Monday 4 January 2010

vintage-style English toiletries and home fragrances from Brown & Harris

Brown & Harris - even the names are classically English ! And the same is certainly true of the products. If you imagine the sort of traditional scented products that you would find in Past Times stores or quaint little country village gift shops, you won't be far off the mark. The press release talks of "a beautiful new heritage collection of quintessentially vintage-style English toiletries and home fragrances", but think vintage as in products of days gone by that your granny probably used to use (and still does !), not funky new "vintage" designed to be trendy for people too young to remember the originals !

The collection offers a selection of bath and beauty products as well as home fragrance products, in three classic floral signature scents - rose, lavender and lily of the valley. "Lie in a bed of rose petals strewn across dewy grass with English Rose, dream of bright summer days with Lavender and walk through a fresh forest amid Lily of the Valley". The scents are delicate, not at all overpowering and smell natural - if you close your eyes, you could actually be walking through an English country garden rather than sniffing something in a bottle or a sachet. It is therefore hardly surprising to see how much work goes into creating the perfect perfumes : "Each fragrance with its own top note – English Rose washed over by a delicate sprinkling of vanilla bean creates a warm, sensuous fragrance. Lavender, indulged with a hint of Cabbage Rose, gives it velvety warmth to enhance the tantalizing floral top notes. Next, Lily of the Valley, with powdery tones produces a soft, delicious scent as fresh as the first day of spring. Each aroma is custom-blended by an individual Perfumer to ensure every one conveys its different personality."

The bath and beauty products are lovely. They look very posh on the shelf (well, they do sell them in Harrods, I'll have you know !) and add a splash of luxury and romanticism to your bathroom shelf. The packaging offers you a few lines of classic English poetry to get you in the mood while your bath is running - and the relaxing flowery scents will do the rest. The body lotion leaves you with lovely soft, delicately perfumed skin but no greasy residue. The handwash cleans your hands with lots of lovely fragrant lather but also seems to moisturise them at the same time, which is an added bonus in the cold weather. The foam bath is perfect for a long, relaxing soak in the tub to help wind down after a long, stressful day of work, and the soothing fragrances will soon waft your troubles away. The packaging and the fragrances reminded me of other luxury brands that I've tried which are often a lot more expensive than these Brown & Harris products.

If you've been won over by the fragrances, you can buy the same signature scents as drawer liners and wardrobe sachets. You can extend the sensuous pleasure by slipping out of your warm lavender-infused bath and into a pair of pyjamas delicately fragranced with the same smell. It could even be an ecological - not to mention economical - advantage if you replace your fragranced laundry softener with the long-lasting drawer and wardrobe smellies to perfume your clothes.

The whole range is beautifully presented, luxuriously fragranced and quintessentially British, so it will appeal to foreign visitors or family living abroad who want a reminder of home. It will appeal to people of all ages so don't just limit yourself to buying some for your granny - it would be a real waste !

star rating : 4.5/5

Luxury Foaming Bath Essence - £5.99 for 500ml
Moisturising Body Lotion - £5.99 for 500ml
Conditioning Handwash - £5.99 for 500ml
Perfumed Drawer Liners - £6.99 for 6 sheets
Perfumed Drawer Sachets Twin Pack - £3.99

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