom have an encyclopaedic knowledge and an enthusiastic passion for perfumery.

Devon Today