Tag Archives: Penhaligon’s

In Rotation: Spring 2017

My perfume choices have been all over the places lately thanks to the changeable weather we’ve been experiencing in the UK this spring. As I write this on Monday 10th April, yesterday was 25 degrees Celsius. For that one day heatwave, I spritzed Dita Von Teese EdP for its tropical flowers, hint of spice and oriental-lite base. Today, it’s back down to 15°C so I’m returning to usual perfume programming which currently consists of the following: –

 

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Vaara, Penhaligon’s

Notes: Quince, Rose Water, Carrot Seeds, Coriander, Saffron, Rose, Freesia, Magnolia, Peony, Honey, White Musk, Cedar, Sandalwood, Benzoin and Tonka Bean.

On mild spring days I’ve been testing out my bottle of Vaara. I bought it when a friend was selling off her perfumes and I picked it up for not very much at all. Still, I’ve been re-assessing my collection, spurred on by Vanessa’s brilliant 20 ‘desert island’ scents post and wanted to check that it warranted a place on my shelf. So far so good. The fabulously unique start of quince, saffron, carrot seed and sparkling rosewater hangs around much longer than I feared, before moving into the rosy heart.

 

28 La Pausa, Chanel

Notes: I can’t find a notes list, but there is A LOT of Iris Pallida.

This huge 200ml bottle was generously gifted to me by the same friend I bought Vaara from.  It’s the original EdT which is no longer available.  Val the Cookie Queen and I tried out the new EdP last year and although it got off to great iris start, it all too quickly dried to down to a squeaky clean vetiver. Maybe the Parfum formulation is a better though. Unlike a lot of people, I’m fortunate in that the EdT lasts reasonably well on me.  This elegant iris feels just right for early spring with its floral-woody character and silky, slightly powdery texture.  28 La Pausa is the refined orris choice.

 

Antonia, Puredistance

Notes: Jasmine, Rose Essence, Ylang Ylang, Orris, Ivy, Galbanum, Vanilla and Vetiver.

Green florals like Antonia are another staple for me when March finally comes around. It’s luxurious, sun-lit and incredibly well blended. Quite a few green fragrances have a rather mealy-mouthed character, owing to the unforgiving nature of galbanum. However, Antonia is lusciously full-bodied and surprisingly warm. This spring goddess is resplendent in emerald with delicate flowers laced through her hair. Thanks to B for my bottle.

 

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What fragrances have you been wearing lately?

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Blasted Heath and Blasted Bloom by Penhaligon’s

There’s nothing like a returning trend which you remember vividly from the first time around to make you feel your age.  It doesn’t seem like five minutes since aquatics fragrances were at high tide before receding from the mainstream market. When they went out of vogue, many of us were relieved to see the back of them.

Really, it’s unfair to tar all watery-themed fragrances with the same brush. For me (and I suspect many others) it was more the ubiquity of the calone-fuelled 1990’s phenomenon L’Eau d’Issey that made me tire of the genre. There’s actually been a number of really great niche oceanic fragrances since then, including Heeley’s Sal Marin and Epice Marine Hermessence.

Last year aquatic fragrances staged a comeback. I was pleasantly surprised by Jo Malone’s Wood Sage and Sea Salt and in September Penhaligon’s launched a duo of scents which were also inspired by the windswept British coastline.

Blasted Heath and Blasted Bloom were both composed by perfumer Alberto Morillas who incidentally did – count them – five L’eau d’Issey flankers.

Blasted Heath

Aquatic accord, seaweed absolute, clary sage absolute, green leaves, Clearwood™, tobacco absolute, whiskey accord, patchouli essence, Alaskan cedarwood essence, gaiacwood essence, vetiver SFE and musks.

Blasted Heath embodies the scent of salty sea air and seaweed mingling with the aromatics of shrubbery and wild herbs.  There’s an aquatic accord woven through dense leaves and sage.

It has a decidedly masculine feel, with a slight metallic edge. If you can imagine such a thing as an aquatic fougere you’d be on the right track. Blasted Heath is as much about aromatic greenery as it is about seawater.

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Blasted Bloom

Notes: Wild berries, aquatic accord, green leaves, eglantine rose, pink pepper CO2, hawthorn, Alaskan cedarwood essence, Clearwood™, moss and musks.

As you may have suspected from the name, here in Blasted Bloom we have wildflowers at the shore being blown about by the bracing sea breeze. The berry note isn’t bold or syrupy sweet but actually quite tart and subdued.

The flowers are delicate and spring-like while the aquatic aspect is less evident than in Blasted Heath. This is more about cool, reviving coastal air than brine and algae. You wouldn’t need to be a fan of aquatics to enjoy this, but you would need to like super fresh florals.

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Both fragrances wear pretty light with soft sillage and moderate longevity. Neither is to my taste but Blasted Heath is novel and it successfully captures the wilderness by the cliff edge as the waves crash into the rocks below.

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How do you feel about aquatic fragrances? Are there in the genre that you admire?

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Ostara by Penhaligon’s

The scent of spring…

 

Top notes: Clementine, Bergamot, Red Berries, Juniper, Spearmint, Blackcurrant Bud, Violet Leaf Absolute, Leafy Effects, Aldehydes

Middle notes: Hyacinth, Narcissus , Beeswax, Cyclamen, Ylang-Ylang, Hawthorn, Wisteria

Base notes: Vanilla, Benzoin, Musk, Amber, White Wood Effects

 

Ostara is the Goddess of spring and in Britain this season is synonymous with daffodils. Bright yellow, open-faced and standing tall, daffodils are the ultimate “happy flower”. They embody the qualities of joy, hope and optimism. For a long time I had a field of daffodils as my screensaver.

Superstar perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour was inspired to create Ostara by his childhood memories of the narcissus fields in Auvergne, France. I’d describe it as a green floral.

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Ostara wakes up cool and crisp with bight greens and just a touch of citrus. It echoes the fresh feeling of those early spring mornings, when the sun is shining but there’s still a bite in the air. In accordance with this, the fragrance has a touch of galbanum bitterness.

I know the scent of daffodils well and I must say Duchaufour has done a skilful job of capturing the aroma. To sniff Ostara is really to hold a big bunch of daffodils in your arms. The flowers mostly smell green and pollen-y and in Ostara you get that green, plant stem aroma along with stamens and dusty pollen.

You could break it down further but you just have to inhale it and you immediately think “daffodils” and “springtime”.

A montage starts rolling in my mind’s eye involving scampering bunny rabbits, birds nesting in budding trees and of course, rolling hills covered with a host of golden daffodils.

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As with many of Dauchaufour’s fragrances, it is a transparent composition with lots of light and air. More than likely as a result of the use aldehydes, Ostara has tremendous radiance.

The fact that it is photorealistic is perhaps what will attract some people and disappoint others.  I had hoped that Ostara would contain some of the earthy, cow pat richness of narcissus absolute, but that’s not the story here.  This is a fragrant ode to green shoots, brilliant sunshine and the buoyant feeling that comes with renewal.

If the scent of daffodils brings back happy childhood memories for you, then Ostara would make a great “emotional button” for whenever you want to recall those carefree days and the feelings connected with them.

 

Do you have a fragrance that sums up spring for you? 

 

 

 

 

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