The Virtue

MondayClosed.

Tuesday10:00 am – 3:00 pm.

Wednesday10:00 am – 3:00 pm.

Thursday10:00 am – 3:00 pm.

Friday10:00 am – 3:00 pm.

Saturday10:00 am – 1:00 pm.

SundayClosed.

44 Brougham Street, Central, New Plymouth

021 129 9814

There’s nothing remotely ordinary about The Virtue in New Plymouth. The perfumery’s flagship store is an otherworldly experience and stepping inside is like being invited to dance with hedonism. Escape the ho-hum, and revel in pure joy. 

Brooke Lean, the co-founder and owner of The Virtue, spent many years cutting her teeth as a photographer and exploring the light and refraction, depth of colour and perception of photographic images. What sets Brooke apart, however, is her sensory superpower which means she experiences sights as smells - and so her images always had scent associated with them. It therefore became a natural progression to make fragrances that were inextricably connected to her art. Now her time is primarily spent on producing beautiful scents (with help from a perfumery in Grasse in France). Experimenting with scent has allowed Brooke to forge a new way to tell her stories. 

One of the perfume collections revolves around Brooke’s travels to Cuba in 2016 - imagine smells of dry Cuban tobacco leaves and tonka bean conjuring up the dreamy warm nights of distant shores. Another fragrance is a nostalgic remake of her first school teacher’s scent (the name of said teacher eludes Brooke but her smell is indelibly marked on her nose). The fragrance is called 1987, the year Brooke started school.

All of the perfumes are carefully displayed with evocative imagery and detailed fragrance notes helping the novices learn more. They can be purchased as incense, perfume, candles or room sprays. 

The Virtue resides in a heritage building that was formerly a law office in circa 1800s. The former safe, once used for important legal documents, now houses raw ingredients, from bergamot to cedarwood, allowing Brooke to play with aromas onsite. The interior is predominately black with dramatic results; a chunky brass counter that boasts a noteworthy patina takes centre stage. Pops of colour come courtesy of curated vintage furniture and curios hand-selected by The Virtue team. These second-hand delights are joined by a selection of bespoke Turkish tea stools and Turkish Kilim cushions that instantly demand your attention. You’ll also find fresh blooms created by Sophie, a master florist putting together eye-catching bouquets for sale.  

The store could be anywhere in the world; luxurious, divine and globally inspired. A sensory exploration of the stories and memories of one woman who has manifested a place of utter wonderment. It certainly wasn’t what we were expecting on the back streets in New Plymouth, but perhaps that’s all part of the wonder. 

Words by Kelly Tapper & Photography by Anna Briggs

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Location

44 Brougham Street, Central, New Plymouth

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