As thunder pealed out across the densely humid Melbourne sky, Ruby Slipper’s Iolanthe hopped in the car and hoped that her journey to the launch of Lubin’s ‘Black Jade’ at the exclusive Peony Haute Parfumerie would not involve a flash flooding. Today’s blog chronicles an intimate and luxurious soiree to celebrate the launch of ‘Black Jade’, a fragrance with a true story to tell.

For those of you who haven’t yet the pleasure of experiencing the olfactory treasure chest that is Peony, make sure to pay a visit to 107 Auburn Road, Hawthorn before Christmas arrives. I was delighted to be invited to experience Peony, and the new fragrance – Black Jade – being launched there on the night. When I arrived at the discreetly closed store, I worried at first I had the wrong night. Upon knocking, the door opened revealing Jill, who welcomed into her glittering jewel chest of hospitality and fragrance – stocked with fine champagne, more-ish catering, divine flower arrangements by Domain Flowers and chocolate-box style cakes and macarons from Let Them Eat Cake. Yes – it was a little bit Enid-Blyton-Magic-Faraway-Tree marvellous!

Glamorous cake centrepiece, which certainly made me think of Sofia Coppola’s ‘Marie Antoinette’.

Queen Marie Antoinette was at the heart of the evening’s event. Peony Haute Parfumerie stock an exclusive range of European fragrances, including those by the house of Lubin. Their latest fragrance ‘Black Jade’ is described as ‘The Queen’s Secret Garden’. The blurb for the fragrance needs no improvement… so here it is unabridged.

“A black jade bottle held the last remaining scents of a secret garden. The discovery of its formula, copied by an indiscreet apprentice, revealed its mysteries. It belonged to a queen in the Trianon rose gardens, far from the splendours of the Court, before the turmoil of history was unleashed. It has come down to us through the ages to be reborn today. Calbanum, bergamot and cardamom provide a fresh prelude to the rose and jasmine heart notes, enhanced by a hint of incense and cinnamon. The amber base, anchored in exotic woods, Indian sandalwood and patchouli, is arrayed in vanilla and Tonka bean.”

If that doesn’t make you want to rush in and imagine yourself strolling through the jardins of Versailles (pre-revolution, naturally) – there’s little I can do for your stony heart! The evening at Peony was truly mirthful, full of the wonderful characters and bloggers you love to read including Lady Melbourne, Esme and the Laneway, Cecylia, Sarah of Style Melbourne, Cheryl from Business Chic and Kyra of Pybus PR. Here are some photos for you to enjoy of the cosy night, supping on champagne and munching petit fours whilst the thunder and rain broke through the humidity of Melbourne outside.

Peony stock amazing candles with truly evocative scents. This ‘Naples’ candle by French group Astier de Villatte smelled of leather, machinery, orange groves and earth. Incroyable! 100% organic, these highly perfumed 50-60 hour burn candles are so natural they can be used as solid perfume. Another candle that grabbed my attention smelled of old books, and another of the Paris Opera house – all furniture polish and heavy velvet curtains. The graphic art employed in the packaging, and the hand-blown glass these candles are poured into make them a very special gift.

L-R: Kyra of Pybus PR with amazing Ghost & Lola earrings, and Iolanthe from Ruby Assembly in Gorman.

Delicate cakes, fit for a Queen…

…to match with golden bubbles, ready for a Roi.

Vintage chic! It’s Esme and the Laneway (L) with the ever-lovely Cecylia (R).

With Peony’s Agnes, who was telling me the unique story of the Astier de Villatte candles.

Jill Timms, the creative force behind Peony – and myself. The Ruby Assembly blog has an exclusive interview coming up with Jill in the near future!

Something to remember the night by… a luxurious Peony goodie- bag with a sample of Black Jade, beautiful Cire Trudon candle in Mademoiselle de la Valliere, Rose-flavoured l’Abbye de Flavigny pastilles and Aesop treats too.