Drawing inspiration from the shop's name, the interior design features several bird motifs: cages, feathers and perches. However, what's most noticeable is the apparent lack of any bottles of fragrance. In order to persuade the customer to sit down and enjoy a no-obligation consultation - rather than wander from one tester to another - the stock is kept well out of sight in a Dali-esque chest of drawers with swooping curves and clawed feet. The contents of this striking piece of furniture include Nasomatto, Carthusia and Morgane Le Fay, amongst others.
The shop's parent company - Intertrade Europe - intends to make Avery the first international chain of niche perfumeries. Indeed, a New York branch was recently opened and further launches are planned.
Looking every inch the Bohemian artist - with leonine hair, a waistcoat and a cigarette in one hand - Humbert-Lucas explained that his wife, Christa Patout, inadvertently inspired him to create the new range when she gave him a copy of the Quran as a gift. Although he does not adhere to any specific religious faith, the stories in the Islamic text moved him to give birth to a line of scents that would evoke the Arabian world through the sensibilities of French perfumery. He conceded that he may also have been influenced by his ancestry: one of his grandfathers is Algerian.
When asked about the oud used in his creations, Humbert-Lucas insisted it is completely natural. He dismissed all currently-available synthetic substitutes as unconvincing and stated his clientele wouldn't accept anything other than the genuine article. He also revealed that he considers the SoOud range to be in its infancy at the moment. With Patout by his side as his fiercest critic, he hopes to create more complex and unusual scents to accompany the existing eight.
The Avery Fine Perfumery is on 27 Avery Row, London, W1K 4AY; Tel: + 44 (0)20 7629 1892. More about the SoOud range can be found here.
About the author
Persolaise is a UK-based writer and amateur perfumer who has held a strong interest in the world of fine fragrance for over two decades. He is currently developing his own line of perfume. You can find out more about his work at www.persolaise.com or by emailing him at persolaise at gmail dot com