tijon

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Penhaligon's Vaara: fragrance review & free perfume atomiser giveaway

Had I been blindfolded while testing the latest Penhaligon's fragrance, Vaara, I would have immediately proclaimed "Bertrand Duchaufour" upon released and that wouldn't be in some erotic rapture 50 Shades of Grey perfume style, but in familiar recognition of the perfumer's patte all over the perfume. Is this a bad thing? Read on please, dear reader.

Duchaufour, like Jean Claude Ellena, moves his accords and ideas around, exploring them, revisiting, pushing them to their natural and unnatural limits all the time; on one level, the hallmark of a true artist. Whereas Ellena has the luxury of doing it within the context of one company, since his in-house tenure at Hermès, Duchaufour seems at the flummox of some orgasmic productivity; to map out the sheer volume of the man's creations in the last 5 years alone would take a considerable effort worthy of an ultra-conscientious librarian. And whereas some of them are questionable in their repercussions, the end result is usually what we perfume aficionados refer to -favorably- as a "transparent oriental perfume", namely a composition that can't be faulted for being too thick or dense to be wearable under the most casual of moods, nor the most refined of occasions.

Vaara by Penhaligon's is one such thing, a very deftly aerated meringue of a scent, uniting a lightly gourmand scent impression with rose, like a loukoum nugget. A moutwatering effect which has prompted originaldeftdom on Fragrantica to liken Duchaufour to Heston Blumenthal. Of course Duchaufour is no stranger to this alliance of true minds: rose and saffron is a classic Middle-Eastern and Indian combination (rose is making a comeback as a perfume note of late anyway) and the well-known perfumer has explored the lightly suede/leather-smelling facets of the precious stamens when used with rose in both Traversée du Bosphore for L'Artisan Parfumeur as well as in Mohur by Neela Vermeire Creations previously. (It is important to note that this is an interpretation far removed from the mossy-chypre and more aggressive Agent Provocateur eau de parfum which also explores the accord of saffron & rose).
Indeed many of the official notes are, if not the same, then quite close in all three compositions by the sleight-handed Bertrand (for instance the carrot seed note, referenced in Mohur too reflects the iris, ambrette is a kind of musk, the edible, lightly fruity çay note from Traversée gets a quince jelly treatment here, quince being close to apple and so on...). At least the geographical direction points the compass consistently to the East; near or far, it doesn't matter much to the Parisian and the Londoner who flock to buy Duchaufour's creations. Of course the press release goes on and on about the travels that Duchaufour has gone to, to get inspired by India in all its glory. (At this rate, he must know the area like the palm of his hand by now!)

the quirky Bertrand and the suave Maharaja (don't you just love the turquoise jacket)

The name Vaara means both "blessing" and "breeze" and stands for the granddaughter of His Highness Maharaja Gaj Singh II; the perfume was commissioned to celebrate her birth and the family’s love for the city of Jodhpur and was inspired by the Royal House of Marwar-Jodhpur in Rajasthan, India. For the launch, earlier in July, the Penhaligon's boutique in London was filled with images of Jodpur to mirror the chronology of the journey, the fragrance profiling room turned into a Rajasthani spice market with drawings from perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour’s notebook, photos taken at the market and the raw ingredients of Vaara.

The quince and coriander are the dominant allies to the rose-saffron accord in Penhaligion's Vaara scent and enhance it without drowning it. The lightly sweetish message after the top note has dissipated, warm and skin-scent-like is quite delicious with no screech from the flower notes (peony and freesia, two synthetically recreated "notes" are often a culprit).

Vaara despite the repetition of themes and the cliché exotic promo isn't just bon pour l'Orient. It's bon, period.

Notes for Vaara by Penhaligon's:
Top: quince, rose water, carrot seeds, coriander seed and saffron.
Heart: Moroccan rose absolute, Bulgarian rose oil, freesia, Indian magnolia, iris and peony
Base: honey, white musk, cedarwood, sandalwood, benzoin resin and tonka bean.

Available at Penhaligon's boutiques and online at 85 GBP for 50ml/1.7oz of Eau de Parfum, 120 GBP for 100ml/3.4oz.

  For our readers, I have a generous and sleek travel atomiser of Penhaligon's Vaara for one lucky winner. Draw is open internationally till Friday 27th midnight. Winner to be announced in the weekend. Enter a comment to be eligible.

Related reading on Perfume Shrine: Leather scents, Best Rose fragrances & scented delights, Bertrand Duchaufour perfumes.

In the interests of disclosure, I was sent the sample for reviewing purposes by the company.


102 comments:

  1. Sounds great, would love to try it :))

    ReplyDelete
  2. Bertrand Duchaufour indeed has become quite a conoisseur of creating scents relating to India abd the greatest thing is every scent is completely different and gorgeous! Vaara seems to be quite regal and I cannot wait to try Penhalogon ´s latest offering. Great collaboration, indeed. Thank you for the draw!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Belle12:25

    Thank you for the draw, Elena! I've heard that Penhaligon's recent releases haven't been so great, but this seems to be an exception (:

    ReplyDelete
  4. Jackie b12:33

    This sounds amazing...Bertrand Duchaufour, rose, non screechy florals. Tick all.
    Would love to sample this!
    Thank you,
    Jackie b

    ReplyDelete
  5. I have to be honest and tell you I haven't smelt a Penhaligon scent for a long long time, not since I was about 12 and my godmother gave me a sample gift set in a tin. I found them recently and have to say I find them too floral, and dare I say it 'mumsy'.

    I have not visited a store or tested any Penhaligon perfume for a very long time. I tend to favour the more modern niche brands such as Le Labo and Byredo... but your article really sells it well. The idea of suede, leather, saffron and rose had me! I would absolutely love to try this scent, perhaps it might give me some olfactory inspiration for my new perfume brand La Rochetaz. When I have samples prepared i'll be sure to send to you.

    Thanks for such a wonderful and insightful website by the way!

    Florence

    ReplyDelete
  6. This sounds interesting, and I tend to be a fan of Duchaufour's work. Also, I'm glad to see rose making a resurgence as a modern note, as I've just come to truly appreciate it myself.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thank you for the draw! Vaara sounds so interesting, esp. keeping in mind it's Duchaufour's creation!

    ReplyDelete
  8. This perfume sounds right up my street!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Would love to try this scent, please add me to the drawing! Carrot seed? never tryed that sounds interesting.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'm a big fan of Duchaufour's work, rose and spice lover that I am. I would love to try this, thanks for the chance!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thank you for the draw, this sounds really interesting!

    ReplyDelete
  12. This sounds wonderful! I'd love to give it a try! Please enter me in the draw!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Elia14:30

    Interesting concept. I'd like to try it.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I have read some wonderful reviews for this fragrance, and I would be happy if I was selected for this drawing.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Quince flowers have the most divine color, and fortunately they grow abundantly in my area...just as a side note. But any scent that has a touch of leather is on my list to try so it would be wonderful to win this draw. As always, waiting expectantly ! JW

    ReplyDelete
  16. leathermountain14:59

    All of these rose-and-saffron combos sound intriguing. Thanks for entering me in the draw

    ReplyDelete
  17. Thank you for the chance and for doing it internationally. I like the story behind this scent. What a luxurious way to celebrate a child.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Isayah15:07

    Smelling a new Duchaufour is always a thrill. How lucky we are!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Fernando15:30

    Duchafour moves too fast for me, I'm way behind in trying his stuff. This one, as usual with him, sounds wonderful.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Many of the blogs are talking about this today and you all made it sound very tempting. Thanks for the chance to sample!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Erik16:01

    I love the work of Bertrand Duchaufour. I especially like the Neela Vermeire perfumes (also inspired on India). I would love to try this one. The review sounds so wonderful!!!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Oh please add me to the draw. I admit I have been attracted to this scent ever since I read of the use of a quince note, a note that I think is criminally underutilized in perfumes.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I am somewhat puzzled by the whole commission story. How does a Maharajah commission a perfumer to create something for a private company? There is a big contradiction in there which makes me think that the whole story is a promo devised by Penhaligon's and the Maharajah could be somewhat less than the rich royalty we imagine him to be.

    ReplyDelete
  24. These are some interesting notes in this fragrance. Has me very curious and wanting to try it out.

    ReplyDelete
  25. After re-reading the article, I think I misunderstood the leather note reference. Right? This particular scent does not have the leather, but others by the same person do.?. Sorry. But, I'd still like to sample it!

    ReplyDelete
  26. interested to try this...the melange of notes wouldn't have appealed to me without your commentary on them, and i'm curious to see if i like the idea of a "transparent oriental".

    ReplyDelete
  27. Heather F18:12

    This scent sounds fabulous, thanks very much for the draw!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Carrot seed?! Sounds so intriguing; would love to enter the draw. :)

    ReplyDelete
  29. Yes put me in the drawing.

    ReplyDelete
  30. solanace19:00

    This man is such an workaholic! And I'm fine with it, since i tend to enjoy his creations.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Mary K19:35

    This sounds interesting and very beautiful. Please enter me in the drawing. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  32. I love Mohur (actually own FB) and would love to try this!

    ReplyDelete
  33. Susan B20:22

    Always love reading your insights, Elena. Sounds like Vaara may be up my sensory street, and I'd like to enter your drawing.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Anonymous20:30

    As I love Bombay Bling and quite like Mohur, I am more than willing to try another interpretation of India. Please enter me into the draw.

    -- Lindaloo

    ReplyDelete
  35. Mimi G20:32

    Thanks for the draw Elena . Vaara sounds very lovely indeed.

    ReplyDelete
  36. sounds great, never imagined that carrot seeds or any seeds have a scent....
    Thanks, Radmila, rada76@Mail.ru

    ReplyDelete
  37. I would love to try this. Thank you for the prize draw!

    ReplyDelete
  38. Anonymous21:20

    okay, that sounds really nice! and what a lovely way to welcome a new soul into the world.

    would love to sample it! thanks for the draw.

    cheers,
    minette

    ReplyDelete
  39. Stephan22:41

    I love Indian inspired fragrances. Thanks for the draw.

    ReplyDelete
  40. oh my, that sounds like such a lovely scent.

    my favorite snack as a kid, quince paste and almonds have always made me partial to the smell of quince. I absolutely need to find this to smell as it follows my moroccan rose love.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Saffron may be one of my favorite notes in perfumery and one of my favorite cooking spices since it reminds me of my mother's saffron risotto in the winter. I would definitely love to try this. Thanks so much for the opportunity.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Anything and everything with rose is good for me. Thanks for the draw.

    ReplyDelete
  43. I would love to try this. It sounds more interesting than beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Sounds great. I'd love to try it. Thanks for the draw.

    ReplyDelete
  45. ElizabethC01:03

    Huge fan of his fragrances. Please enter me in the drawing. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  46. Rednails01:35

    Not the biggest Duchaufour fan but THIS sounds interesting --a transparent Oriental with rose. Fun! Please enter me in the draw.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Amy K01:52

    I love transparent orientals like Traversee du Bosphore, so I'm really excited to try this one! Thanks for the drawing.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Miss Heliotrope02:23

    How does he use scent to represent the poverty & social problems India is currently facing?

    ReplyDelete
  49. Thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to try this fascinating scent!
    Jean Yates

    ReplyDelete
  50. What a wonderful drawing. Thank you! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  51. As I'm a big BD fan would love to try this, thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  52. marierio04:20

    I love all the notes listed for this one! I'm excited to try it!

    ReplyDelete
  53. They had me at saffron! This sounds heavenly!

    ReplyDelete
  54. Huge fan of Duchaufour, huge fan of India-inspired scents, would LOVE to try this. Thank you for the opportunity!

    ReplyDelete
  55. Sounds wonderful and would love to try this.

    ReplyDelete
  56. spankysparkle07:02

    I'm anxious to smell this combination of so many notes I love. Sounds wonderful to me.

    ReplyDelete
  57. Anonymous07:41

    I have smelt this, but only on one of the charming little scented bows that Penhaligons leaves in a basket outside their shop (my husband works nearby, and often brings a bow home for me).

    It reminds me a little of Ormonde Jayne's Ta'if, but without the spritz of pink pepper. However, as this was just a wisp on a ribbon, I would love to have a go at the real thing!

    Jillie

    ReplyDelete
  58. I've tried the three Duchaufour's for Neela Vemeire and now I can't wait to know how this one smells!
    Thanks for the draw.

    ReplyDelete
  59. Timbuktu was my first niche perfume and the beginning of a love affair with perfume, period. And the fact that it is a Duchaufour creation deeply influenced my approach. Now I have many more "perfume gurus" but Bertrand remains.

    ReplyDelete
  60. Anonymous08:39

    I have loved the various Penhaligons since the 80's when I travelled to London a lot.

    I can't wait to try this one!

    ReplyDelete
  61. Calliope09:06

    Thank you for hosting the draw, would love to participate.
    You make it sound very pretty and with so many lovely references in the notes I think I will love it. Thanks for the great blog!

    ReplyDelete
  62. How true...what a blessing a breeze can be!

    ReplyDelete
  63. Mouthwatering review. I must get my hands on a few drops soon. Sounds like it's right up my alley!

    ReplyDelete
  64. I love Bertrand's creations. This one sounds very interesting! I cannot wait to try it! Thanks for the draw!

    ReplyDelete
  65. That pic is priceless! Would love to sample this one :)

    ReplyDelete
  66. ah, more Indian perfumes. I love Trayee, one of Duchafour's creations, but not Mohur. I'll be very interested to try this one. It sounds lovely.

    ReplyDelete
  67. Veni from Prague12:17

    Me, me, me!!! Please draw my name, dear automat, and send the Vaara sample my way, dear Elena!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  68. Sounds interesting - would love to try it.

    ReplyDelete
  69. Penhaligon is a very exclusive brand, here we have a Penhaligon boutique.

    ReplyDelete
  70. Merlin12:42

    Count me in: it sounds wonderful!

    ReplyDelete
  71. kathybirdtribe12:44

    I was in London last weekend and was fotunate enough to try this... delicious, somewhat serious, the masculine side of empowering feminine. Loved the saffron accord. I was intrigued as I had recently smelt the Jo Malone Saffron and Vaara in my opinion is so much more on so many levels, depth, integrity, olfactory joyousness! I would be so so happy to be considered for this giveaway felt happy centered and desired all the way the way through dry down an beyond. wonderful fragrance.

    ReplyDelete
  72. this sounds like my kind of scent! i love duchaufour's work and would cherish the chance to be able to try vaara :) thanks and cheers for your ever-amazing blog!

    ReplyDelete
  73. MissK14:21

    I'd love to try this - I have quite a few Duchaufour favorites, Traversee is among them. Thank you for the great giveaway!

    ReplyDelete
  74. I have tried very few Penhaligons scents. When I think of them I always think of something too prissy and reserved...for no good reason really. I would love the chance to change my mind with this one. Please include me in the draw!

    ReplyDelete
  75. If this is anywhere near the fabulous-ness of Satorial, I'm in love

    ReplyDelete
  76. Irina16:41

    would love to be able to try it
    love Mohur but not TDB, so I'm intrested to sample another facet of Duchaufour's orientals
    thanks for the draw

    ReplyDelete
  77. Cheryl A.16:48

    Inspired by India, created by Duchaufour, beautiful notes that create beautiful images...

    Thank you for the opportunity.

    ReplyDelete
  78. Ellen16:54

    I love Mohur and other Indian inspired scents. I'd love to smell these two side by side. Duchaufour can be wonderful and I really love many of his creations. Thanks for the draw.

    ReplyDelete
  79. Isobel H. T.16:56

    I would love to try this perfume! Please enter me in the draw!

    ReplyDelete
  80. I'd love to smell this. please enter me in the draw.

    ReplyDelete
  81. A mouthwatering effect? Sounds interesting! Thanks for the giveaway!

    ReplyDelete
  82. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  83. I've been a fan since Amaranthine, and if his work for Neela Vermeire is any indication, I should love this one as well. Would love a chance to win - Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  84. That sounds amazing! I can't wait to try it out. (now to find some time to visit a Penhaligon store this weekend...)

    ReplyDelete
  85. poodletwins23:28

    I'd love to be entered into the draw. Some of Duchafour's other creations such as Mohur and Seville au L'Aube intrigue me-so naturally this does too. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  86. Glannys01:28

    Can I still take pat in this draw? I would love to try this perfume. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  87. Please count me in for the giveaway. :) I was just looking Vaara
    Eau de Parfum up on LuckyScent yesterday. I sometimes go through fragrance information spirals and end up not knowing how I ended up there, but the journey is always fun.

    ReplyDelete
  88. Holly F.03:20

    Sounds gorgeous. Thanks for the opportunity!

    ReplyDelete
  89. Crystal Sell03:35

    I've been reading every review I can find of this perfume and I would really like to try it! Thank you for the chance!
    sellcrystal2 at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  90. Please enter me in the draw, I am so excited for this newie bringing many of my favourite things together in fragrance.
    Portia xx

    ReplyDelete
  91. Please enter me in the draw, I am so excited for this newie bringing many of my favourite things together in fragrance.
    Portia xx

    ReplyDelete
  92. I hope I have made it for the draw as I am on holidays with minimum Internet access! Anyhow if not, I will just take the chance to wish everyone happy holidays, especially to those visiting the beautiful Greek islans like myself :)

    ReplyDelete
  93. Generous, so generous - thank you!
    I hope I could try this because I am really into loukoum fragrances - Traversee du Bosphore, all three Loukhums by Keiko Mecheri, Rahat Loukoum by Serge Lutens...
    But I actually do not like to eat loukoum (a.k.a. Turkish delight)- sticky and toothaching, no, thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  94. Anonymous17:54

    Very exciting, thank you for the draw
    Phanie

    ReplyDelete
  95. Quince? Corianader? Lovely!
    Please include me in the draw.
    Thank you!
    Andrea

    ReplyDelete
  96. Anonymous00:25

    How wonderful to be in this draw. The perfume sounds exotic and I would love to wear it at dinner on my birthday, August 18, at the Bengal Room in the Empres Hotel in Victoria, BC. (Canada.) Their cyrrey buffet is marvleous and the old world charm of the hotel always pleasing.

    ReplyDelete
  97. Valerie13:17

    What a beautiful way to celebrate the birth of a baby girl.
    This fragrance encompasses the exotic beauty of India and all the aromas that make it so!
    I would love to try it.

    ReplyDelete
  98. Anonymous03:53

    Great review, this scent sounds lovely!

    ReplyDelete
  99. Vaara...the blessed breeze is an understatement. I walked thru Saks and on an handkerchief was this scent, iit is a mental orgasm in a bottle. I look forward to wearing this delicate scent.

    ReplyDelete
  100. Vonja,

    glad you enjoyed it so much!
    I have a bit of deja vu with it, because I have loved some of the perfumer's previous works (as mentioned), but I agree it's an accomplished fragrance that is sure to make fans all over the world. (It should be lovely on a kerchief, should try that!)

    ReplyDelete
  101. I have never won anything, so would be love to win this!

    ReplyDelete
  102. I would love to be considered for this draw. This fragrance sounds very interesting.

    ReplyDelete

Type your comment in the box, choose the Profile option you prefer from the drop down menu below the text box (Anonymous is fine if you don't want the other options) and hit Publish! And you're set!

Blog Widget by LinkWithin