… As he explained to us, over breakfast just the other morning. (Don’t get excited: we didn’t pitch up till 9.3oam.)
Marijuana, perfumistas may recall, featured in his debut fragrance, Jack – named after the Union flag, and a symbol of South African-born Richard’s passion for his adopted homeland. It became a huge bestseller in Liberty, breaking even within a year, so he revealed – no mean feat for a novice. (But a huge relief, since every penny invested in the scent collection has come out of Richard’s own pocket.)
Unlike most ‘celebrity’ fragrances, Richard has been involved every sniff of the way. The second, Jack Covent Garden, is inspired by the former fruit and flower market in Covent Garden (an area of London where Richard himself trod the boards, when recently-landed from the southern hemisphere).
As with the debut scent, Alienor Massenet was the ‘nose’ – and incorporated notes of orange, lime, ginger, pink peppercorns, rose and pimento, plus just a dash of carrot! As it warms on the skin, iris (orris) and musk take a bow, too.
If you’re one of our VIP Subscribers, make sure you’re logged into the site – because if you click here, you can enter a prize draw to win a bottle of the fragrance, autographed especially by Richard E. Grant. If not? You can still ‘virtually’ enjoy Richard’s five favourite smells…
1. Gardenia. ‘I grew up in Swaziland and the density of colour of the shiny leaves, and the velvet nature of the white petals are hugely nostalgic for me. Gardenia’s stronger at night and I think it’s incredibly sexy… I know it was Frank Sinatra and Barbra Streisand’s favourite flower, too; at Sinatra’s funeral he had 2000 of them, must have been absolutely narcotic! A fragrance oil called Kai from Malibu is the closest that I’ve found to capturing the magic of the real flower.’
2. Narcissi. ‘When I arrived in England in 1982 it was 25th April, and I had never smelled narcissi before – they don’t exist where I grew up. I associate that quintessentially with being an immigrant and landing here, and that smell more than anything is of that exciting time in my life.’
3. Christmas pudding. ‘I eat them once a month. I buy them in the January sale when they’re practically giving them away.’
4. My daughter’s neck. ‘If this doesn’t sound weird, it’s always smelled of almond biscuits. And I love it.’
5. Marijuana leaves. ‘That’s the smell of where I grew up: that wonderful, gorgeous, peppery, aromatic scent – which I added a touch of to the first Jack fragrance…’
Written by Jo Fairley