Penhaligon's London Offers the Most Wonderful Array of Sensuous Scents!

I am always on the lookout for new fragrances to wear. I get so bored with the same scent every day.

So I was thrilled to discover Penhaligon's London, which offers an array of intriguing scents for both you and your home.

Penhaligon's is one of the few true perfume houses in the world, as they design and make their own scents and use "fine and rare ingredients, such as hand-squeezed oil of bergamot and jasmine oil at twice the price of gold."

And it shows with their fragrances. Their many, many fragrances of which I got to try.

Hammam Bouquet is alluring with lavender and bergamot, but calling out more strongly are amber, musk and sandalwood. It is sexy and slightly sweet with a bohemian vibe. Blenheim Bouquet, on the other hand, is remarkably fresh and citrusy, but not at all flimsy. This has got real strength to it.

Violetta reminds me of the violet gum of my youth and conjures up reading books on front lawns and heartily made swings from trees. It is a hard one to describe. Even Penhaligon's calls it "a constant surprise."

I didn't know what posies smelled like until Victorian Posy came my way and then it was the most familiar scent in the world. It smells like Victorian England and cups of tea surrounded by doilies, though the experts would explain it as Head Notes: Lemon, Orange, Hyacinth, Galbanum and Camomile - Heart Notes: Violet, Jasmine and Rose - and Base Notes: Amber, Sandalwood, Patchouli, Oakmoss and Vetiver.

Elizabethan Rose is less rosy than I'd expected, but not in a bad way. In fact, I think my teenage years filled with cheap tea rose perfume bestowed by well-meaning boyfriends has skewed my idea of what roses should smell like. Penhaligon's says, "Imagine a premier cru champagne, frothy and gorgeously light, fizzing, shot throught with heady rose scented bubbles." Much better than I could have done...

Lavandula (great name, isn't it?) is the craziest lavender perfume I've ever come across. The first whiff you think, "Ahh, this is lavender that I know and love," but then it surprises you with, of all things, white cinnamon, green basil and black pepper. It is a wild, but completely enjoyable ride. And like I said, I was looking for something different...

Bluebell smells like it sounds - clean, garden and blue flowers. It's as simple as that, but yet, as you'll see by Penhaligon's ingredients, it's a little more complicated than that.

Wow. I don't know what Ellenisia is, but I love it! It's floral and heady all at once. It is sweet, thanks to plum and vanilla, but gardenia petals, rose, tuberose and jasmine make it into a delicate bomb of seduction. Mmm!

And Artmisia has an alluring call too. It evaporates into a barely-there scent of honey, musk, jasmine tea and vanilla, yet lingers enough to cast its spell.

Lily of the Valley is one of those fragrances that seems achingly simple, yet is complex in its makeup. I like how Penhailgon's remarks that, "On some skins it develops a grassy hay-like quality, on others it is strikingly ‘white’, peppery and very elegant." On me, it's a little bit of both.

With the odd name Raquets Formula, I didn't know what to expect. Somehow the name fits as it smells of tennis courts after rain and bamboo furniture. Rose, ylang ylang and frankincense are blended along with a medley of other enticing ingredients to create this "quince-like" fragrance. As a food writer, I should have got that right away, but sometimes scents take you far away from where you are or should be. And that's just one of the great things about them.

The slight scent of leather and something I can't identify pulls me to Endymion. It smells slightly of my teenage boyfriends - youthful, exuberant and the gathering of experiences.

That's the smell I couldn't identify - hopeful.

"Created in 1998. Castile is a classic citrus shot through with the intoxicating thrill of neroli, one of the most recognisable ingredients in perfumery." It is one of the most recognisable, though I couldn't remember neroli to save my life - only that it smells of summer nights and romance and candles lit on the beach (though I have only been on a beach a handful of times, I know this to be true). This is one of those classic scents that you buy forever and never tire of. Yep, I could wear this one almost every day...

And one that I've never smelled before is Quercus. It has basil, cardamom, lemon and lime, so its no wonder I'm starting to feel like having a lemon roast chicken with olive tapenade couscous and cinnamoned carrots. This is heady, exotic stuff.

And speaking of exotic, Malabah is spicy and warm and slightly citrusy. It is absolutely enveloping. Watch heads turn with this one!

English Fern has clover and oakmoss in it, giving it a distinct green, smoky scent that smells of post-shower, soapy cleanliness that lasts all day long. Ahhh!

And if you like gin and tonics, I think you'll like Douro. It's smells like a forest or garden after the rain - floral, yet woodsy. It's a really intriguing scent that develops beautifully over time.

And this isn't even all of them.

If you want a large selection of the very best, most comprehensive fragrances, go to Penhilgon's London.

Stephanie Dickison

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