This Week

by Katie on March 28, 2013

This Week’ captures a snapshop of a week’s happenings in the life of Katie’s alter ego, Karen. A lot can happen in London.

‘This Week’ (like most of Britain), I froze in arctic conditions, attended a ‘World’s Best Gin Bartender’ final 32 floors up at Paramount, popped into Issey Miyake’s fragrance launch and attended the re-launch of China White, that’s now known as Libertine.

G’Vine Gin’s Best Gin Bartender Final at Paramount
Now, normally you say gin to some people and it’s ‘don’t spare the horses‘. After some dubious gin fuelled nights with a fellow party girl, we have other thoughts. Namely, how to survive the day after. Still, *sigh*, in the name of research and blog fodder, off we trotted to head upwards to the 32nd floor of Paramount. 

Now, before I continue, I’ve been to many such sponsored nights so expected a rather fun night, even on a sad Monday. But, it wasn’t. Low key, yes, and with extremely competent bartenders who shook all sorts of strange and wonderful ingredients in the name of the perfect G’Vine Gin cocktail, but there was something missing….namely fun and food. 

I’m the last in canape grabbers but encouraging journos to imbibe gin (12 tables) requires some sort of back-up plan. There was a table filled with bowls of profiteroles (how strange?) and, well, that was it. It became increasingly obvious that the notepad clutching, post-work crowd assembled were desperate for nibbles. How do I know this? Let’s just say that the bartenders’ actual table props such as grapes, dry bread and olives were being savaged by the many. The largest crowds around bartenders didn’t necessarily mean the best cocktail, it meant the most props to devour. 

All in all, great gin. Smooth and subtle. But bite sized foodstuffs (no matter how inexpensive) required. Otherwise it just feels a tad unfinished and un-thought through, which is a shame.

The winning Bartender was Boisdale’s Hannah Lanfear. My favourite, from Kensington Place, who served sorbet along with his chilli infused cocktails didn’t appear top three. 

Issey Miyake’s ‘Pleats Please’ perfume launch
Tuesday saw me plod through the biting cold blowing severely down the streets of W1 and headed to Issey Miyake’s store in Conduit Street for the launch of Mr Miyake’s new perfume. 

For non perfume people, Miyake’s L’Eau D’Issey set the bar when launched over 20 years ago. It was a new breed of clean that others tried to replicate and has become a classic. 

The new ‘Pleats Please’ has a pleasing bottle (see what I did there?) that replicates the Miyake architectured Bao Bao bag. It’s stand-out and tactile though the perfume itself is pleasant and uplifting in a bright yuzu fruit, peony, vanilla tinged manner but not in the same league as L’Eau d’Issey. The new release is aimed at a youth audience and focuses on colour. 

The store replicated this with bright fuchsia’s oranges and purples. Models dressed in Miyake’s famous Pleats Please range distributed fragrance bracelets as the perfume hoardes drank pink champagne and cocktails. The bright shiny new feel of the event seemed to counteract the bitter cold waiting outside for us on leaving.

Libertine launch
It’s a much better name than China White and, judging from the club look and layout, a much better venue all round. Libertine in Winsley St launched this week and seems to be a more classy affair all round. The staff are more than courteous and efficient, the side bar, Reason & Mankind, a well-designed Prohibition ‘Boardwalk Empire” style area (meets Moroccan cushioned group seating) that plays old imagery of Prohibition and ’20s films is a great hidey hole. 

All the while, bartenders serve up exceedingly original, innovative cocktails such as ‘Nelson’s Blood’, ‘Top Hat & Tails’ and ‘Coachman’s Gift’ (all at reasonable prices) while outside the club jumps to the sound of old ’80s disco like Yarborough & People’s mixed with Rhianna et al. I surprisingly really rather enjoyed myself as did my mag hag friend. We both concurred that we liked it enough to go back. And that’s saying something.

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