I recently had the chance to experience the new Gallivant fragrance line, and after admiring its packaging and display (city maps! 30 ml bottles! tiny paper airplanes instead of blotters!), I had to decide which of the four fragrances to try on my skin. Where to "gallivant" first? I chose the two cities that have personal meaning for me: London (which I've visited twice) and Brooklyn (where I work).
London was developed by perfumer Karine Chevallier and its notes include cucumber, violet leaves, rose, orris root, leather, sandalwood, patchouli and cedar. The Gallivant website outlines it in a sequence of sensory imagery: "East end boys and west end girls. Second-hand leather jackets. . . .Roses from Columbia Road. Georgian architecture. A hint of dustiness. An earthy lush wetness you can almost taste."
Well, I'd have to try London just for that Pet Shop Boys reference, if for nothing else. On paper, it was mostly a fresh blend of violet and cucumber with a hint of watery rose, and I thought it would be my favorite of the quartet. On skin, it takes a very different turn, just like a pop song with a surprise "hook." The transparent green and flowery notes never quite dissipate, but the dominant theme is the leather. It's not smoky or dirty, so it's not really a "second-hand" leather jacket; it's closer to a new leather jacket. Imagine sitting next to a clean-scrubbed person wearing a leather jacket, while sipping Pimm's Cups somewhere near a flower garden, and you'll be close. (That's an experience I somehow missed on my visits to London; damn.) If you like the idea of a "floral leather fragrance" but you crave something a bit more leather-y and casual than Hermès Kelly Calèche or Bottega Veneta Eau de Parfum, you may want to try London.
Back on my own side of the Atlantic, Gallivant's Brooklyn offers top notes of bergamot, lemon, orange, incense, cardamom, fresh air; heart notes of magnolia, orris root and "transparent flowers"; and base notes of musk, white woods, benzoin and amber. It was developed for Gallivant by perfumer Giorgia Navarra and it's narrated in part as "life on the sidewalk, early summer breezes, the glow from the lighting in bars and diners, bright apartments with books. Cocktails with friends." (Hey, those are all experiences I've had in Brooklyn! Relatable!)
I own enough citrusy colognes that I wasn't initially inspired by the description of Brooklyn (the fragrance), but I gave it a few test runs in Brooklyn (the place) and ended up feeling pleasantly addicted. Brooklyn opens with some peppery bergamot, then evolves into a warm mix of cardamom and ginger. The iris root and benzoin are the most noticeable facets of the scent's heart, and the base releases some subtle woody notes. Brooklyn's far dry down is a blend of spice and resin. It's comfortable but still stylish, without trying too hard, like a favorite scarf that adds a finishing touch to any outfit. (Very "new Brooklyn," in other words.)
London and Brooklyn are both unisex, and both have very good staying power on my skin. Brooklyn is more "me," but I'd recommend both to anyone who's feeling olfactory wanderlust this spring.