Orange Blossom and Vaara by Penhaligon’s

Orange Blossom

Penhaligon’s (2010 [1976])

Nose: Bertrand Duchaufour

Orange Blossom Perfume by Penhaligon's

Orange Blossom Perfume by Penhaligon’s

Orange Blossom has a pleasantly comforting opening… Well, I would be rather surprised if it didn’t. After all it is an Orange Blossom perfume… and I don’t know anyone who would say that they disliked the orange and orange blossom scent… It may not be the favourite one, but it simply is one of those universally pleasing scents that is safe heaven for the bookkeepers in its guaranteed steady ability to sell…

The first whiffs are clear nudge to the genre of eau de cologne, announcing its arrival into the crowded platform. but as soon as the perfume descends, it rushes off to get into sunshine, away of the crowd of other colognes. (By that moment, I am more than happy, as most of the other Penhaligon’s colognes, especially the ‘masculine’ ones, were just too self-content with standing at that crowded platform among others, very similarly dressed, very alike, crowd).

In this Penhaligon’s Orange Blossom surprises me, as it does not open with straightforward ‘orange blossom’ note, something that I would expect, or rather, something I am used to in most other orange blossom formulations. (On that note: one of my favourite here is Hermès Orange Vert). What comes soon after, is the white, fluffy bits of the orange underbelly peel… soft and cushiony, enhanced by the violet leaf to consolidate that matté feel & touch. Smart move by Bertrand Duchaufour.

As it is with colognes, if they have a phased structure to start with, that is, top, heart, and base are really quick in succession. So is the case here and Orange Blossom’s agrumi scaffolding. So the heart is fleecy and ductile, turning very floral and striking just about right balance between supple and full, and transparent and light. The fragrance is light enough to meander freely in the air as it pleases, yet it is also compound and dense enough to linger and be seen; it almost nudges you to capture it, grasp it, catch it with your hands, as if it was something material. Playful.

The Orange Blossom perfume form Penhaligon’s ends up on a general floral note for me. There is a brief moment of delicately woody aroma holding those flowers in hands, but this moment does not lasts long enough, unfortunately. Then what is left, are flowers.

Notes: Neroli, Violet leaf, Bergamot, Lemon-cedrat, Cardamom absolute, Pink berries // Orange absolute, Egyptian jasmine absolute, Tuberose absolute, Rose essence, Peach flower, Orchid // Sandalwood, Virginian cedar, White musk, Vanilla


Vaara

Penhaligon’s (2013)

Nose: Bertrand Duchaufour

Vaara Perfume by Penhaligon's

Vaara Perfume by Penhaligon’s

Vaara has a rich, lavish, and majestic story to tell – we learn from how the perfume is marketed, with all the allusions to Hindu ‘land of kings’ and all its majestic glory. What it offers, dabbed on my forearm, is a light dewy rose, exactly as the rosewater – one of the perfume’s listed ingredients – is. The fragrance opens up smoothly and conventionally, and ‘regal’ is not a word that comes to mind, not yet at least. You feel teased and hungry perhaps of some sort of abundance and opulence promised by the marketing brief. But you just ain’t getting that, disappointingly. But perhaps that is exactly what Bertrand Duchaufour, the nose behind this offering from Penahligon’s collection, has wanted? A tongue-in-cheek tease & twist. Hmmmmm….

Soon enough, before you realise, the rosewater is washed down to what to my nose, is a generic format of toiletries ‘fresh’ scents. The ilk of ‘white musks’ (listed in base notes) watering everything into that well too familiar aqueous effect. It performs on my too neatly, too soapy, too trimmed. No, it is clear by now that Vaara and I, we will not becomes friends.

The last stages are very light and airy, subtly sweet due to the benzoin and tonka bean, but the clear notes of the likes found in facial tonics and other face demaquillage products persist…

Notes: Quince, Rosewater, Carrot Seed, Coriander Seed, Saffron // Moroccan Rose Absolute, Bulgarian Rose Oil, Freesia, Indian Magnolia, Peony, Iris // Honey, White Musk, Cedarwood, Sandalwood, Benzoin Resin, Tonka Bean


Other reviews of Penhaligon’s Vaara and Orange Blossom perfumes:

#Penhaligons #Vaara #OrangeBlossom #BertrandDuchaufour #EauDeCologne #PerfumeReview #FragranceReview #Perfume #Fragrance #NichePerfumes #RosePerfume #CleanScent #Hermes #OrangeVert

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