Personal Luxuries | The Reconnoisseur

The bookshop that yields sensual, as well as literary, rewards

A novel approach to the business of bookselling

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The bookshop that yields sensual, as well as literary, rewards

January 21 2011
Vicci Bentley

Somehow I can’t warm to the Kindle – there’s nothing quite like being hustled by a sexy cover in the browsy comfort of an old-style bookshop. And one of my favourites is the intimate bookshop run by literary agents Sarah Lutyens and Felicity Rubinstein in Notting Hill (first picture). Guided by their sure touch, its shelves are lined with popular and recherché titles, each with an encouraging “hand-picked” feel.

But what makes Lutyens & Rubinstein truly special is that it yields unusually sensual rewards; here, as well as books, you will find a well-judged edit of perfumes from the range created by New York taxi driver-turned-perfumer, Christopher Brosius, called CB I Hate Perfume (second picture). Why perfumes in a bookshop? Simple: each scent is chosen for its literary link. I love In The Library – a dusty, leathery, peaceful smell, while Fire From Heaven, inspired by the Ruth Rendell novel, is as peat-fiery as Lagavulin. (Scents are £60 for spray, £70 for oil.) And if that’s not enough to whet the sensual appetite, Lutyens & Rubinstein sells scrummy home made quince jelly, too (£5). It all makes an e-reader seem flatly one-dimensional.

See also

Shopping, Books, Perfume