August 29 2014

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9 posts tagged "Penhaligon’s"

A Gender-Bending Perfume You’ve Gotta Try


meadhamPenhaligon’s, the historic British perfume house, has scented the runway shows for London designers Meadham Kirchhoff for the past nine seasons, so a perfume collaboration was a natural next step. What isn’t so obvious, though, is the name: Tralala, unusual for even the perfume industry’s whimsical standards. Edward Meadham explains: “I woke up the morning after our Spring 2013 show, ‘A Cautionary Tale,’ and I just knew that we should call the perfume Tralala—I even could envisage exactly how it should look. I loved the name Tralala because it had no pretensions, no particular specific connotations. It just sounds sort of humorous and nonchalant but looks really good written. It has a nice rhythm to it.”

The design duo of Meadham and Benjamin Kirchhoff worked with famed nose Bertrand Duchaufour, inviting him into their studio so he could experience how they worked and what inspired them. Says Meadham: “We talked a lot with him about the smells and scents we like, the scents we have both worn, how we feel about perfume itself and how it’s an essential part of dressing.” The result is a heady, mysterious scent not for the retiring type, with notes that include whiskey, leather, saffron, and carnation. The masculine/feminine mix was intentional—the designers hope that the fragrance will appeal to both sexes: “When we thought about creating a fragrance, we wanted to produce something complex that wasn’t about [gender], but rather about a combination of opposing elements.” Explains Kirchhoff: “Tralala can and should be worn by everyone who likes it.”

$200; available May 1 at

An Eau That’s En Pointe


Sweat. Tears. Competition. Jealousy. Hair spray. Wood. Resin. Freshly steamed tutus. Toil. Strain. Tiger Balm. Serenity. These are the smells of the English National Ballet.

The British fragrance house Penhaligon’s set out to bottle not only the aromas found in old theaters and well-worn stages, but to capture the emotion of dance. Described as “a work of olfactory choreography,” Iris Prima was created from perfumer Alberto Morillas watching rehearsals and immersing himself in a world that doesn’t normally play out in front of the thick velvet curtain.

Top notes of pink pepper, bergamot, and green amber are like a fresh burst of energy (meant to represent a ballerina leaping across a stage), while a heart of iris absolute and sensuous jasmine provides strength and drama. A base of leather, vetiver, and benzoin brings an essence of masculinity (found in a pas de deux). And a hint of vanilla rounds out the fragrance and alludes to the warmth and comfort so many dancers find at the barre. Even better: You don’t have to wait in the wings to get a whiff—it launched just this week at Saks Fifth Avenue and on

In honor of the partnership between the company and the perfume brand, dancers try to put into words what ballet smells like to them in the video above.

Royal Scents


Penhaligon's VaaraPrince George Alexander Louis isn’t the only royal baby worthy of pomp and circumstance. While he might soon hold the keys to several castles and have access to the Crown Jewels, Vaara, the granddaughter of His Highness the Maharaja Gaj Singh II (former High Commissioner and member of Indian parliament), had a scent created and named in her honor. Developed, coincidentally enough, by British fragrance house Penhaligon’s, Vaara captures perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour’s olfactory experiences in Jodhpur (where His Highness ruled until his powers were abolished by the amendment to the Constitution of India in the seventies). This alluring blend captures the bustling markets, exotic flowers, and spices of the colorful city—opening with notes of quince, rosewater, and saffron. The floral heart is comprised of Moroccan Rose Absolute, Indian Magnolia, and iris (meant to represent the gardens of the Maharaja’s summer palace), and a base of honey, musk, and sandalwood provides the heat. We think this exotic eau is fit for a princess—big or small.

Available August 19 in select Saks Fifth Avenue stores and

Photo: Courtesy of Penhaligon’s

The Fab Five: The Nouveau Niche


With the onset of fall comes an influx of fragrances designed to woo you into sweater-wearing with a wealth of warm and cozy aromas (think: vanilla, musk, leather, woods, cinnamon, et al.). But the latest crop of scents from some of the perfumery industry’s niche stars might surprise you in their compositions. Predictably spring florals are given heady updates with new technologies and forward-thinking scent structures, while olfactory inspirations range from literature to the Ballets Russes; you gotta love the independent spirit. Here, we’ve picked our five favorites to get you through the season.

Orange Crush
L’Artisan Parfumeur Seville a l’Aube
While the French brand’s eaux are frequently inspired by travel, L’Artisan’s master perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour was taken with the book The Perfume Lover, a tale of romance and fragrance by Denyse Beaulieu, this time around. Set during holy week in Seville, Andalusia, it depicts incense burners imbuing the southern Spanish city with a spicy aroma that mingles with the sweetness of orange flower tree-lined streets. Duchaufour’s spritzable version, which includes top notes of tangy green sap and rare infusions of Luiseiri lavender that are reminiscent of more classic eau de cologne, is mixed with an intoxicating jasmine accord and beeswax for an incredibly rich, fresh-tinged finish.

Green Giant
Ineke Ruhland Hothouse Flower: Gardenia
After training at Quest International, a fragrance house that was ultimately acquired by Givaudan, the Canadian Dutch-born Ruhland set up her own perfume studio in San Francisco in 2006, where she launched an alphabetical-themed lineup of botanical-based scents. She’s now up to H, for which she has released Hothouse Flower: Gardenia. “It’s really hard to get a good gardenia,” says Ruhland, pointing out that absolutes of the white flower are often blends of tuberose with green notes, which she’s done here to perfection. “Mine is super green,” she professes of the galbanum, cypress, fig, and frankincense-spiked scent.

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The 411: Sarah Rotheram


British perfumery Penhaligon’s has always appealed to those with rather eccentric tastes—after all, its founder, William Penhaligon, dreamt up his first scent, Hammam Bouquet, after inhaling the steamy aromas of the Turkish baths in London in 1872. Today, the unblushing spirit of the brand is carried on by Sarah Rotheram, whose tastes fittingly err toward the delightfully quirky. After studying fashion textiles at university in the southwest of England, Rotheram moved to London and discovered her passion for “creative perfumery,” as she calls it, at luxury scent purveyor Molton Brown. In 2009, she landed at Penhaligon’s and quickly launched an impressive repertoire of scents that reimagine the past—Sartorial, for example, fuses together woods, leather, violet leaf, honey, and spices to evoke the illusion of a Savile Row tailor’s workroom, while the latest release, Juniper Sling, is spiked with gin, juniper, and amber as an atmospheric homage to London’s roaring twenties. A frequent traveler and antique collector, Rotheram’s good taste extends to perfume accessories as well, and she recently introduced crystal atomizers handmade in Italy and silver-plated fragrance solids to the Penhaligon’s collection. Here, we asked the scent expert to expound upon her latest beauty loves from home and away.

The Signature Scents: A Revolving Cast of Favorites

“I could write a very long list of my favorite fragrances, as there are so many I go back to. My fragrance of the moment is Hammam Bouquet from 1872. Fragrances just aren’t made like that anymore! On the weekends, it’s Tom of Finland by Etat Libre d’Orange. I have also become addicted to Batucada, a new launch from [Penhaligon's sister brand] L’Artisan Parfumeur. The fragrance is full of vibration, swinging between sensual, fun, fresh, salty, fruity, and always surprising. Then Chanel No. 5—I always find time to dab this on, most often before bed. It’s one of the fragrances my mother always wore and as soon as I smell it on my skin, I am close to her.”

Penhaligon’s Hammam Bouquet, $120,; Etat Libre d’Orange Tom of Findland, about $93,; L’Artisan Parfumeur Batucada, launching this month at; Chanel No. 5 Parfum, $285,

The Bottle Shop: Aedes de Venustas

“When I’m in New York, I must visit this little perfumery in the West village. The store is adorable, decadent, and every girl’s dream playground.”

Aedes de Venustas, 9 Christopher St., (212) 206-8674,

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