Sunday, July 17, 2011

Perfume Shopping in Reykjavík, Iceland

Hi again, now I'm back! I've recently been on a trip to Iceland in order to visit my family there and I've been travelling in Sweden as well, but now I'm back in Stockholm for at least a week! When I go abroad on shorter trips I usually bring a few samples but not to many. Instead I rely on that I'll discover new and interesting scents and just spray them on whenever I see them in the shops. Iceland used to be a great place for that, there used to be a consumer culture that equals nothing I've some across. But as they have been in a major economic recession the last few years, things are very different now. As most Icelanders have no money there are hardly any imported luxury goods available. Even McDonalds has left (I'm not kidding).

But, even if Icelanders themselves have no money, there are lots of people that do - tourists! It used to be very expensive to go there, but not any more. And tourists like to buy local stuff and partake of local culture. So there seems to be a boom in arts and creating things locally. And there are not just souvenir polar bears and little wooden vikings. I found, surprisingly, 2 new local brands of perfume as well.

First one is EFJ, manufactured by Gydja. It's described as a classic, spicy, light and fresh fragrance with hints of citrus, vanilla, roses and bergamot. The perfume is clearly marketed towards tourists as it's made with with glacial water from Eyjafjallajökull and every bottle comes with a small lava rock from the volcano.

The only chance I had to try this one was at the airport, just before leaving.  It's a very generic floral with some rose and citrus thrown in. I didn't get any vanilla. It didn't impress me. But to it's defence I must say that while I was wearing it, I was carrying my very reluctant one year old daughter. First for an hour inside the airport terminal, then I had to try keep her entertained  for 3 hours straight, sitting in my lap, during the flight back home. Not the best conditions for perfume sampling...

The other Icelandic perfume brand I came across was is an extension to an Icelandic clothing brand, named Ella, founded by Elinros Lindal. There are two scents, "Ella" and "Ella Night". The official scent notes of Ella are lemon, verbena and patchouly. Ella Night smells of roses and fur.

I never got to wear these ones. I must admit I was put off by the bottle design, it was so clearly a bad Byredo copy. Normally I'm not too sensitive by such things, I believe that the best product will win in the end, but as I don't care much for Byredo to start with I just felt tired when I saw these. But if anyone has tried them I'd love to hear what you think.

So, I'm not super impressed by Icelandic perfumery yet, but at least there is an embryo of a local perfume industry. That, I believe, is a very good thing, and from now on things should only be able to get better! However, what is impressive are some of the Icelandic clothing designers. I'm including a few links here for anyone who's interested in checking them out:

Spakmannsspjarir , if I was a foot taller and a little more goth looking I'd buy all of theirs stuff! Amazing!

Kron by Kronkron, very cool shoes and stockings.

Elm, apparently Oprah has stopped by here and bought stuff.


  1. Yay, you're back! I watch a lot of business news and am aware of Iceland's economic problems so it was very interesting to read your personal observations.

    Now I'm off to check out the Iceland clothing links you posted : )

  2. Yes, the economic crisis has had a huge impact on the nation, in every conceivable way. It's very scary, but I hope that something good will come out of it eventually.

    If nothing else, at least I don't have to feel guilty about buying lots of clothes, it's the best way to support local designers :)