Is there anything more iconically British than the Union Jack? Sure the flag represents the union of England, Scotland and Ireland to historians and politicians, but to you and I, it means just one thing… London baby!! Yeahhhh!
During our recent trip to London (full post coming soon) we decided to take an entire day of exploring everything that makes this city so iconic. Along for the journey was the new Dunhill Icon collection – A collection of fragrance set to capture the essence of the modern British gentleman and this iconic Britsh brand.
With so many cultural icons spread throughout the city, it’s kinda hard to know where to begin so we chose to start where most Londoners end their day, with a pint at the pub. With over 7000 public houses (or ‘pubs’) in London alone, we didn’t have to walk very far. This great British tradition has been around since the Medieval period with London’s oldest pub, “Ye Olde Mitre” still standing strong over 500 years later! Not surprisingly, we found ourselves joining the lunchtime rush at The Red Lion, the odds were pretty strong though, it’s the most common pub name in Britain.
The British fascination with red is pretty evident across its cultural icons, the postbox, the phone box and of course the double-decker bus were all painted red as a way of making them stand out. Once just a horse-drawn carriage, it was the London General omnibus company who iconified the double-decker bus with its signature red.
This attention to detail is no more evident than in the world’s most famous tailoring street, London’s Saville Row. A bastion of great British tailoring and the home of the bespoke suit. Here master tailors have been crafting made-to-measure suits since the 1800s, turning out one of a kind pieces for anyone from the king of pop to, well, the king himself – No, not Elvis… I mean the actual King… of England. Made to measure is however not strictly confined to Saville Row, a few blocks down at Dunhills flagship London store on Jermyn street awaits a Saville Row-trained master tailor ready to create your dream suit.
Dunhills Legacy of luxury products has made it a true Icon of the modern British gentleman recognized the world over. The brand’s early origins in the motoring business remain evident in its DNA to this day with its signature machine turned knurling pattern found on everything from lighters to wallets and of course every bottle of the Dunhill Icon range. The full range of products caters to any gentleman (as long as he is indeed a gentleman) and most importantly remains true to Alfred Dunhills vision “It is not enough to expect a man to pay for the best, you must also give him what he has paid for”. Walking around the Jermyn street store pictured above really brings Alfred Dunhills vision of craftsmanship and innovation to life! I was like a kid in a candy store… except my parents just hadn’t given me enough money to get the candy I wanted! Leaving the store with nothing more than a wishlist, I spruced up with some Dunhill Icon and headed back into town.
Getting around London is easy, but be prepared to walk, we clocked up no fewer than 10km a day in exploratory footsteps. You can of course always ‘mind the gap” and hop onto another London icon, the Underground. The worlds first subterranean train network has built up over 250miles of railway since it started in 1863 and can literally take you anywhere in the city. It’s come a long way since its steam train inception and the tube (named by Londoners because of the tunnels) has seen everything from world war 2 bunkers to famous celebrity buskers. Busking on the underground is both legal and legit (meant the way the cool kids mean it) and will definitely bring some joy to your commute. These days you won’t even need to find a ‘quid’ to tip your favorite muso, just tap your RFID card on their receiver to say “thanks geezer”. : )
If you prefer to commute above ground you can always flag down the infamous London black cab, just don’t go yelling “TAXI” when you do so as believe it or not it’s against the law. This may be the most expensive way to get around London but it is quite possibly the most efficient. London cab drivers need to pass a test (known as “the Knowledge”) that requires them to memorize over 25 000 streets and 20 000 landmarks as well as route a trip from A to B purely by memory (that’s right, no map, no GPS and no Waze – see what I did there?). Feel free to pack your bowler hat for the journey, legally, all black cabs need to be tall enough to accommodate a passenger wearing a bowler hat. Tip top I say!
As you can imagine, walking 10km in search of Icons will build up quite an appetite but with almost 40 000 service establishments in London alone, you really are spoilt for choice. If we are completely honest, with names like Spotted Dick and Toad in the Hole, British cuisine has never really caught on! The exception to the rule and perhaps the most iconic of all British food is, of course, Fish and Chips. This simple dish of fried fish and potatoes is, in fact, such a big part of British life that it was the only food not rationed during the world war – once you cover it in salt and malt vinegar, you’ll quickly understand why!
To be fair, the above Icons may fulfill our romantic dreams of London, but they are all historical (or traditional) and not really a true reflection of modern-day London. Todays London is very much a cultural melting pot that curates the best the world has to offer and puts it all in one place. The icons are forever changing, they’re a nod to the past and a look to the future, it’s Tower Bridge behind you as you walk towards The Shard; It’s cocktails in Soho and ramen in Chinatown!
The Dunhill Icon collection has been created in exactly the same way, it remains true to its British heritage while celebrating the best ingredients the world has to offer! It’s Italian Bergamot and Lavender de Provence, it’s spices from the orient and Leather from Tuscany, crafted into a masculine scent and encapsulated in an engine turned bottle that is so unmistakably Britsih, so unmistakably Dunhill.
The collection caters to a man of timeless elegance, a man of style not fashion, whether he is out exploring the world, or appreciating the finer things in life at home. Combined with his fragrance he radiates confidence without arrogance, appeal without ego. Quite simply, he is a gentleman. Explore the full collection below to find out what Dunhill Icon you are.
Oaky. Stay fancy.