Aromatic Adventures: From London’s Tea Rooms to Athens’ Sunsets

Aromatic Adventures: From London’s Tea Rooms to Athens’ Sunsets

Summer is for traveling and while our Travel Collection doesn’t physically take you anywhere, it does take you on a journey aromatically. This journey is through Europe on the beautiful Orient Express, which I would love to ride one day, but ticket prices are definitely not within MY budget. The good news is there are enough travel creators on the internet that you can experience a full trip for free. From the fanciest suite on the train to eating in each of the three dining cars, YouTube’s random suggestion had me hooked!

All of this happened last fall, so when it came time to start planning for our Spring/Summer collection travel was already on my mind. Collections start as a bunch of loose ideas but during the research and refining period different locations and scent notes started to pop up. Usually, I have more of a solid theme but all I had was a train and a half-finished copy of Murder on the Orient by Agatha Christie. After thinking about it for a while, I took a chance on the random list of locations and train cars and picked up a few scents. 

Sitting down with actual scents kicked this collection into overdrive. The loose ideas suddenly made sense and with a last bit of refining the Travel Collection had its full theme! Each scent is inspired by different spots along the Arlburg-Orient-Express (also referred to as A.O.E) route from 1930-1939 and 1945-1962. This route is the only one that starts in the UK and if you’re a history fan you may recognize the gap in years that the train ran as all routes that the Orient Express ran were stopped during World War II. 

First Stop: London

Out of all the routes the Orient Express has taken, only the A.O.E. route started in London. This greatly helped the development of our Travel Collection because I had been sitting on the perfect London-inspired scent for a while. Our High Tea fragrance has black tea and bergamot notes and is rounded out with musk to create this Earl Grey-inspired scent. Now it's part of this collection as a delicious way to start our journey in London. So grab a quick cuppa before hopping onto the Orient Express for our trip to Athens.

On the Orient Express: Bar Car 3674

I knew when the collection started to come together that I wanted to have a scent that evoked the Orient Express itself. The biggest issue was which part of the train did I want to turn into a fragrance. With multiple opulent dining cars, luxurious suites, and a bar car boasting a baby grand piano, there was a lot to choose from. This meant I needed to find either a specific car to draw inspiration from or take the train as a whole to find scent notes. 

This is where all the YouTube travelers helped to find the focus for the Orient Express. Thanks to the channel Trek Trendy and his trip from Paris to Istanbul, you get to experience almost every car currently used. With his in-depth look at the cars, I settled on the bar car, 3674, and used the jazzy art nouveau feel as a starting point. Deciding on notes of mahogany, oakmoss, rum, and orange bitters our next scent, Black Tie Affair, emerged. Together these notes not only complement the decor of iconic bar car 3674 but also create a relaxing but moody experience, perfect for any night in.

Second Stop: Paris

Those who have been around for a few years may notice that this isn’t the first time I’ve had a fragrance inspired by Paris. The first scent I used was a beautiful peony fragrance, that was very floral. Floral scents have always reminded me of the city, but I wanted something more refined this time. Thinking about Paris being a stop on the way to our final stop in Athens, I worked with the idea of shopping leading to the idea of a flower market.


Sadly, the original scent I picked for Paris did fall into a full floral category, but my second scent was more fruit-forward and won the popular vote among those who experienced my test candles. The winner became Gilded Poppy and uses Rose de Grasse blended with pear and raspberry to create a fruity and slightly floral fragrance that feels young and adventurous. 

Last Stop: Athens

With a theme-based collection, I tend to stick with four scents to fully explore the story. With this collection, there wasn’t a clear way to round out everything so I looked up the full history of the Orient Express to find some inspiration. I knew I wanted something summery and couldn’t grasp a good summer feel from Istanbul, the current final stop of the Orient Express, so when I saw Athens I knew I could work with that.

Looking at Athens in a broad sense, I think of sunny, warm, and historic. From there I broke down those feelings into scent notes such as citrus, fruity, and aquatic. None of those hit the historic feel or feel like anything different from most summer citrus scents, but I remembered a summery scent I tested years ago that used figs. If you’re unfamiliar with fig or fig blossom as a scent note, they tend to be sweet, slightly green, and almost honey-like, without being heavy. 

Blending all these notes, I picked up a few fragrances to test and after a few weeks of testing finally landed on the perfect one. Coastal Retreat takes lemon, grapefruit, fig, and cedar and creates a beautiful summer mood perfect for relaxing after spending days on a train! 


While I’ve done themes in the past, I’ve only broken down the process one other time with an older fall collection called the Curiosity Collection. If you’re curious there’s a reel about how I picked the scents and their inspirations on Instagram, but you may have to scroll a bit to find it. However, I find it interesting to see how the creative process works when artists curate different collections. Creativity comes from so many different places that it's interesting to hear the stories behind it.

I spent my college years as a costume designer, where you break down plays and characters by their mood, time period, and journey. For the plays I designed, I have binders of notes, fabrics, and sketches that to most people would seem random but when explored can tell a whole story. Now I do the same when it comes to fragrance; find a mood, explore what makes that mood, and build that mood with fragrance.

I hope this was a fun and creative way to experience our Travel Collection, especially if you don’t have a chance to smell them in person. This labor of love is more than just picking popular seasonal scents, it’s a chance to take an aromatic journey through Europe.

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