National Fragrance Week: Penhaligon’s

National Fragrance Week: Penhaligon’s

Penhaligon’s always seems to me to be the ultimate British perfumery, although it is now owned by Spanish parent company Puig, with many other fragrance lines. Penhaligon’s long history since its founding in England in 1870, its Royal Warrants from the Duke of Edinburgh and the late Diana, Princess of Wales, its Cornish name, and its whole aesthetic just feel very British to this non-Brit. I own a few of their fragrances, and have visited their charming shop in the Burlington Arcade in London (where there are several other fragrance boutiques, such as By Kilian and Editions Frederic Malle).

I own their Bluebell, said to be Diana’s favorite, Lily of the Valley (because I love all things muguet), Blasted Bloom, Ostara, and a new bottle of Equinox Bloom, which I am waiting to open until the weather is warmer. Perfumer Olivier Cresp says this about his creation Equinox Bloom:

During one of my recent visits to London, I enjoyed an incredible brunch in a smart, refined place, where the magnificent atmosphere of the rooms, furnished with opulent floral compositions, ensnared my senses almost at once. While admiring the floral scenery, my brunch included delightful toasts topped with honey and marmalade and these gourmand facets inspired me to bring to Equinox Bloom a trendy, modern inflexion to the generous floral bouquet.

I had a similar tea with my daughters in London last year, on the grounds of Kensington Palace, at The Orangery.

Afternoon tea setting with cakes at Kensington Palace, The Orangery, London

Tea at Kensington Palace, The Orangery; photo from

I highly recommend it, especially if you sit outside on the terrace on a sunny day!

Outdoor terrace at The Orangery, Kensington Palace, London

The Orangery at Kensington Palace; photo from

I also have one of their gift coffrets which they issue yearly at Christmastime; the five tiny miniature bottles are adorable. My set includes Empressa, Iris Prima, Vaara, Juniper Sling, and Artemisia.

GIft coffret of five Penhaligon's miniature fragrances

Penhaligon’s gift coffret; image from

Can you tell that I like this fragrance house very much? I do, I do, I do.

National Fragrance Week: Papillon Perfumery

National Fragrance Week: Papillon Perfumery

I am so in awe of Papillon Perfumery, aka Papillon Artisan Perfumes, I don’t know quite what to say. It is another British, fine fragrance, independent perfumery. Its founder and creative perfumer, Liz Moores, seems like such an interesting person. I first heard of her line, and her, some years ago on a visit to London, not long after I first started obsessing over perfume. Of course I went to visit Les Senteurs, having read about it as a premier retailer of niche fragrances. I asked to see some rose-based fragrances, as I had been visiting rose gardens that week, and the sales associate pulled out Tobacco Rose. He explained that this was one of (at the time) three new fragrances by this independent perfumer named Liz Moores. He raved about their quality and also noted that Ms. Moores is a genuinely nice person. I left with a sample of Tobacco Rose, and it is gorgeous. There’s no tobacco note, but it is a smoky, resinous, balsamic rose. I don’t have a full bottle yet, but maybe some day … Here’s what its creator has said about it:

With this perfume I wanted to defy typical perceptions of rose fragrances. I think that Rose is a material that really divides people, often perceived as an outdated scent. Far from the typically feminine rose fragrances, Tobacco Rose is a dirtier, more rebellious rose, transcending its old-fashioned usage and creating the scent of an overblown rose at the point of decay.

I don’t get a sense of decay, but this is definitely not a fresh, dewy rose (I love those too). Now there are five Papillon fragrances. The full bottle of a Papillon perfume I DO have is the newest one, Dryad. Be still, my beating heart! Dryad is green, green, and more green. From the website:

As vibrant emerald Galbanum weaves with the delicate flesh of Bergamot, the nomadic wanderings of Dryad begin.

Beneath jade canopies, sweet-herbed Narcissus nestles with gilded Jonquil. Shadows of Apricot and Cedrat morph radiant greens to a soft golden glow.

Earthed within the ochre roots of Benzoin, heady Oakmoss entwines with deep Vetiver hues.

And at its heart, the slick skin of Costus beckons you further into the forest…

Yes, please, take me into this fantasy forest! I have tried two of the other Papillon fragrances in store, Salome and Anubis; while they are stunning, they’re not quite right for me. But I am so impressed by the quality and creativity of all these scents, and how selective Ms. Moores is being about her releases. The only one I haven’t tried is Angelique, a floral that may suit me better. Something to look forward to!


National Fragrance Week: Miller Harris

National Fragrance Week: Miller Harris

Another UK fragrance house I like very much is Miller Harris. British perfumer Lyn Harris founded Miller Harris in 2000. Before that she spent 5 years training in France at one of the highly prestigious schools of the perfume in Paris and then Robertet in Grasse. After selling her eponymous company, which still produces fragrances under the brand name Miller Harris, she started a new line, Perfumer H. The Perfume Society has a lovely summary of the founding of the Miller Harris line and its ongoing work: Miller Harris. I was able to visit the boutique in Covent Garden some time ago, which was a rainbow of color from various packages.


Miller Harris

I am the happy owner of two Miller Harris “travel sets”: Fragrance Friday: La Collection Voyage. I especially liked Terre d’Iris and La Pluie, but honestly, I haven’t yet tried a Miller Harris scent I disliked. I liked Tangerine Vert very much, but found it did not last well on my dry skin. Applying a “filter” like Maison Martin Margiela’s Replica Filter Glow was helpful, as was the application of a rich, fragrance-free cream. All in all, I’m delighted to have made the acquaintance of Miller Harris. If you enjoy fragrance lines like Penhaligon’s or Jo Malone, you’ll probably like Miller Harris.


Miller Harris

It’s National Fragrance Week!

It’s National Fragrance Week!

At least in the UK … I’m not asking too many questions, I’m just going to enjoy the designation of March 5-11 as National Fragrance Week, with its own website and everything! (The reason I know this one’s really for Brits is that it is supposed to be the week right before Mother’s Day next Sunday, and ours in the US isn’t until May).

So what does one do for National Fragrance Week? If you’re one of several English blogs about fragrance, you give things away! I Scent You A Day is giving away Avon fragrances, one targeted at men and one at women. It’s only for UK readers, though, so read rules carefully.

I feel as if I should join in the celebrations, even from across the Atlantic, so maybe I’ll review several UK fragrances this week. I’ll start by reposting this, about one of my favorite Penhaligon’s scents, especially fitting as the daffodils are in full bloom right now in my city: Fragrance Friday: Ostara. Penhaligon’s is a favorite brand of mine and VERY British. I also like Jo Malone scents, although they’re now owned by Estee Lauder, and the actual Jo Malone’s new line, Jo Loves.

Happy National Fragrance Week! How will you celebrate, in the UK or elsewhere?