This post falls under both “Presents”, and “Blog”, as its a little personal, but a wholehearted recommendation! Here is a story I’ve been itching to tell since the creation of The Ghost of Christmas Presents, and if the name weren’t a clear enough clue of my adoration of literature, then I’ll gladly go on.
It was the summer of 2010, myself and three of my closest friends travelled up to Bath for a few days for the famed Jane Austen Festival. I’d recently finished reading “Emma“, and had probably overplayed the BBC’s period drama a little too much for my family to keep my cooped up indoors anymore. So off we went, clad in handmade costume and ready to take part in the procession, dancing lessons, and Guildhall fayre.
The absolute highlight of the trip however wasn’t the atmosphere, or the great food and people I met, but a little bottle of perfume I picked up. It was aptly named “The Matchmaker” by Latherati, which to any of you familiar with Jane Austen’s work, you’ll know refers to Emma Woodhouse herself! Now, I can’t give a scent the description it deserves with my own limited vocabulary, but that little bottle has been described as having the aroma of “ripe strawberries, orchid, and a touch of plum”…
Being young at the time, this was my first perfume. It was also, and not just for nostalgic reasons, instantly my favourite too. I kept it in pride of place on the shelf, and only brought it out for exceptional occasions! For me, it wasn’t an ‘any old day’ perfume, but something to be cherished and treasured.
One such occasion occurred around 5 months later… A first date! As with all first dates, especially circa 2010 ones if you can remember back to a time before Tinder or Match.com (well maybe Match existed, but I was 15 and didn’t know of such things!), this date was special. I kept the little “Matchmaker” bottle tucked into my pocket throughout and reapplied lightly throughout the day. I won’t bore you all with any further details of how cold it was and how red my nose became, or how we shared a Chinese takeaway at the canal-side, trying to eavesdrop on tourists. But one strong memory which stands out greater than the tiny trivialities is that familiar scent of ripe strawberries and plum.
Fast forward seven years, minus a few months and your girl is getting married! Married to none other than 2010’s canal-side, Chinese-food-eating boy, who was important enough for me to wear my beloved “Matchmaker” for. However seven long years takes it toll on a little bottle of perfume. Though not depleted (for I’d always been true to ‘saving it for a special occasion’), it had lost its scent – as all perfumes do after a while!
Despite witnessing it fading, and growing more worried to open the little bottle with each day as I grew up, the scent stayed with me. I could still remember the exact blend of flavours, and that subtle sweetness to it (and so could my fiancee, which is a true testament to it). Over the years, I’d tried to find Latherati, but they had closed. I researched into having the perfume chemically analysed to be recreated, but to no avail.
I often sent message or two to the original page, telling my story, but was quite sure the messages would be lost on the depths of the internet. It was seven years after all! A lot happens in seven years. But then, out of the blue, I see an unread message from Latherati. Julie is the genius behind Latherati, and “Matchmaker“. She’s enthusiastic, passionate, clearly very bright, and honestly one of the most talented perfumers I’ve ever come across.
For a ‘happy ending’, just so you know – “Hartfield” (the identical, but re-imagined “Matchmaker“) arrives in plenty of time for the wedding! The big day goes off without a hitch. Throughout the day, with every little movement where I caught scent of the perfume again, I was taken back to that winter afternoon where I had a first date with my now husband.
“Hartfield“, as a scent is gorgeous. Latherati now makes all the scents into way more products than just perfume – you can buy soap, or moisturiser too (and believe me I’ve got both from “Hartfield“). Its not just feminine scents either, as Julie has just added a range of beard oils named after famous male authors. Theres Hemingway, Verne, Tolstoy and more. I’m putting in an order for a “Dickens” for my husband this Christmas which infuses the aromas of smoke, bourbon and cloves. He’s going to love it!
The truly magical thing about Latherati, is how perfect the perfumes are to their literary counterparts. Not only “Hartfield” and Jane Austen. You can enjoy many classic novels in perfume form. Take “The Great Gatsby” for example, with ‘sparkling champagne, creamy orange, strawberries, musk and vanilla’. Divine! “Isle of Skye” is another one I’ve had the good fortune to smell too (I tend to recommend Latherati to a lot of friends, if only so I can go round and get a preview of what to get for myself next – if you’d like though, you can sample them yourself easily here.) The “Isle of Skye“, inspired by Woolf to me reminds me of sweetened pears, and salty air. In other words, a picnic on a grassy ridge overlooking the gentle sea.
As of writing this, www.latherati.com, the website, launched yesterday 1st of November 2017. You can read about Julie’s story here. All mentioned products, and much much more can be found on Etsy. “Hartfield” can be purchased here. This year, after all Julie did for me to get “Hartfield” back in my hands after so many years and bring back such fond memories, I’m going to make sure everyone gets a little something by Latherati in their stockings.