5. 12. 2020

English version | A very British love affair

by Maria Nunes


This year, the love for perfumes is allowed to be eccentric and royalty inspired. The fragrances that would conquest any English lover might just be at Penhaligon’s, that celebrates its 150th anniversary.

Despite the risk involved, gifting perfume has a connotation to elegance, luxury and it is, of course, a sweet demonstration of love. Many things leave us as contempt as being complimented on our fragrance. What’s even better, is when “that” fragrance becomes iconic, blends in with us, and becomes, ultimately, a personal characteristic recognized by amongst all our friends and family. In British aristocracy, at the end of the 19th century, fragrances created by William Penhaligon were associated with special personalities. At that time, we’re talking high-society figures. And, even before opening his stores on St. James’s Street and St. Jermyn Street, in London, the founder of the English brand was already working as a barber for the likes of Winston Churchill and Oscar Wilde. When he first got into the world of perfumery, he rapidly began to fill up every vanity of the European royal court. Being distributed in Portugal for a year now, with exclusive representation by El Corte Inglés, Penhaligon’s, which was born in 1870, celebrates its 150th anniversary. A historic landmark that establishes it as one of the most iconic brands in haute parfumerie. Nowadays, the brand has more than 20 stores in the United Kingdom, counting with its exuberant spaces at Covent Garden and West End, along with many others around the globe, that enlarge the legacy of British culture and carry the essence of Penhaligon’s to every part of the world. The offer of the brand extends through three universes of fragrances: British Tales, with classic aromas; Trade Routes, fragrances connected with the British heritage of travel and exploring; and Portraits, a range that plays with the eccentricity and curiosity associated with British aristocracy, where every bottle has an animal as a central figure, all intertwined in a genealogical tree as elaborate as the one of a wealthy family. These are perfumes that could become family heirlooms, or scents we associate with that one great love. The possibilities are endless.

The most recent loves of Penhaligon’s we are lucky enough to have access to, have as protagonists The Favourite and Bluebell, both belonging to the British Tales collection. The first, which arrived in July to Portugal, is a floral and delicate fragrance, with notes of jasmine and tangerine, added to give a dose of confidence to those who wear it. The second one, which has been around in our country since September, is a critical scent that combines notes of rose, lilies, and jasmine with cinnamon. Bluebell is seen as a cult fragrance that aims to encapsulate the scent of “eternal love”. It is said, in fact, that this was one of Princess Diana’s favorite perfumes, but that’s a little white rumor. This fascination and love for English culture aren’t exactly new (thank you, The Crown) and the relationship between the brand and the British Royal Family is not a product of our imagination. In its 150 years, the brand has gathered three Royal Mandates, a recognition on behalf of the Royal Family for the provision of goods or services for a minimum of five years. The first one dates back to 1903 and the other two were given by the Duque of Edinburgh and by the Prince of Wales, in 1956 and 1988 respectively. Since we can’t (or shouldn’t) travel to London as of now, Penhaligon’s brings a little bit of that British, and very aristocratic, flair, to the holiday season ahead that demands something different. Or provides a very special gift for someone who’s scent would be worthy of a princess… or prince.

Translated from the original article from Vogue Portugal's Love issue, published in December 2020.