It hit me out of nowhere, seemingly, long after the initial buzz of the new release had faded from the daily talk of the fragrant corner of the blogosphere: an intense craving to smell (and wear and own) Penhaligon’s Amaranthine.
Penhaligon’s is one of those houses, est. 1870, that I lump in with Creed, Floris, and Houbigant; namely, houses that have been around a long time, and are known for conservative, “appropriate” fragrances (alternately, see “stuffy,” “stodgy,” “sober,” or “matronly”). But Amaranthine is something different, something new. Hot-shot perfumer Bertrand Duchoufour was brought in for the project, and the results have shaken up the collective perfum-o-shepere’s perception of that staid house.
Someone at Penhaligon’s was paying attention to the Twitter feed between myself and my best gal-pal Birgit, and offered to send me a sample. Hell yeah. That sample (three samples, actually. Very generous, thank you!) arrived, and by the time I opened up the small protective baggy to take a preliminary whiff, I was already swooning. I hadn’t even cracked open a vial at that point, and, taking notes, declared: “creamy, metallic… oh, like Safran Troublant! An odd, sappy/fresh-green note… what is happening here!?”
What is happening here? It’s a Tropical-Oriental!
Amaranthine is an odd-duck, but odd-ducks are my favorite— one of the last perfumes that intrigued me on this level was Nuit de Tubereuse (also by the rockstar BD, for L’Artisan). The thing that I like about each of these compositions is that while they are decidedly ODD, interesting, and original, they are also elegant and pretty. I guess that’s why Amaranthine works for Penhaligon’s… it’s eccentric, but it’s got class.