Penhaligon’s Portraits Week
Penhaligon’s has launched a new collection of perfumes, Portraits. This is basically a concept collection/olfactory comedy-drama inspired by a fictional, wealthy and totally dysfunctional aristocratic British family. This entire collection is like if Wes Anderson decided he wanted to be a creative director for a line of perfumes. The tongue-in-cheek stories feel like they’re pulled from an early 00’s era screenplay based on the early 1900’s (or maybe even some sort of popular TV series). The art is whimsy in a British way. Each bottle has a golden animal head cap, like a trophy for the flawed.
Today we meet the daughter of this blue-blooded clan, The Coveted Duchess Rose.
The portrait (taken from the site):
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. – Release me”
If the goal is to create a flirty perfume that presents as prim and proper, then go with rose. Roses are a symbol of romance. But, they’re also loaded with olfactory feminine stereotypes that you need if you’re creating a rose for a dysfunctional young woman. (And how could she not be dysfunctional with a father involved in scandal and a mother that wants to kill him?)
Duchess Rose is one of those bright, citrus rose soliflores. It opens with aldehydes and citrus zest but you immediately pick up on the rose. It wears as a bright delicate rose with some of that powderiness I expect from a proper “English rose” perfume. The heart is a powdery, fresh rose, ivy and woodsy branches. The dry-down is soft, pink rose petals and a clean white musk. It’s a talcum powder/shower fresh rose.
I’m a rose person¹ but I rarely ever wear these sort of citrus-y roses. I like my roses to be more velvety or moodier than this. This is one of those ultra-feminine rose soliflores that comes across as something primmer and more proper than myself. It’s The Coveted Duchess Rose’s rose and not mine.
Notes listed include mandarin orange, rose, musk and woodsy notes. Launched in 2016. PERFUMER – Christophe Raynaud
Give Duchess Rose a try if you like citrus rose soliflores. Or perfumes like Juliette Has a Gun Miss Charming, Jo Malone London Red Roses, Penhaligon’s Elisabethan Rose, Yardley English Rose, CREED Fleur de Thé Rose Bulgarie and/or Annick Goutal Rose Absolue. If you have issues with those The Perfumer’s Workshop Tea Rose-sort of rose perfumes, you will have issues with this one. This one has that same old-school vibe and comes across like a prim and proper “British/cottage rose”.
Projection and longevity are average. The trophy is that of a wolf or a fox or maybe even a dog like a husky? Considering the plot, it’s probably a fox.
The 2.5 oz bottle retails for $240 at Saks.
Victoria’s Final EauPINION – Bright rose soliflore. It’s not my sort of rose but it’s a pretty rose. When I want this sort of thing, I’m going to wear Serge Lutens La Fille de Berlin.
¹All the roses I own are here.
Read more of the First Chapter and get to know this family here.
Want more reviews? Try…
British Vogue – Roudup of fall fragrances