A Fragrance Tapas Experience at Jo Loves, London

If you author a fashion and beauty only blog, then the chances are, I don’t read it. This is no reflection on the quality of the blogs in question nor on the size; in fact, many of us are well aware of the fashion bloggers who have gone on to amass millions in revenue from successful blog and social media channels, far more than I will ever earn in my day job but ultimately, we read what interests us and for me, that is very rarely fashion and beauty. After all, this is the girl who had her first ever professional manicure the week of her wedding!!

Charlotte Tilbury Makeover

Maybe, all I really needed was the right person to show me a side of the fashion and beauty world that I would enjoy and to unleash the girly girl within me. (Though if you read my Hello Kitty Cafe post, surely you would agree I’m girly girl enough?!) In any case, along came my sister, who despite being younger than me, was the first to show me how to use mascara, the first to show me how to use eyeliner, (I somehow got through university without owning this) and that not everything I spray on myself needs to come out of an 8-year-old perfume dispenser found in a Christmas stocking, donated by a distant Aunt.

Perhaps, she suggested, that the time had come to invest in a little something more special. Still, a hundred bob spent on a bottle of perfume? I’d take a well-priced airline ticket over that any day but with both sister and I on a day of annual leave to celebrate her birthday, I left it to her to decide what we ought to do on our afternoon off together.

Peggy Porschen chocolate cupcake

And, after an obligatory round of coffee and cake at Peggy Porschen just opposite for quite possibly the best cupcakes in the prettiest pink cafe in all of London town, this was what she proposed:

The Jo Loves Fragrance Tapas Experience

The Jo Loves brand, for those of you far more fragrance-savvy than I am, is the same Jo that many of you may recall from Jo Malone, her previous well-acclaimed venture that is no longer under her ownership. Now, as the founder of the Jo Loves brand, she has set up a boutique in Belgravia, walking distance from where I once lived. We pottered into the boutique ahead of time for our pre-booked appointment for the Fragrance Tapas Experience and having been assured by my sister that we wouldn’t actually be eating any of the fragrances,  I ruminated about what on earth this experience would comprise.

Jo Loves Perfume London

We were seated on stools in a bar area that truly did invoke the feeling of being perched up against a Spanish bar, awaiting an aperitif. After being brought some water, we were introduced to the member of staff who would guide us through our experience. She started off by asking us what sort of scent we usually go for. Whilst my sister nattered away about her likes and dislikes, my mind fumbled hesitantly to put together a sentence that would  avoid me sounding entirely clueless.

“Umm….flowery smells I suppose”, I muttered, barely persuaded myself by the feeble threads of my proclamation.

London Fragrance Experiences

With a tray of sleek perfume bottles by our side, our host spritzed different fragrances on smelling sticks, encouraging us to cast aside the ones that we couldn’t warm to and prompting us to jot down the names of  the ones that lingered with the most appeal.

In between inhaling these aromas, we had a pot of fresh coffee beans to sniff to eradicate the previous smells from our memory and start afresh for the next one. Think nasal version of a palate cleanser or the pickled ginger one munches on between individual sushi rolls. (Can you tell I am more in my comfort zone with food speak than perfume speak?)

Jo Loves Fragrance Experiences

If the host thought I was a fish on dry land, she did a stellar job of concealing it, engaging me with smiles, giving me descriptions of the kinds of fragrances that may work for different occasions and observing the differences in tastes between my sister and myself.

With our shortlist of preferences decided, the time came to be whisked away by the perfume genies into a plate of fragrance tapas. This included our choice of bath cologne warmed in a tagine, allowing the uplifting, crisp and fresh scents to be released into a cloud of steam that wafted towards us with aplomb.

Fragrance Tapas Experience

Then, two cocktial glasses arrived and we were quite sensibly reminded not to drink the contents. Might sound obvious but it is incredible just how easy it is for auto-pilot to kick in when you are sitting at a bar and you see a filled Martini glass presented to you. On this occasion, however, our “cocktails”, which involved our chosen cleansers being shaken over ice first, were  unsurprisingly for our smelling pleasures.

Jo Loves Fragrance Tapas Experience

Tapas, whilst seeming a most unusual description for something that might be found inside a fragrance boutique, was a most accurate description of what unfolded inside the store that morning -an opportunity to sample multiple different ingredients in tiny portions (albeit with our noses rather than mouths), cocktail glasses, mini tagines, an array of different textures and an informal but indulgent way to spend an hour.

Jo Loves boutique Belgravia

The final and most lush part of the experience, in my opinion, was when we selected our favourite lotion scent to then witness the host whip this up into a foamy consistency before applying it onto hands so that in the freezing January winter, our hands felt nurtured, pampered and suitably moisturised.

Jo Loves Fragrance Tapas

I can be prone to rather sensitive skin, particularly when using pefumed products so my sister’s main worry was whether I’d leave the premises with an allergic reaction to thank her for. Like any geeky girl, I carried my anti histamines but I am pleased to report  my hands left feeling a million dollars and my strip of capsules stayed firmly tuckced away in  my handbag.

Best Perfume Fragrance Brands London

The Jo Loves Fragrance Tapas Experience is entirely complimentary but it is best to book ahead. I personally would have felt a bit cheeky turning up to this if we had no serious intentions to purchase anything at all either that day or in due course, primarily because, contrary to my expectations, this was not just a hurried, disinterested 10 minute trial kind of affair; rather, the staff welcomed us inside for just over an hour, never rushing us and not once showing any streaks of the aggressive sales techniques that I detest.

We had gone purely as a relaxing way to enjoy a morning and to help my sister select a fragrance as a birthday gift from the family; but with the laid back, un-pushy and inspiring speak from the host, who emphasised the brand’s passion for fragrances that both evoke and conceive deeply personal memories and the diverse array of ingredients in the fragrances, including peppercorn, fig and mango, it was not long before I started dropping hints about my own birthday.

Jo Loves Fragrance Gifts

And sure enough, just a few days ago, I found myself an excited new owner of the Jo Loves Gardenia fragrance, reminiscent of the fresh jasmine flower garlands that would be looped around my neck during childhood visits to India, thrown loosely but with intense affection by doting relatives, who are no longer with me.

For those of us who take our intact senses for granted, this was a curious reminder of just how powerful our sense of smell can be.

Have you ever had a pampering experience you never expected to enjoy so much?

44 thoughts on “A Fragrance Tapas Experience at Jo Loves, London

  1. Oh I love this place! And funnily enough, I also have your sister to thank 🙂
    I treated myself to a ‘Pomelo’ perfume/lotion set to celebrate going on maternity leave, I will end sleep deprived but I will be sleep deprived and smell wonderful!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) February 16, 2017 — 4:34 pm

      They do smell amazing don’t they Manasi?! And if I recall correctly, that’s one of their signature scents isn’t it? (At least if I was paying attention in class during the fragrance tapas!) 😁

  2. Sounds and looks a wonderful experience.

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) February 16, 2017 — 4:34 pm

      Thank you! It was a lovely way to get pampered for an afternoon ☺

  3. Really enjoyed this! I’ve recently become the proud owner of Green Orange & Coriander (which I’ve posted about in case you’re a fan as well), and I’m now a massive convert to Jo Loves. I’ll definitely be visiting the store for this sensory experience!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) February 16, 2017 — 4:36 pm

      Omg, I loved that one too!! That was in my final shortlist which I found tricky to pick between! Will definitely check out your blog post about it as I too am now a convert! These fragrances are so fresh & innovative!

  4. I am still pretty proud of the LC-x- perfume i made when we went on the perfume making course u got me.
    Vaguely remember about the various notes… X

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) February 16, 2017 — 4:37 pm

      Yours was absolutely lovely I remember hun! I think I went for too many strong, bold flavours so mine ended up nice if a little overpowering! Still have a last couple of drops left ☺

  5. I also had my first manicure just before my wedding! I got told off by the manicurist for letting my nails get into such a state, I genuinely didn’t think they were that bad. They’re probably in the same state now, to be honest. Also, I want to love perfume, I really do. But it never sticks to me properly. I don’t know if that’s even a fixable problem XD

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) February 16, 2017 — 4:43 pm

      Hmmm….non stick pans I know of Frankie but I’ve not heard about non stick skin 😁 You’ve made me feel a lot better about my manicure confession! The lady in the salon seemed so shocked that I didn’t even know what colour to go for and was pretty much leaving the responsibility of picking my wedding nail colour down to her discretion when she didn’t even know the colour of my Indian wedding outfit!

  6. Oh this sounds to die for! For my wedding I bought a bottle of duty free perfume on an Easyjet flight. I feel it may have lacked a bit of Jo’s pizzazz.

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) February 16, 2017 — 6:17 pm

      Haha, no judgement from me! I still have perfume that I bought from superdrug when I was 18 (a long time ago!) And I am a very frequent Easyjet flyer! But yes, was lovely to have this as an indulgent break from my norms! ☺

  7. Ooh love this place, reminds me I need to pay another visit soon 😉

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) February 16, 2017 — 6:18 pm

      It was my first time in there & they were just lovely Becky!

  8. I had a similar experience at the other Jo Malone shop where we were pampered and given bubbles per se. But I would LOVE to visit this place, thanks for the tip hun!

    PS – Love that photo of you x

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) February 16, 2017 — 6:53 pm

      Awww Honey, thank you for your lovely comment, really nice of you to say! That’s great to hear they really pamper people in the Jo Malone stores too. These extra little touches and friendly, un-pushy service techniques make such a difference as I went in purely to accompany my sister and came out a convert! ☺

  9. Sounds like a wonderful experience, would love to visit the store for my next perfume purchase. I am currently a fan of “Madurai Jasmine” fragrance from an Indian brand called Forest Essentials, probably for the nostalgic reasons.

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) February 16, 2017 — 6:57 pm

      Ooooh thank you for the tip for the nadurai jasmine Ameeta – I’m actually headed to India as we speak so might try & keep my eyes peeled! If you do ever plan to have a browse or wander around these Jo Loves fragrances, definitely call in for the tapas experience – such a pampering way to talk & smell through their offerings!

  10. ummmm hmmmm yes…. im commenting for the sake of it here I really have nothing to add for this topic! 😛

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) February 16, 2017 — 7:04 pm

      Nah Andy, I’m sure that’s not true – I’m sure you secretly have another blog in the background somewhere called Andy’s World Perfumes no? 😀

  11. Miriam @londonkitchendiaries February 16, 2017 — 10:58 am

    This sounds like a great day out. Would have loved to start with a cupcake from Peggy Porschen as well and I love the scent of Jasmine.

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) February 16, 2017 — 7:05 pm

      Isn’t jasmine just so light and fragrant Miriam?! Yes Peggy P definitely does some of the best cupcakes in the city and in such a pretty little setting too ☺

  12. What a unique experience, and a really nice way to spend the day with your Aunt

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) February 16, 2017 — 7:07 pm

      It was good fun Suze…though was with my sister for her bday not my Aunt!

  13. This sounds like such a fun sister experience, but what I really wanted to comment on is that you’re gorgeous in the first picture!! xx

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) February 22, 2017 — 3:32 am

      Awww Anna, that’s so kind of you to say. I’m not too good at the whole beauty, fashion and make up thing to be honest but since we were throwing ourselves into that whole thing for the day for her bday, we went to one of those make up counters and got the professionals to try and work a bit of magic on us 🙂

  14. Wow, that sounds like a lot of fun! I’m like you in that I’m generally more interested in Peggy Porschen than fashion and beauty, but I think I could enjoy an experience like that, too.

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) February 22, 2017 — 3:34 am

      Oh yes Julie, given a choice, you’ll usually find me in the cupcake shop but it was nice to be made to feel so welcomed inside and it really was amazing the way that certain scents and fragrances can invoke such powerful memories and emotions 🙂

  15. I’m completely the same as you and am not into any of the beauty/fashion stuff either but this does actually sound pretty good for those who do enjoy it. I would totally think that was a cocktail and start sipping away though!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) February 22, 2017 — 3:35 am

      Hehe, I know, I started picking up the glass when I suddenly remembered Ayla! It was such a fun, pampering way to spend a day considering that we were always going to buy her something for her from there anyway and I liked the smells and lotions and potions inside so much that I’m delighted with the fact that I’m now a proud owner of one of these lovely perfumes 🙂

  16. Wow what an interesting experience Shikha! Although like you, I’m a little worried I’d be inclined to drink liquid by accident, if it was put in front of me in a glass haha! I’m glad you had a great time though 🙂

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) February 22, 2017 — 2:01 pm

      Hehe, it really does look like a cocktail doesn’t it Priti?! It was such a luxurious pampering way to spend an hour 🙂

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) February 27, 2017 — 7:03 am

      It was a nice way to get pampered for an hour or so Tanja ☺

  17. This is fascinating! While I do read fashion blogs, beauty blogs are far beyond my realm of expertise and it’s nice to hear you weren’t treated like a fish out of water–I always worry that I’ll be made to feel uncomfortable as I have no idea what’s going on!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) February 27, 2017 — 7:03 am

      That’s EXACTLY what I was worried about too Heather, as I do find there can be a lot of snobby undertones in some beauty & cosmetic environments but this was the total opposite & they just made us feel so welcomed & relaxed so we could actually enjoy the experience rather than feel self conscious!

  18. Scent is so personal and evocative of different things for different people. I am a straight up outdoorsy person but I would probably enjoy this experience.

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) February 27, 2017 — 7:38 am

      I agree completely – specific smells can bring back powerful memories or emotions for different people and reasons. I wasn’t sure if this type of experience would be for me either but surprisingly, really enjoyed it! ☺

  19. I love the concept of fragrance tapas! I’ve always loved Jo Malone, so will definitely be sure to check out Jo Loves soon too – sounds like just the spot of pampering I need 😉 xx

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) February 27, 2017 — 7:48 am

      They did it so cleverly Ayushi! Really felt like we were perched up at a Spanish bar with our range of (smelling) tapas coming our way & our Martini glasses by our side!

  20. That sounds like a lovely way to spend a morning but like you, I probably would have been more comfortable in a bar drinking a martini or eating cupcakes at Peggy Porschen! 🙂

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) April 24, 2017 — 1:09 pm

      Hehe, oh there’s not a chance I would have been so close to Peggy Porschen & not popped in – such a soft spot for that place! 😊

  21. That cupcake looks divine! Good way to spend the morning… Thank you for sharing. 🙂

    If you have time, please check out my latest post about Brick &Liquor Cocktail bar – https://tootinghustle.wordpress.com/2017/05/24/brick-and-liquor-in-review/ and let me know what you think!

    Happy blogging! x

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) May 27, 2017 — 8:31 am

      The cupcakes there are always delish! Will definitely pop over to your blog & have a read ☺

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