This is one of an occasional series I like to call “souvenir stories”, about the little stuff we pick up along the way.
Spend any time shopping in Irish tourist shops, and you’ll be subjected to many, many testers of perfumes competing to be the “scent of Ireland”. If you’re REALLY (ahem) lucky, you may even get to visit one of these “factories” and take home some for yourself.
I hate to burst your bubble (and don’t mean to offend if a bottle of “Connemarra” is on your shelf at the moment), but that perfume is about as unique as, well, Charlie. Six Million People visited Ireland in 2012. 5.9 Million of them took home a bottle of “The Scent of Ireland”.
I have an actual candidate to nominate for the scent of Ireland: Cloon Keen Atelier. I stumbled up their shoe-box sized shop in Galway at closing time and Maggie (the lovely blonde woman pictured in “meet the makers”) was kind enough to unlock the doors when she heard I was a perfume enthusiast.
Cloon Keen Atelier makes four scents a season and each has a very specific tone. The process of choosing a scent was not unlike a high-end wine tasting going from lightest to deepest. There was also a touch of psychology thrown in with Maggie making very educated guesses about my personality based on how I reacted to each scent…it was a bit uncanny!
The entire “tasting” took about half an hour and I choose a 50ml bottle of Batille de Fleurs. At 70 Euro it wasn’t cheap, but about on par with a bottle of Chanel in the states for something no one else is going to have.
Except maybe Michelle Obama. Turns out Cloon Keen Atelier is famous where it counts.
To be honest, Batille de Fleurs doesn’t smell like Ireland…it reminds me of Marbella; resonant of Orange blossom and the sea. But the experience is pure Galway.
Have you ever stumbled upon a custom perfumer? Please share!