Oranges and Lemons, Say the Bells of...St. Clement's ($150) - the name of this new HEELEY fragrance is quite a mouthful. The Eau de Parfum, whose name is taken from the nursery rhyme Oranges and Lemons (circa 1740) that refers to church bells located within or near the City of London, is a citrus and orange blossom delight. Oranges, lemons, bergamot, and neroli combine with notes of Earl Grey tea and vetiver to create a new English classic.
Oranges and lemons,
Say the bells of St. Clement's
You owe me five farthings,
Say the bells of St. Martin's
When will you pay me?
Say the bells of Old Bailey.
When I grow rich,
Say the bells of Shoreditch.
When will that be?
Say the bells of Stepney
I do not know,
Says the great bell of Bow
Here comes a candle to light you to bed
And here comes a chopper to chop off your head!
Because the rhyme was used as children's game, the last line isn't as awful as it sounds. On the last word, the children forming an arch drop their arms to catch the pair of children currently passing through, who are then "out" and must form another arch next to the existing one. In this way, the series of arches becomes a steadily lengthening tunnel through which each set of two players have to run faster and faster to escape in time. Sounds like musical chairs!
I was intrigued when I read about the fragrance at LuckyScent. I always study the notes before I order a fragrance scent unsniffed. The notes of this one were reassuring, filled with scents I love: oranges, lemons, bergamot, mandarine, neroli, petitgrain, Earl Grey tea, ylang ylang, and vetiver.
When it arrived, I was impressed with its case. It was outfitted in black molded foam to protect it from careless handling anywhere between its production and arrival at its destination. The foam was wrapped with recyclable card stock, with the name, brand, and other obligatory information.
I had never purchased a HEELEY fragrance before. Here's what I learned at LuckyScent.
As a designer influenced by nature, it was natural that James Heeley was fascinated by the world of fragrance. When he met Annick Goutal in 1996, he discovered how scents are designed and set off to create his own. His first scent, Figuier, is remarkable for its precision in evoking the natural scent of a Mediterranean fig tree. With time and experience, his beautifully constructed, simple, and fresh scents evolved into more complex creations such as Cardinal, Esprit du Tigre, and Cuir Pleine Fleur. His continually evolving collection now includes nine contemporary scents made according to the art of traditional French perfumery.
Every detail, from the creation of the scent and selection of ingredients, to the recyclable packaging and engraved wooden tops, is designed in-house. Today, HEELEY is one of the few owner-founder, luxury perfume houses in Europe. This independence allows the creative freedom to create individual, quality scents that are quite simply unique.
It's hard for me to find the right words to tell you how much I like Oranges and Lemons, Say the Bells of...St. Clement's. My first impression was that it's a unisex fragrance. The opening notes are tart, crisp, and fresh. As the fragrance dries down, it mellows, turning into a soft expression of white flowers with a bit of green and wood remaining. The tea may be there, but only as a supporting character. I'd be happy to smell this on a man, but I think its close is more feminine.
It's a light scent - it won't hang around all day (about four hours on me), but the bottle is large enough that you won't mind decanting some into a spray container to take with you.
You can purchase Oranges and Lemons, Say the Bells of...St. Clement's at LuckyScent and Barneys. The HEELEY Web site provides a list of international sources. If you like fruits, greens, and white flowers, you should look for it!
Photo courtesy of LuckyScent