MASHUP: families!!!

By Adrien Communier

Penhaligon’s is a British perfumery establishment if ever there were such a thing!  So when they launch something truly new, the crowd will sit up and listen. Penhaligon’s is as British as The Queen and just in case you are not aware, the brand has been creating fragrances since 1870 when William Penhaligon offered them from his barbers shop on Jermyn Street, London. Turkish baths were popular at the time and were certainly an inspiration for his initial journey. He started with Hammam Bouquet which followed on to many others including the bestselling Blenheim Bouquet which earned a royal warrant curtesy of the Duke of Marlborough. This accolade followed by one several years later in 1956, in fact,  a royal warrant by the Duke of Edinburgh for the manufacturing of toiletries, with the company being granted a second Royal Warrant in 1988, by the Princess of Wales.  So present day when niche fragrance houses are truly driving the world of perfume forward, it’s exciting to see a small yet established company throw down the gauntlet and introduce something quite unexpected, unique and fabulous to the world.

Let us introduce to you The Portraits Collection, Chapter 1 (more to follow in 2017)

What are the secrets of the British aristocracy? Are they as well behaved, courteous and polite as they seem to be? “Portraits” is a tribute to the English spirit; between establishment, humour and provocation, well this is what the brand told us.   Firstly the collection comes housed in exquisitely packaged boxes a collaboration with artist Kristjana Williams, landscapes filled with almost gothic and mythical creatures set within English woodlands. The four fragrances are not for the novice because they are unapologetic in their lush full bodied sexuality. For several years perfumes have been ..well shall we say…”non perfumes”. Sometimes they smell of the sea or a hot tar road, but however much they may be clever and stimulating how great do they really smell? And do we really want to smell of tar?  Or the other side of the trend  it has been almost impolite to truly smell like you are wearing any fragrance.  Light delicate perfumes that almost blend into the wearer evoking in theory an innocence, but don’t really dare to truly be seen.  Well thankfully we are now entering a time within niche fragrance of grown up rich smells and aromas. The flacons  are this time not the usual subtle bottle with ribbon trim so known but stunning glass containers with brass animal heads reminiscent of the kind of stuffed animal trophies planted on walls of most stately of manors! Penhaligon’s are really at the top of the game with this new collection and of course rule when creating fragrances that tell a story, so enjoy the story of these succulent perfumes below.



The Ladies

The Revenge of Lady Blanche
Represented by the Leopard, the Revenge of Lady Blanche woman is refined but powerful, strong without ever being boring.

Main notes: Powdery orris – Narcissus flower – Hyacinth


The Coveted Duchess Rose
The Duchess Rose woman is subtle. Just like the Fox, she is elusive. Furtive and impossible to catch.

Main notes: Mandarin – Rose – Musky Wood


The Gentlemen

The Tragedy of Lord George
Built on top of a golden stag, The Tragedy of Lord George man is masculine and elegant. Protective and powerful, he will never let you down.

Main notes: Brandy – Shaving soap – Tonka bean



Much Ado About The Duke
Just like a young wild hound, the Much Ado About The Duke man is full of surprises and all about contradiction.

Main notes: Peppery Rose – Gin – Leathery woods



However, if our words don’t make you smile, then why not see the script below that was read out at the presentation of the new fragrances as what have written  here at .Cent will never do it justice….enjoy!

My Lords, Ladies and Right Honorable Guests,

Please allow me to welcome you to Penhaligon’s, a Very British Affair. Your presence has been eagerly anticipated – at our townhouse here in the heart of London – as the sun gently rises over our majestic city, our domestic staff have been arduously at work for you, drawing baths, airing rooms, lighting fires and viciously beating carpets… preparing to enliven your senses.

In fact… by way of introduction – might I be permitted to familiarise you with our esteemed Portrait family?


The Patriarch, of course, Lord George. A man immortalised by his legacy. Masculine, elegant, full of panache (and hints of brandy) – powerful, rich and ever-welcoming. Seemingly the embodiment of aristocracy – he is honourable to a tee, embraced by all; and his fidelity to Queen and Country is resolute. His fidelity to Lady Blanche, on the other hand… But as he mutters into his shaving foam in the morning, ‘The flesh is weak…’ 

Expect to be intoxicated (as he will be, no doubt) when you meet in the smoky eaves of his study. His stag’s wit is warm, dry and salty – but as for his true feelings, well… Lord George maintains the secret to his station (and to his lasting marriage) is that a gentleman’s heart must never fully be divined…


Charmingly unpredictable, Lady Blanche is idolised by all society – born into money, married money, wants more money – she is the aristo-chic. At first encounter, fresh, fragrant, sweet and light – she is a floral narcotic, conjuring an English country garden’s hyacinth and – lest we forget – narcissus. And those perfect blooms almost mask her thorny sharpness beneath. A veritable gem – she sparkles, with hard corners.

Consider yourself warned therefore that her bite is worse than her bark – and Lord George should take note. Lady Blanche is the leopard of this house. Sleek, powerful and stealthy – perhaps with deadly intent…


Daughter of Lord George and Lady Blanche (and heir to all their fortune) the now Duchess Rose married Duke Nelson in the society wedding of the year – some say to escape the rigour of her parents’ watchful eye. You will immediately sense the purity and pedigree of her English rose – its petals still green, fresh and youthful – but as your acquaintance with her grows, there is much more to be discovered. An unexpected sensuality. A mandarin zest for life – brimming with juiciness and oriental vigour, and relaxing to a self-assured, confident and explosively sexy chypre. She is a mischievous fox – clever and capable of deceit whilst always pursuing opportunity. This pampered heiress has hidden depths and she intends to surprise…


Conforming to the pressures of his heritage (and pocket book) Duke Nelson snapped up London’s most coveted prize in the now Duchess Rose. Eccentric and uncommon, the Duke’s whimsical ambivalence animates society gossip (which is adamant that the marriage has yet to consummate…). A man of the arts, the Duke attracts both floral delicacy and rooted masculinity. An English hound – he is loyal to a fault but endlessly bounding after strangers. But flamboyancy isn’t a sin. He carries both an air of his wife’s peppery rose, and also the leathery woods of the hunt – all washed down with gin (as every gentleman should). The Duke is exotic, rich, ephemeral and decadent. Extravagant in his tastes and liminal in his inclination…

Portraits Collection, Chapter 1, will launch in all Penhaligon’s boutiques, concessions and online in September 2016 and are priced at £178 for 75ml.
Portraits Collection, Chapter 2, will launch in all Penhaligon’s boutiques, concessions and online in February 2017



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