Finally had a chance to catch up with mainstream perfumery at the Globus Department store in Zurich. To fortify myself I first went to the newly renovated food floor and staggered around the wine section in amazement at the treasures all around me. I found a very reasonably priced Maury from the year 1929 to celebrate my mother’s 87th next week. But it was the perfumery floor that brought the biggest surprise. There were three launches on display: Cartier’s Envol for men, Chanel’s L’Eau No 5 and Hermès Galop. Being the sort of jaundiced fellow I am, I expected them to be derivative, compromised and uninteresting. Not so fast. They have all clearly taken a hint from niche and Haute Parfumerie and upped their game. Mathilde Laurent’s Envol is a cross between Cool Water and Grey Flannel with a touch of Déclaration thrown in (I am not doing it justice), and smells rich, interesting and stylish. The Chanel is a luminous combination of expensive and trashy done with a very light touch reminiscent of their Exclusifs, and altogether excellent. Finally Galop is a highly original, and in fact quite strange fragrance that could not in a million years come out of a focus group or consumer test. It does not even try to smell nice, for heaven’s sake. This is Christine Nagel’s first fragrance for Hermès, and bodes well for the future. Somebody at the top has got the message that business as usual is bad business. Expect a slew of good fragrances from the big brands. Capitalism adapts just when you give up on it, in fact because you give up on it.