Penhaligon’s Language of Flowers

Love’s language may be talked with these
To work out choicest sentences,
No blossoms can be meeter
And, such being used in Eastern bowers
Young maids may wonder if the flowers
Or meanings be the sweeter.

ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING, 1806 – 1861 

 

With our ‘Step in to the Gardenissue of The Scented Letter Magazine hot off the press, and more of us craving the colours, textures and (of course) scents of flowers more than ever in these uncertain times… floral inspiration is springing up all over!

Penhaligon’s have published a fascinating guide to the ancient ‘Language of Flowers‘ – the hidden meanings attached to seemingly innocent blooms, and how these could be used to send secret messages that bypassed stringent social ettiquette in the past…

What’s more, Penhaligon’s are inviting you to construct your own virtual bouquet to send to someone special, and when you sign up to their Penhaligon’s Times newsletter, both you and your friend will receive a £10 gift voucher to enjoy.

 

 

The newsletter is always packed full of interesting scented snippets, and here is their explantion of that secret scented Language of Flowers, first printed in the Penhaligon’s Times:

‘What could be more pleasurable than receiving an unexpected bunch of flowers! A bunch of bluebells to brighten a day. Lily of the Valley to celebrate a lover’s return, or a simple rose to nurture a budding romance. How much more pleasurable may be if the flowers themselves carry a hidden meaning. From ancient times flowers have been symbolic. The Romans honoured their heroes with laurel wreaths and Greek mythology tells how many flowers were created.

Poets have always extolled the virtues of flowers, and since Elizabethan times have written on their meanings. But it was the Victorians who turned flower-giving into an art. Inspired by a book entitled Le Langage de Fleurs by Madame de la Tour, the Victorians practised the new floral code with the same dedication with which they built their cities and furnished their homes.

The choice of flower was all important, but so too was the manner of presentation. If the flowers were upside down the opposite meaning was intended. Thus tulips presented with their stems uppermost meant blatant rejection from a lover. If the ribbon was tied to the left, the meaning referred to the giver, if tied to the right, to the recipient. On the other hand, one could always respond by wearing the flower in different ways – on her heart of course meant love, but worn in the hair implied caution. Both are acceptable locations for a light mist of scent.’

 

 

So now, what will your virtual bouquet say in this secret Language of Flowers, we wonder…?

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Left it too late? Last-minute gift ideas

That moment of mounting panic when you suddenly realise… you’ve left it too late to present them with a gift! Uh-oh. But hey, it’s okay – whether you’ve dropped the ball for Valentines day, an anniversary, birthday or any special occasion you absolutely meant to remember: we have the scent solutions!

Here are some ideas that you can ‘gift’ your recipient with immediately, no postage required – simply write them a lovely card and explain you’ve treated them to one of the following (with fragrant swag to follow). If they love to smell great, we guarantee they’ll be delighted…

 

Simply tick the ‘this is a gift’ box and give 365 days of fabulous fragrant activities with our Perfume Society VIP Cub Subscription for only £25, and they’ll receive the following exclusive benefits:

•  Six issues a year of our online/downloadable digital magazine The Scented Letter – (virtually) the only publication in the world devoted to all things fragrant…

Exclusive competitions with fab fragrant prizes – including bottles signed by perfumers.

•  Early access to tickets for all our events – meet with leading ‘noses’ and key figures from the perfume world, attend in-store events, workshops, etc. (Our VIPs are first to hear about these.)

•  A special member’s discount on our Perfume Society Discovery Boxes (normally £19 – but £15 to our VIPs)

•  Plus choose a FREE Discovery Box when you sign up (so they’ll get an actual present to look forward to)

 

For people who love print (we must admit to being partial – for longer features, especially), give them a year of fragrant reading with a Scented Letter magazine Print Subscription for £75. This multi-award-winning publication has been described as a ‘must-read’ by industry insiders and perfume-lovers, so we are delighted that in addition to our digital magazine we can now offer this print subscription of The Scented Letter, delivered to your door and starting with the current edition. (For autumn 2017, we look at Fashion, Fabric + Fragrance.)

Appearing six times a year this utterly beautiful magazine, featuring at least 60 pages on perfume news, features and much more is bound to take you ever-deeper into the scented world. Click here for a sneak-peak at our taster issue!

In addition, we feature all the breaking scent news, interviews with ‘noses’ and other creators, alongside fragrant features by leading fragrance writers – from Thomas Dunckley (The Perfume Candy Boy) to Persolaise, via Viola Levy and our Senior Writer Suzy Nightingale. (If you’ve signed up as a subscriber, you will continue to receive access to the complimentary e-zine version.)

NB We are able to ship The Scented Letter overseas; please contact us for prices here

 


Who doesn’t like filling out some kind of personality questionaire? There are now a great selection of Scent-matching Personality Tests you can take for FREE online or in-store, so get them to do the quiz now and offer to buy a bottle later. Genius!

Molton Brown invite you to ‘Embark on an illuminating journey to discover the ideal match for your unique self.’ The profiling system, was created in tandem with trend forecasting and innovation agency The Future Laboratory, and you instinctively choose from a series of images, at the end of which you’ll discover which ‘psychological perfume profile’ you match. Everyone we know who’s tried it has found it an incredible experience, and it’s brilliant at selecting scents you may easily have overlooked yourself.

Penhaligon’s offer a visual feast to explore while answering simple questions, all illustrated in their delightfully quirky and so-iconic way, with prompts to choose between textures, places to visit and favourite thirst-quenchers. It’s fun and quick to answer the test, and somehow they really do expertly pinpoint your perfume personality type. At the end you’ll be presented with a selection of samples to choose from, which you can either purchase online or pop into a store to smell, before splashing out for a full bottle.

Experimental Perfume Club are brilliant at taking the worry out of picking a new perfume, and their recently launched LAYERS Lab in Selfridges features a fantastically acurate in-store app that allows you to create your own bespoke perfume! We wrote about the concept in more detail here, but basically, the LAYERS App asks questions before recommending 3 possible formulae. You can either choose from the selection or customise the fragrance further with the help of their Fragrance Curator. Once you choose your final blend, your unique fragrance is created in front of you. And, for the ultimate bespoke touch, you can choose a name for your fragrance and a personalised label for your 50ml bottle.

 

If they are really into perfume and want to learn more, we’re pretty sure they’d love to have a go at making their own on a Perfume Making Workshop. It really gives you an insight into how a perfumer works, and a new appreciation for their creations, and a number of courses offer differing experiences that make perfume perfume-lover’s gifts.

4160 Tuesdays offer a number of options for perfume lovers who want to go that step further and have a guided session of making their own, from an afternoon or full day workshops, right through to five day workshops for the really serious, and more technical courses for the more experienced and those who want to start their own house. They can travel to you if there’s a large enough group (great idea for a party), or you can visit their beautiful new studio in London.

Karen Gilbert is a perfumer who offers online workshops, live presentations and studio based courses for anyone interested in creating fine fragrances, natural perfumes or developing your own range of scented bath and body products. Signing up to her newsletter also gives you access to top tips on where to buy the best ingredients and materials you’ll need, and there are even free online taster sessions to get those creative juices flowing.

Cotswold Perfumery have been making perfume for over 50 years, run by chief perfumer John Stephens, who now invites the fragrance obsessed to indulge their passions in various courses and one-day workshops. Running throughout the year in a dedicated teaching room/laboratory at the Cotswold Perfumery in the beautiful village of Bourton-on-the-Water; ‘as well as learning the skills involved in developing and making your own perfume (to take home with you), you’ll get a unique insight into the life and work of John, one of only six independent perfumers in the UK.’

Whichever of these last-minute gift options you choose, it’s bound to be appriated by any perfume lover. Why not print out an I.O.U voucher to put in the card, as a reminder they will get an actual gift later on? Or you know, gussy up some lovely word to write in their card, add a bunch of flowers and put the date one week ahead in your diary for next year?

By Suzy Nightingale

Penhaligon’s fascinating fragrant history

Penhaligon’s are one of the most famous fragrance houses in the world, a proudly British brand with the most fascinating fragrant history…

Hot towels and steamily scented delights were the order of the day for customers flocking to the famous Piccadilly Turkish Baths on Jermyn Street and it was here that William Penhaligon started working as a hairdresser in the 1860s. Originally from Penzance, Cornwall, his shrewd eye for business led to him opening a rival salon just down the street a few years later. There, Penhaligon began creating his very own fragrances, lotions and potions for a most discerning clientele to enjoy.

1891 saw what was then ‘Penhaligon’s & Jeavons’ move to the even more prestigious premises of 33 St James Street and 66 Jermyn Street, with the two stores linked together at the rear. They announced to the press that not only were they the sole suppliers for the original Penhaligon’s ‘hit’ fragrance of Hammam Bouquet, but that both shops boasted a new- fangled invention of… electric lighting – still a novelty at this point in retail!

Clearly a whizz with the scissors and the scents, Penhaligon was appointed Royal Barber and Perfumer to the Royal Court during Queen Victoria’s reign and by 1903 his business was granted its first Royal Warrant from Queen Alexandra. Nearly a century and a half later, Penhaligon’s has added Royal Warrants from The Prince of Wales (granted in 1988) and the Duke of Edinburgh (granted in 1956) to their regal roll call.

140+ years old they may be, but that doesn’t mean the techniques they use are stuck in a time-warp. Penhaligon’s consistently make the most of the newest fragrance technology – from CO2 extraction to Nature Print Technology and beyond – promising that ‘each bottle contains a blend of the very old and very new.’ Those distinctive bottles tap into their history, too; clear glass and brightly coloured bow-ties adorning the stoppers are a direct echo of William’s original design.

Still made and produced in England, many of the original fragrances can still be found in the current collection, including Hamman Bouquet. Lately, however, Penhaligon’s have collaborated with some of the greats noses of modern times – including Bertrand Duchaufour, Olivia Giacobetti, Olivier Cresp and Alberto Morrillas.

Lately, a whole ‘family’ has been added to their already impressive stable of fragrances, the Penhaligon’s Portraits. Displaying more than a dash of exquisite eccentricity, we’re invited to get to know the characters, like The Ruthless Countess Dorothea, who is ‘A most ferocious matriarch, known for her sharp mind, even sharper wit and a secret fondness for the company of young men and scones.’ While described in mischievously historical tones, it’s a tingling, ginger-infused shot of oppulence on a cosy, slightly boozy base. And all the Portraits fragrances have their fingers on the button of contemporary fashions – much like the house of Penhaligon’s itself.

Penhaligon’s is a treasure trove of scents to discover – rich in both heritage and modern mischieviousness – and how many perfumeries still standing (and thriving) since the 1800’s can you think of? We love the way each boutique has its own distinct personality, too, with lavishly appointed interiors uniquely themed to suit each location.

Have you been to visit the newly re-vamped Penhaligon’s Wellington Street store in Covent Garden? We rather swooned over the decor (while sniffing out all the latest scents). Whichever boutique you visit, we’re sure you’ll love getting to know the entire ‘family’ of fragrances…

By Suzy Nightingale

A peek inside Penhaligon’s Covent Garden home

Penhaligon’s opened their very first boutique in London’s fashionable Jermyn Street in1872 and have since gone on to open locations spanning the globe – you can read all about their fascinating history on our page dedicated to Penhaligon’s.

Instead of merely reproducing the same look in each store, Penhaligon’s work with the history and location of each building, making sure to reflect differing aspects and using unique materials and interior decor for every single one. And now, we’re delighted to take a sneak peek into their newly refurbished home in Covent Garden’s Wellington Street...

And you know, it really is just like walking into a home – albeit that of a fragrance fanatic! – with rich, gleaming wood floors, fixtures and finishes, and a supremely elegant style to the architecture. The space feels airy, yet with enough intimacy to ccomfortably explore the scents arrayed on the walls and a magnificent central display table.

We think there’s a Gerogian-meets-contemporary vibe to the whole store – clean lines preventing clutter, and allowing the eye (and nose) to rest on everything there is to explore. And with the ever-gowing range of family members in the Penhaligon’s fragrance wardrobe, you can be sure there’s something fo all tastes – from the more modern scents of recent years in the Portraits collection, right through to the vintage archival fragrances they made their name by, and have made British perfumery famous for generations.

Many Penhaligon’s store offer private Fragrance Profiling appointments, including Wellignton Street, where you will be asked a series of questions to match you to the perfect scent – a service they now offer online, too, for those not able to get to boutique – something many couples like to experience for their wedding fragrances, or to find a great gift for a loved one or mark a special occasion.

We love visiting perfumeries who make an effort to dress their spaces differently – gone are the days when everyone wanted idetikit, could-be-anywhere boutiques; and it’s always lovely to have a relaxed atmosphere to soak up the scents, don’t you agree?

Penhaligon’s: 41 Wellington Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 7BN

By Suzy Nightingale

Penhaligon's Lily of the Valley perfume celebrates the Queen's Sapphire Jubilee

To commemorate the Queen’s Sapphire Jubilee year, Penhaligon’s have released an exquisite, highly limited edition version of their classic Lily of the Valley perfume. Only 65 of the crystal bottles have been produced – one to mark each year since the Queen’s accession to the throne in 1952.
The bows on every single bottle have been hand embroidered with a number, and the crystal bottle itself was created especially for Penhaligon’s by British manufacturer Silver Tree Crystal. A perfume fit for a Queen of course comes at a suitably rich price, but a percentage of the proceeds from this product will go towards QEST (the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust), the charity of the Royal Warrant Holders Association. QEST provides funds for the education of talented and aspiring craftspeople, thus sustaining traditional British craftsmanship.
Penhaligon’s Queen’s Sapphire Jubilee Lily of the Valley £650 for 225ml.
Available in select Penhaligon’s boutiques and concessions.
Too rich for your (non-blue) blood? You could always pick up a regular bottle of the beautiful original Lily of Valley, which is available for the more pocket-friendly price of £97.
Penhaligon’s say: ‘The sweetness of this soliflore is first of all one of character. With the gentility (of experience) and the innocence (of youth) here is a flower that hangs its bells coyly, that delicately shares its perfume. But a soliflore made from a fine orchestration of notes. The opening is as fresh as May and as optimistic as Spring, geranium brings composure and stature to this citrus. As this imagined and romanticised creamy white flower continues to open its petals, rose, ylang ylang and jasmine release their scent. And because discretion is a virtue; one could almost be unaware of the sandalwood and oakmoss that give Lily of the Valley a timeless and forever finale. Royal wedding posies have taken note.’
Written by Suzy Nightingale

The ultimate personalised perfume ­– via Penhaligon’s and Alberto Morillas

It isn’t every day you discover that one of the world’s most celebrated ‘noses’ is up for hire.
But Alberto Morillas – famed for fragrances like Bulgari Goldea, Calvin Klein ckone, Marc Jacobs Daisy,  Versace Bright Crystal and Yellow Diamond, winner of the coveted Prix François Coty and more, more, more – will now create you a signature scent, through a new service offered at Harrods Salon de Parfums. (Which has just been extended, on the Sixth Floor, offering new spaces including the Penhaligon’s boutique where we photographed Mr. Morillas recently.)
As a brand new venture, there’s currently no waiting list for Penhaligon’s Bespoke by Alberto Morillas – though our hunch is that will rapidly change. The downside? You will need £35,000 to spare. In think that in the grand scheme of things, that’s honestly not unreasonable; this is the equivalent of getting Rembrandt to paint your olfactory portrait. And no question there’ll be customers lining up for the service. Us? We’re buying extra EuroMillions tickets and keeping everything crossed.)
The process involves lengthy consultations with Penhaligon’s in-house fragrance expert, and a to-and-fro process which is likely to take eight to nine months. Not for the impatient, then. But at the end, the fragrance will be presented in two customised 200ml British cut crystal decanters, inside a luxuriously lacquered wood box – in case the perfume-lover is in any doubt about how exclusive an opportunity this is. (The decanters can be refilled at any time, with the recipe exclusive to the customer.)
Alberto Morillas and Penhaligon’s have form. Even before he began his career as a perfumer, Alberto Morillas was a fan of Blenheim Bouquet – indeed,  ‘Penhaligon’s perfumed my father, my grandfather. It’s a style of perfume that you don’t find anywhere else.’
Morillas created the sublime Iris Prima, and of the witty, characterful-in-every-way Penhaligon’s Portraits ‘family’, is responsible for The Tragedy of Lord George and the soon-to-be launched Mr. Beauregard (a cad of a chap, by all accounts, but he smells dashed good – all orris, lemon, pink pepper and resinous benzoin).
We were delighted to present Alberto Morillas with his own copy of The Scented Letter (he’s a new fan!) – and he also found time to share his five favourite smells with us…
1. Orange flower ‘Always my favourite because it reminds me of the house in Seville where I grew up.’
2. Rose There is such amazing variety in rose; some fresh, some musky, some like incense… It is the eternal sign of femininity, in the garden and in perfumery.
3. Tomatoes If I’ve been travelling somewhere – China, or the Far East – I love to come home and enjoy a tomato. For me it’s a combination of two things: the leaf – which smells so unique, so green, when you rub your fingers on it – and eating the flesh of the tomato. Is there anything nicer than the simple pleasure of enjoying a summer-ripe tomato, with a little salt…?
4. Patchouli This is a dream ingredient for a perfumer and I just love the smell – and its incredible versatility as an ingredient. You add it to moss, and it becomes a Chypre. You mix with jasmine, and you have a beautiful exotic floral.
5. Incense I grew up in a Catholic community and this is the smell of the cathedral in Seville. It makes me a little sad, but at the same time is a very peaceful and meditative smell. As a perfumer, quiet and peace is incredibly important to me. A very important part of the creative process for me is to sit and do nothing – just to think. I can spend hours simply thinking, creating in my head, staring at the sea or sitting in my garden. I take photographs of things that inspire me and I might scroll through those, but no e-mail, no social media, no scrolling for ‘likes’. Just quietness and stillness.

If a personal perfume from Alberto Morillas is beyond your budget, however, you might want to consider the semi-bespoke service that Penhaligon’s is also offering within the Salon de Parfums (see above). Another gifted perfumer, Fabrice Pellegrin, has created four bases – Chypre, Woody, Oriental or Amber – which can be customised with four different top notes: rose, iris, sandalwood and oudh. And trust us, the results are sublime. (We are saving for the Chypre/sandalwood combo.) The price varies between £300-425 depending on what you choose (oudh and iris being the priciest).

This customised perfume will be mixed before your eyes and hand-poured into a classic Penhaligon’s bottle, adorned with a beautiful velvet bow in a choice of colours.
Did someone say ‘birthday’…?
Find the new Penhaligon’s boutique in the Salon de Parfums, 6th Floor, Harrods, Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7XL
By Jo Fairley
 
 
 
 
 

Forgot the card? Panic over, as Penhaligon's invite you to create a virtual Valentine's bouquet!

That sickening moment you realise it’s all too late: you’ve forgotten the Valentine’s card and now you’re going to be in the dog house…
Oh dear.
But fear not, forgetful ones! Penhaligon’s have created a brilliant (and gorgeously realised) way to present a virtual bouquet, and it’s all to do with the “Language of Flowers.”

‘Thank Heavens for floriography’ they say. ‘A mysterious language of love. Cryptic communications, hidden revelations and coded declarations!’
On Penhaligon’s website, you beging by choosing from a number of flowers, having read their individual “coded” meanings. They vary wildly, so be very careful how you choose, and even more careful who you send that coded message to…
When you’ve selected three flowers, you are guided to the next page where your virtual bouquet is assembled, ready for you to present via email. Ta-da!
We just love the dreamy vintage-style illustrations – and that you get to learn a little of this “secret language” (so beloved by the Victorians, in particular) of flowers and their possible hidden messages.

Even better – everyone who sends one of these virtual bouquets will be entered in with a chance to win the Penhaligon’s Portraits Collection. And once you have sighed in contentment (and relief) at having saved the day, you can see which of the Penhaligon’s perfumes would best be suited to the flowers you chose for the bouquet.
Far from a lost opportunity, and depending on how well the recipient receives your e-card, it might turn out that your forgetfulness might end in a fragrantly wonderful win/win!
Now then, we wonder: who will you be sending yours to…?
Written by Suzy Nightingale

Penhaligon’s launch Luna – the new Goddess scent accompanying a deeper, darker Endymion for a moonlit romance…

Inspired by the mythical Goddess of the Moon, the latest fragrance from the proudly British heritage perfume house of Penhaligon’s is an Homeric ode to a silvery, moonlit romance.

Luna is an enchantingly mysterious floral that opens with freshness and then reminds us of sunsets slowly sinking into warmly misty nights sprinkled with twinkling stars, a glowing warmth to offset the cool, inky depth – oh yes, this moon has a dark side, too…

The Goddess is not alone, for her mythically inspired fragrance partner, Endymion, has been around for a while, but Penhaligon’s have ramped up the intensity to make him positively smouldering – how can Luna (or we?) resist?

Penhaligon’s say:Endymion is a firmly established part of the Penhaligon’s collection, and now we have launched a concentrated new version, an intense eau de parfum. Endymion Concentré is a luxurious interpretation of a classic, still a fragrance of contrasts, bright and sensual, light and dark, grounded by leathery suede; distinctly masculine and deeply romantic.

blog_large_361
“In ancient Greek mythology, Endymion, the most handsome son of Zeus, was placed into a perpetual slumber by the Goddess of the Moon so that she could gaze upon him forever, his stunning face unmarked by the passage of time. The wishes of the Goddess were granted, and Endymion slept on for all eternity, his smile everlasting. And no wonder, for he spent his life forever dreaming that he held the moon, Luna, gently in his arms.”

So to partner Endymion we created Luna, a new fresh floral offers a feminine counterpart to the woody leather notes of Endymion Concentré.  Inspired by the light of a magnificent crescent moon that brightens one’s dreams, this luxurious new fragrance captures the intoxicating spirit of the mythical Goddess of the Moon. Hypnotic and sensual, Luna shines up from the dark water, illuminating the ink-coloured night sky.  Opening with the bitter freshness of orange bigarade, the heart unfolds with the crisp lightness of juniper berry, rounded off with the sensuality of a dark woody base.’

A romance that we hope continues for years to come, this star-struck duo are stunningly packaged, too…

Luna £128 for 100ml eau de toilette and Endymion Concentré £120 for 100ml eau de parfum
Buy them at Penhaligon’s