Shay & Blue - the best of new British perfumery
It's not every day that a brand new, exciting name comes striding into the British fragrance world. Not that Dom DeVetta (the man behind Shay & Blue) is new to all this: he was at Jo Malone, and Chanel before that, and in dim and distant memory (when he was barely out of short trousers), we knew and caroused with him during his Lancôme days. (We'll always have Ackergill, Dom...)
Having worked so closely with perfumers, Dom thought: 'I could do something really exciting. Myself.' And so Shay & Blue (Shay was his grandmother's surname - and who doesn't love the colour blue?) was born. He enlisted the talents of a fresh new 'nose', Julie Massé, to create an initial collection of six scents.
They are, quite simply, gorgeous. And they're showcased in the most gorgeous, gorgeous shop, with a slightly gentleman's clubby feel, kitted out with antiques and very tasteful objets. The Shay & Blue boutique itself is in Old Marylebone - and we heartily recommend a stroll west from Marylebone High Street, and wallowing in what you find. We know Dom (pictured right) and his team will make you welcome, and everything you buy is so beautifully packaged, it feels like a special present.
We especially love Atropa Belladonna (and so will you, if you love Shalimar), as well as Blood Oranges - based on one of the fragrance ingredients du jour, blood orange: it's tangy, citrus, juicily invigorating - and dries down to a sensual finale of musk, charred woods and amber.
We're impressed by the prices, too, which are decidedly accessible in a world where niche perfumes all seem (spookily?) to come in around the £120 mark. For just £30, you can buy the portable 30 ml spray - and for £55, the large (100 ml) size. For a change, the bottles are - what else? - a clear and pretty blue. (Candles, too.) And from March, you'll also find Shay & Blue in Harvey Nichols, Knightsbridge.
Our prediction for their future? Very rosy indeed.
Shay & Blue, 80 York Street, Old Marylebone, London W1H 1QW/ 0845-548 0113