Monday, 15 October 2018

"GOLDEN STILL" EAU DE COLOGNE by Grossmith

In these times of meticulously engineered fragrances I sometimes find myself hankering after a simpler era when scents could happily just be described as “nice” and “lovely” without the need for “complex” and “challenging”. The golden years of colognes siting comfortably next to perfumes, and both having their place on the dressing table, have now gone. However, a little detective work can uncover some of these forgotten gems, and this was exactly what happened when I stumbled across a bottle of Grossmith ‘Golden Still’ Eau de Cologne. Long since discontinued, I wondered just how well it had stood the test of time.

Grossmith’s history is littered with triumphs, trials and tribulations. Once a diamond in the crown of Britain’s perfume industry, the company became dormant at the end of the 1970s. John Grossmith had founded it in 1835 but the real boom started when his son, John Lipscomb Grossmith, took over the company in 1867. It was on his watch that they really tapped into the mood of the country and launched fragrances that took Britain by storm. Hasu-no-Hana, Phul-Nana and Shem-el-Nessim truly made Grossmith a major player in the history of perfume.

Unfortunately, in a similar way to many perfume companies around the world, the Second World War hit Grossmith very hard. Ingredient scarcity, bottle production, rationing, all of these factors made it very difficult for them to maintain their catalogue. After continuing for a further thirty years, and falling out of family ownership, the company finally disappeared from the shelves and it looked like Grossmith was gone for good. However, they made a return in 2009 under the new ownership of Simon Brooke, the great great grandson of the original founder, and things have gone from strength to strength.

According to PerfumeIntelligence.com, one of Grossmith's original fragrances from c1888 was simply called Eau de Cologne and every perfume company at the time had their own interpretation of this classic style. Around 1914 it appears that the subtitle “Golden Still” was added to the name and this version continued right through until the seventies. The bottle that I found though was part of a duo set that came with Old Cottage Lavender and dated from the sixties. The stopper was still in place and the juice was clear, so I was hopeful that time had been kind. With no ingredient lists or descriptions I really was on my own.

Even after all of these years the fragrance opens unbelievably brightly and certainly lives up to its name. A rush of lemon and orange hits you first before the slightly green and metallic neroli adds a floral nuance. There’s also a delicious cedrat in here that, in combination with an effervescent verbena, imparts a mouthwatering sherbet quality. Alongside the more citrus aspects you do get an aromatic from the petigrain and lavender but a subtle heart of rose helps to temper the sharper elements. Finished with sandalwood and cedarwood, you genuinely have a fragrance that could stand proudly next to the company’s current lineup.

Golden Still is no longer in production but it often appears on auction sites such as eBay. To learn more about Grossmith, and to discover their current range and stockists, you can visit the website at GrossmithLondon.com

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