Posted on October 31 2013
One of the questions most asked by customers when they come through the doors here at Mercantile is "What is that smell?". They aren't talking about Robert after one too many chicken treats, but Ortigia.
Bob 'don't blame me' Mercantile
Named after the Sicilian island which was used as a backdrop for the film Cinema Paradiso (have a watch) by one of the founding owners of Crabtree & Evelyn, Ortigia is a small Italian soap and scent company based in Florence. If you get a chance, seek out the store, it's amazing and with super friendly staff that will let you play and test to your hearts content.
Florence store Borgo S.Jacopo 12/R 50125.
Made by one of Italy's most famous perfumers, the range of soaps, scents, creams, candles and lotions are formulated using natural products indigenous to Sicily: Orange Blossom, Sicilian Lime, Pomegranate, Fico d’India and Almond. The base of all the products are natural: olive oil, vegetable glycerine, and organic colours and as you'd expect the collection is paraben-free and not tested on animals
Sicilian lime, yum, makes you wanna eat it (don't).
Even though the product base is natural, the scent is intense which is great as how annoying is it to invest in a pricey candle and not even been able to smell it after burning it all night or when your perfume fades after a couple of hours? Ortigia manages to linger on the skin, without choking the train carriage.
Bath salts, old school decadence.
The packaging is crazy exotic, using Sicilian images and vivid colours.The soap boxes are hand made with silver foil and embossed lettering and the glass bottles and candle jars are die stamped with evocative images of leopards and palm trees.
We don't mind gift wrapping this shape in store. We pull out all the folding moves then.
Currently Eben and the rest of east London are loving the Sandalwood eau de perfume (cedar, teak and vetiver), a unisex sharing spray.
His & hers, mostly yours though
As well as spraying everyone and thing with Sandalwood, we are spraying the shop floor with Bergamot room essence which is green and strong with orange tree oils and a great alternative to candles. We have been making our own bespoke mix, mixing Zagara with rose and patchouli oil straight onto wet skin after the shower to seal in the orange flower, neroli and wood base essential oils, which provokes lots of 'what are wearing?' comments.
Zagara, mix it up.
Anyway you know the sun will soon be out and those 100 denier are gonna have to come off at some point, so get busy....