Immense; Penhaligon’s – A Rich British Heritage

By Edena Klimenti

I will never forget the first time I stumbled across the Penhailgon’s store in London’s famous Covent Garden. On a warm summers morning the air was thick and the atmosphere was lively; the streets were over-flowing with tourists and Londoner’s alike. As I strolled past all the beautiful and decadent boutiques, admiring each and every detail, an overpowering yet enchanting aroma slowly took over, attacking and consuming all of my senses. It was the aroma of rich, heady perfumery that was hypnotising; luring me directly to the front door of Penhaligon’s- an incredibly mesmerising perfume house. I spent my entire morning happily admiring the intricate detailing of each and every bottle. Every corner of the store had undeniably beautiful aesthetics, and the unforgettable aroma entirely consumed you, filling you with feelings of nostalgia and warmth.

Picture a busy and vibrant street in London, 1870. Jermyn Street to be precise. This is where William Penhaligon opened the first Penhaligon’s store; originally a hairdressing salon selling colognes and perfumes. William was later named ‘Barber and Perfumer to the Royal Court’ under Queen Victoria’s reign. The beautiful rich heritage of Penhaligon’s comes from it’s long history of creating intricate and widely appreciated fragrances, telling stories with each aroma. Initially inspired by the aroma of Turkish Baths, this led Williams to create two of the most famous Penhaligon’s perfumes to date, Hammam Bouquet and Blenheim Bouquet.

Screen Shot 2017-09-06 at 12.51.09Penhaligon’s 1970

A marriage between British heritage and modern perfumery is what keeps Penhaligon’s authenticity alive. In order to continue this beautiful and rich heritage, Penhaligon’s Portraits characters are used to highlight the history of the brand, constantly reminding us that the perfumes were always as enchanting as they are now.


‘Lord George is a wealthy and respected man, the archetypal patriarch. He seems to embody the noblest values of the aristocracy: virtue, respect, loyalty and faithfulness.’


‘A darling of London Society, and one of the most influential ladies in Britain. Her aloof beauty, mysterious past and blazing passions are scrutinised by all from shop-girls to Royalty. She would do anything to climb the social ladder still further. Her latest scheme is to poison her husband, Lord George, inheriting his wealth and burying his secrets for ever! Her fragrance reflects her very essence: a green floral narcotic.’


‘Daughter of Lady Blanche and Lord George, Rose married a Duke to escape the stifling rigidity of her family and to become the Coveted Duchess Rose. At first, naively romantic, she has now become disillusioned and frustrated in an unsatisfactory marriage. Always looking for fun and frivolity (and perhaps love affairs), her fragrance is a not so innocent fresh rose.’

Penhaligon’s perfumes were originally crafted for the elite; the royal family, aristocrats and those at the top of the social ladders, which is why Penhaligon’s still reinforce the British affair within their fragrances, using characters of  ‘The Portraits Family’, one of their most popular ranges.

Screen Shot 2017-09-06 at 12.49.59                     The Portraits Family- Penhaligon’s


‘Conforming to the expectations of his class, Duke Nelson married the most coveted girl in London: the Duchess Rose. Yet the Duke is eccentric and unusual, his whimsical airs set society tongues wagging. Rumours abound that his marriage is yet to be consummated! His perfume is as ambivalent as he is: a floral yet masculine woody fragrance.’


‘Penhaligon’s presents to you the unofficial side of Lord George’s dynasty, beginning with – as we have come to know her – Clandestine Clara. And isn’t she a complex creature… A forceful personality, spicy but equally sweet, she has travelled in exotic countries and company – and in her smoky, velvety, woody air you may detect a memory (or three) of his Lordship… (One would certainly never guess the lady also smokes…). She is rebellious, contradictory, independent, unconventional – a woman ahead of her time. But above all, as you will discover, she is a true gourmand, completely delectable (and Lord George would know).’


‘Being secretly the son of Lord George and Clandestine Clara certainly explains Radcliff’s weakness for the flesh, but his illegitimacy may have its advantages. Unburdened by title or propriety, Radcliff indulges in fast cars and even faster women – his raison d’être parties and provocation. A prominent note with Roaring Radcliff is of course tobacco – strong, smoky and distinctive to his set. He also always carries with him gingerbread – adding its sweet spiciness to his father’s love of liquor – in Rutherford’s rum. Sexy and rebellious – what well-bred girl would not succumb to his charm? As he is wont to whisper in their inclining ears… The night is young…’

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The Portraits Family – Penhaligon’s 


‘A most ferocious matriarch, Countess Dorothea is known for her sharp mind, even sharper with and a secret fondness for the company of young me, scones and you could call it black-mail. When not holding court, dispensing intergenerational wisdom, checking in on household correspondence or playing cards, she can often be heard observing ”how terribly modern.” Indeed, modernity, is nothing if not the most tasteless of crimes.’


”’Our French friend” is how this unknown but over-familiar houseguest is typically introduced. His lingering gaze lets you know he’ll take things from here. Studiously ignored by the female members of the household- and not only because of the large gifts he receives from Lady Dorothea are a little de trop- he is always where you leas expect him, especially first thing in the morning and last thing at night.’


‘Ambitious, intelligent and astute, Sohan has worked diligently with flair and talent to establish himself in the world of affairs. His British friends find such things troublesome, but he has long understood that industry has value, Trade carries riches and everyone has a price.’ 


‘She is by all appearances soft and quiet. Yet at the same time she conducts herself with a rare force. Some, the less determined, would find her distant, maybe cold, but appearances are notoriously misleading.’

Coming soon is;


‘Fortune favours the brave, Mr. Harrod is the living proof. His is a flourishing business and a florid love life. His appeal is evident: to the numerous young ladies, Ladies, and along the way a few lasses. And like all real Gentlemen, he is most welcome wherever he goes. In the case of Lady Blanche, love’s power reinvigorated with time, as only absence knows how. The ‘If only…(sigh)’


Spicy Plum- Juicy Raspberry – Cinnamon Bark

Jasmine- Ambergris Accord- White Cedarwood

Patchouli & Cashemran – Oud Wood- Tobacco Absolu

Exclusively available at HARRODS, from September 2017

Step into the world of the mad and the daring, the weird and the wonderful with British style of perfumery. Celebrating the magnificent heritage of Penhaligon’s luxurious and decadent perfumes, a new and exciting bespoke programme at the new boutique in Harrods ‘Salon De Parfums.’


Entirely custom made, the thirty square metre boutique includes a feature Penhaligon’s Heritage wall, displaying original classic fragrance bottles, beautiful archival materials, mirrored infinity display boxes and refrigerators to house the raw ingredients and beverages, with a re-fill area for the trade routes and personalisation station for an over all mesmerising experience.

Penhaligon’s is known for their absolute desire to educate and provide consumers with the knowledge and beauty of perfumery, by helping each individual customer select perfumes that reflect their lifestyle, personality and aura.


An enchanting, semi-bespoke experience is offered at the Harrods ‘Salon de Parfum’ boutique, where customers are first introduced to the bases, used as a tribute to the archetypal structures of the main olfactory families; Woody, Amber, Oriental and Chypre. These are created by Fabrice Pellegrin and can also be used as beautiful stand alone perfumes. After selecting a base, customers are given the opportunity to personalise their scents, with four essence signatures, Rose Centefolia Absolute, Oud Wood Essence, Iris and Sandalwood; giving customers the chance to appreciate the perfume making process with a personal involvement. The fragrances are carefully and precisely formulated with the percentage of base to essence calibrated according to nuances of the notes. They are then bottled in the Harrods boutique, giving customers the chance to enjoy coffee, champagne or tea. As a finishing touch, customers are also given the oppertunity to personalise their bottles with a choice of 10 coloured bows- an iconic Penhaligon’s touch.

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Additionally, a fully bespoke experience is offered with one of the most respected noses in the industry, Alberto Morillas. This service is extended to the luxury minded customers; giving them access to an experience never before offered in a retail setting. Over the course of 8 months, the perfume making process will guide selected customers through an enchanting experience; allowing them to understand and appreciate the perfume making process. Continuing on it’s rich history, Penhaligon’s are offering this experience in order to allow customers to have a personal connection to their own perfumes.

Customers are initially invited to a meeting at the Harrods store. This is where the creative process begins and the magical journey starts. The customers detailed preferences are notes; followed by personal appointments at the Harrods store, or at a store of the customers choice. Penhaligon’s will assists and guide customers through the process of creating an enchanting perfume with Alberto Morallis, where a questionnaire will reveal a customers preferences. The submissions by Alberto Morillas will be revealed in a sequence of in-person meetings. After the bespoke perfumes are selected, they are delivered in a HAND-MADE marquetry box, custom designed and engraved crystal bottles by the British manufacturers ‘Silver Tree Crystal’, completing the magical perfume making process with the signature Penhaligon’s bottles.

These magical experiences are offered in celebration of the beautiful, rich heritage of the British perfume house Penhaligon’s – 147 years of quality services.

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