Tuesday 12 May 2015

Bodhi and Birch at Les Senteurs

A few minutes walk from Marble Arch and a stone throw away from Edgware road, there is a street with a rather different vibe. In fact Seymore place feels like a different universe to the normal hustle and bustle of central London. It also happens to be home to a very interesting boutique: Les Senteurs. 

With it's charming blue front, spacious interior and high sealing, Les Senteurs completely broke out of what I picture a perfume shop to be. The first clue I guess is that they position themselves as a specialist perfumery, and the second (and probably the most important one) is that amongst the variety of fragrant bottles you can find a selection from Bodhi & Birch. If you take a look in my bathroom (who am I kidding, there are beauty products all over the place), you will find that I don't really have many unscented products. I love scent, however I do not love perfume stores. Even before I went green, the perfume sections of any department store would have me fleeing for the exit. I still have nightmares about the perfume court in Harrods, a heady headache inducing cloud of fragrance that you just can't shake off even after leaving. You can imagine I was a little apprehensive stepping into a perfume boutique, no matter how welcoming it looked from the outside (but nothing can stop me from hanging out with Mr Choo, so I took a deep breath). I really should have left my prejudice at home. Les Senteurs is like a neutral zone, you can stay there for hours (in fact I did) and not feel suffocated despite all the spraying going on around you (no idea how they do it, I'm thinking some kind of unicorn magic going on).

I hope you can tell that I was very impressed with the venue, but it is probably time to move on to the event itself. Centre stage was taken up by a split level table. On the highest point you could find a circle of individual dropper bottles of essential oils, lower level boasted the complete range of Bodhi & Birch shower gels flanked with two different perfumes per shower/bath therapy . You might have read the same magazine articles about perfume as I: use an unscented shower gel and body cream if you are wearing perfume (or the body cream that has same exact scent as your perfume, specially created by the brand to intensify your perfume experience). The point of this event was to challenge that rather boring way to use perfume, share the art of layering scents and to showcase some of the essential oil combinations that give the signature scents to Bodhi & Birch shower therapies.

I was extremely surprised to find out that my personal favourite Jasmine Falls has lavender (shame on me really, clearly need to go on a label reading refresher course), and Mint The has may chang, now it makes sense why I it reminds me of mojitos as this particular essential oil boasts a lemony scent. Elijah (aka Mr Choo, Bodhi & Birch founder) put drops of different essential oils on the strips so we could experience the difference between how they smell on their own and together. The biggest surprise had to be Frankincense, to me it smells resiny and almost swampy (you can probably tell I am not a fan), but together with a few other essentialn oil strips it smelled almost nice, and then I was told that it is in Neroli Luce! The expression on my face must have said it all, but Neroli Luce smells so good?! How could that be? I guess I have to give up my prejudice against the frankincense too, and go on product by product basis, simply astonishing.

The most exciting perfume pairing was Siam ginger and a super sweet honey vanilla perfume. I kid you not the perfume by itself was making me feel like I fell into a vat of cotton candy, completely not my style, yet layered with Siam ginger it transformed into something exotic, worthy of Arabian nights. Unsurprisingly, I really loved a light fresh rose scent layered with Jasmine falls. I am normally partial to both scents and the perfume chosen wasn't a heavy rose, so the combination of florals managed to be exciting, seductive yet not overly feminine. The piece de resistance for me (and the only perfume that I actually remembered the name of) was the pairing of Mint The and Jardin du Poete. If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know I am a little weird when it comes to mint, I love it in my tea, toothpaste and foot care, but not so much in other things. The exceptions do exist but they are far and few between, well I am adding another one to the list. Jardin du Poet was created to make you think of a Sicilian garden with bitter orange, cypress and spicy notes of pepper... that is not what I smell, I got fennel, coriander, a mixture of freshly cut sweet herbs. If you look at the base, middle and top notes you will see that I am completely wrong, yet I am sticking to it. One thing is certain: everyone who I forced to smell this eau du toilette loved it too, and it happens to be Elijah's personal scent that he wears most days. While none of the fragrances in the store were "green" I was seriously considering to let my standards slip for this one.

What I took away from this event is not to be afraid to use scented body care with completely unrelated perfumes, while some things will never work, others may surprise you by transforming you trusted old favourite into an exciting new discovery. I may be bored of lavender, not fond of frankincense or patchouli, however, I will no longer blacklist a product based on just one essential oil that doesn't appeal because it is no longer about the individual in a blend, it is all about how they play together.


  1. It was lovely to see you again at the event, was a lovely way to spend the afternoon, I think Jardin du Poete was also my favourite pairing with Mint The :)

  2. Hi Tamara,

    This event sounds great! I love the way Bodhi & Birch operate - challenging the layering of perfumes is very clever. Thanks for writing about it!

    Besma (Curiously Conscious)

  3. Manchester Flik Chik16 May 2015 at 18:40

    This looks like such a lovely place! A million miles away from The Perfume Shop (shudder) it looks like a place you could loose yourself in scent for absolutely ages ^_^

  4. Lovely to read about the event after we spoke about it on Saturday. Shame I couldn't attend this one as I would have loved to try some new perfumes!

  5. It was so good to have a proper chat! I had a suspicion that you liked that combo ;) xx

  6. Yes easily! I hope you get to visit at some point!

  7. It was a real shame you couldn't make it, I think you would have loved it!