Over afternoon tea on the garden rooftop of New York's Gramercy Park Hotel, Crabtree & Evelyn introduced a floral fragrance collection based on four single scent notes: lily, rosewater, iris and the English brand's legendary lavender.
Creative partner India Hicks, whose family history is rich in the tapestry of royalty, spoke of her most cherished fragrance moments. The daughter of Lady Pamela Mountbatten, she is second cousin to Charles, Prince of Wales, and served as bridesmaid to Diana, Princess of Wales, at her legendary nuptials.
In fact, it was time spent with Princess Diana that gave Hicks her first real fragrance memory.
"I first met Diana at the age of 13. Diana always wore tea rose. I had never thought about the feminine aspect of fragrance until I met her," said Hicks.
Tea rose was such a signature scent for the late princess, that she even wore it the day the whole world was watching.
"I distinctly remember Diana's tea rose scent on the day of her wedding. Charles had asked her to carry a yellow bantam rose in her bouquet in memory of my grandfather," said Hicks of Lord Mountbatten, the last Viceroy of India. "I now have that rose as a paperweight I keep on my desk," added Hicks.
But while Crabtree & Evelyn began its voyage as an English maker of fine bath, body and home goods 40 years ago with the launch of a lavender fragrance, the new scent offerings are less indicative of the Queen Mum's style than of future princess Kate Middleton.
"We're pushing into a slightly younger 25 to 35 demographic now," said Marketing Vice President Tom Woodside. "We've taken out the bad things like phthalates and parabens in this collection. We're removing the nasties out of all of our products. I'd say over 60 percent of our items are now free of them, and we will continue to work on that," added Woodside.
The massive launch will result in 53 SKUs that cover the gamut of bath and home goods, including elegant candles, body cream, dusting powder, drawer liners, linen mist and even padded hangers for softly scented closets. Gift sets arrange miniature product versions in floral-printed hat boxes, cosmetic bags and vanity train cases.
Although the scents are based on single flowers, they're gently blended with sparkling notes to make for wearable and non-cloying renditions that are also appropriate for scenting the bath and home.
Lovers of the common European field flower will be swept away by Lavender, which is freshened by a touch of lemon leaf, yet made calming with tonka bean and a delicate musk.
Being bath fiends, we were also won over by the Triple Milled Soap, which doesn't turn mushy nor lose scent with washings, thanks to the Old Country way of multiple millings and pressings that make for a high-quality product.
Priced from $12 for a Little Luxuries gift set to $16 for a Linen Spray to a range of $25 to $45 for the Eau de Toilette bottles, the line will be top of mind the next time we need a good girlfriend or hostess gift.
But not before we gift ourselves, of course.
And if you love all things Brit, you'll want to check out our extensive coverage of the royal wedding.