Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Penhaligon's The inimitable William Penhaligon: fragrance review

 Many of the original scents created by William Penhaligon were modernized and re-introduced as part of the Anthology Collection. The company maintains its commitment to fine, traditional perfume ingredients and techniques. The bottles for Penhaligon's scents are based on William Penhaligon's original design—clear glass and adorned with a ribbon.

pic via

This emblematic heritage is of course something most niche brands, even those proclaiming historical roots, cannot match. It was therefore expected that the company would sooner or later reference the patriarch himself. And so they did, with the newest fragrance, The Inimitable William Penhaligon.

With an above-average lasting power but a rather moderate sillage, the spicy-woody scent of The Inimitable William Penhaligon captures easily one's affections, as it's agreeable by most. For that reason it might seem a bit tame, for those expecting something flamboyant and domineering. Nevertheless, true to form, the scents of the aristocracy itself have never been very loud, as there is no raison d'être for them to be; their calling card is their, well, actual calling card.

The actual scent of The Inimitable William Penhaligon is well-mannered, sociable, milky with its lactonic heart of sandalwood and fig, and the more it stays on, the more pronounced this serene milkiness becomes. If I were to use one word it would be snugly. What I find most interesting is an unexpected green-milky slice in the middle, like that of a fig leaf erupting amidst the vetiver, with the sandalwood's soft qualities soon emerging over the greenness.

The company insists on calling it a vetiver scent, first and foremost, and the deep green liquid inside the bottle might indeed account for expectations of a bracing, pungent scent. But let me assure you this might ease its way into Vetivers for Vetiver-phobics effortlessly, as it lacks the dirty inclinations of vetiver oil and instead opts for a bright, bittersweet opening that quickly segues into the plush of the salon. There is also no discernible incense for the incense-phobics, so approach comfortably, as if you were to be greeted into a cedarwood-clad boutique. Mellow, soft, and silky, really.

Comfortable, sweetish on the drydown, and warm, The Inimitable William Penhaligon could easily be snatched out of the hands of your beloved man and sprayed with gusto onto yourself, dear female reader. Yes, most brands advertise as unisex these days, but it's not always the case; this one is effortlessly borrowed by either sex and projects quite classy at all times.

Related reading on PerfumeShrine: 

Penhaligon's fragrances reviews & news

Lactonic scents: what does it even mean?

Perfumery Material Fig: Between Green Woody and Succulent

Top Vetiver Fragrances

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Fragrant Poetry: The Cinnamon Peeler

The Cinnamon Peeler 

If I were a cinnamon peeler
I would ride your bed
and leave the yellow bark dust
on your pillow.

Your breasts and shoulders would reek
you could never walk through markets
without the profession of my fingers
floating over you. 

The blind would
stumble certain of whom they approached
though you might bathe
under the rain gutters, monsoon.

Here on the upper thigh
at this smooth pasture
neighbour to your hair
or the crease
that cuts your back. This ankle.

You will be known among strangers
as the cinnamon peeler's wife.

I could hardly glance at you 
before marriage
never touch you
- your keen nosed mother, your rough brothers.

I buried my hands
in saffron, disguised them
over smoking tar,
helped the honey gatherers...

When we swam once
I touched you in the water
and our bodies remained free,
you could hold me and be blind of smell.

You climbed the bank and said
this is how you touch other women
the grass cutter's wife, the lime burner's daughter.

And you searched your arms
for the missing perfume
and knew
what good is it
to be the lime burner's daughter
left with no trace
as if not spoken to in the act of love
as if wounded without the pleasure of a scar.

You touched
your belly to my hands
in the dry air and said
I am the cinnamon
peeler's wife.  Smell me.

~Michael Ondaatje

A few lovely fragrances with detectable cinnamon...
 1 Million (Paco Rabanne)
Bronze (Nanadebary)
Cinnabar (Estee Lauder)
Classique (Jean Paul Gaultier)
Dioressence (Dior)
Dolce Vita (Dior)
L'Eau (Diptyque) 
Egoiste (Chanel)
Euphoria Liquid Gold (Calvin Klein) 
Just Cavalli Her (Cavalli)
L de Lolita Lempicka (Lolita Lempicka)
London for Men (Burberry) 
Obsession for men (Calvin Klein)
Organza Indecence (Givenchy)
Rousse (Serge Lutens)
Spicebomb (Viktor & Rolf)

Monday, May 3, 2021

Baruti Nooud: fragrance review

 Nooud started with the spermatic idea by Spyros Drosopoulos, creative force behind the Dutch-based Baruti niche brand, of getting inside the construction of oud bases, used widely in the perfume industry these days, and searching for his own formula, his own truth. In this journey he stumbled upon the notion of nude, of skin, of bareness; and so from oud and nude evolved...Nooud!


If it also suggests there is no actual oud in it, it's because there isn't. Hence the magic of the illusion.

The Nooud fragrance remains the brand's best-seller, which is understandable, due to the wide demand for sensuous oriental scents for niche audiences all over the world nowadays. It feels like it's full of ambrette, or the musky odorants in its core at least, and it's truly compelling, poised between attractively bitterish botanical and skin-warm indulgent like the finest suede. 

Although aimed at those who would be welcoming the idea of an oudh, burning Bakhour, I can definitely recommend it to people who love unsweetened musks. I can very well see how it's the best-seller!

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Kenzo Parfum d'Ete: fragrance review & reminiscences

The first encounter I had with this unique ethereal green floral fragrance was with its predecessor in the misty glass and plastic bottle with the huge dew drop on the leaf that served as cap. The 1992 Parfum d'été

It was an eventful summer for me, with lots of glorious escapades that marked my youth, and the company of this delicate green jasmine that sang on the verdant throes of lily of the valley was the perfect embodiment of that carefree summery disposition which remains a wonderful memory. Back then, all I knew about Kenzo was that he was a Far Eastern designer who resided in Paris. And the fragrance in my mind seemed to embody both ends of the spectrum, being light and cerebral, like I imagined the Japanese to be, judging by their elaborate tea ceremony, and at the same time insidiously sensuous and subtly sexy in a carefree way, in the way models on the French Elle magazine spreads used to sprawl under the sun in the French countryside; I used to devour those magazines. Alongside Kenzo Homme, a revolutionary aquatic for men with an algae-woody backdrop, for a long time these two represented the new fresh breath of air that the Far East blew into the perfume scene, for me.  

Enter 10 years later and the 2002 edition of Parfum d'été substituted my lovely bottle with a more architectural, sparser design. At first, I was afraid that the repackaging was worse, and therefore the experience would be tarnished as well (though reformulations were not as big, nor as well known as nowadays, but the aesthetic was part of why the first edition had caught my eye in the first place). Thankfully I was soon proven wrong. The spicy green top note remains, as if a drop of galbanum had been dropped into a giant vat of lily of the valley materials with a side helping of my beloved hyacinth; cool, dewy, and sharp at first, delicate and whispering later on with musk remaining on the skin for a long time, though subtly perceptible. 

As fresh as tomorrow! If only we could graft this mood onto ourselves as well, sometimes...

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