Fragrant family connections

By Amy Lawrenson

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Do you have a family tree? Have you ever thought to investigate where you came from? If the answer is no, then this could change your mind.

I recently met with Simon Brooke, a chartered Surveyor who discovered through lots of online delving that he is the great great grandson of John Grossmith, who set up of one of England’s oldest perfume houses.

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Founded in 1851, the Grossmith fragrance house was very successful until the 1980s, when the recession hit and the company was forced to close. Simon’s obsession for delving into the history of the brand led him to eBay, where he discover and bid for old bottles of Grossmith perfumes (pictured, above). He also tracked down a long-lost cousin in Dorset, who still had John Grossmith’s books, in which he had noted down over 300 original formulae for all the Grossmith fragrances.  Simon was so inspired that he gave up his day job to plough his time – and money – into resurrecting the classic brand.

Starting off small, Simon is relaunching the three most popular Grossmith fragrances (bottles pictured, above), ones that will inspire nostalgic responses from former customers and attract plenty of new ones. Hasuno-Hana (1988) woody and sensual; Phul-Nana (1891) floral (and our favourite); and Shem-el-Nessim (1906) floral and powdery, are available in Fortnum & Mason now.

Click here to visit the Grossmith website...

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