Everything for me starts and ends with books.I found Penhaligon's through books; poetry books.Their scented pages carried me through my younger years. It was not until I visited the Edinburgh Festival that I owned my first Penhaligon's perfume.
After viewing a production of 'The Girls of Slender Means' by Muriel Spark, I visited the Edinburgh Penhaligon's store and spent a delightful hour trying many different perfumes. I left with'Bluebell' in a silver-plated compact, wrapped in scented tissue, a recommendation to view the current performance of 'The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie' [which was brilliant] and instructions to visit Richard at the Covent Garden branch of Penhaligon's. Initially one of the reasons I chose this perfume was because my Mother loved bluebells. However 'Bluebell' may have elements of citrus and hyacinth, but for me it has remembrance and love through familial connectivity and also sexual attraction, fantasy and femininity, all through the association with Muriel Spark and Edinburgh.
Penhaligon's in Covent Garden is a wonderful emporium filled with old world charm combined with exciting, inspirational and eclectic displays. Richard, Craig and Sadie so welcoming, it is a haven in a busy metropolis. I may only visit a couple of times a year but I am always greeted with warm enthusiasm and incredible knowledge.
This summer's visit was to experience 'Peoneve', which has been created by the master perfumer Olivier Cresp of 'Angel' fame. He has also created 'Juniper Sling' for Penhaligon's. So I anticipated a treat. I was not disappointed.
Sipping champagne and rose cordial served with a rose petal embellishment, I browsed in a fragrant crowd of perfume lovers, eagerly edging my way to the new creation. Visually there was so much to absorb, a sensual overload.
First spray- Violet Leaf, a floral but slightly earthy fragrance, after a while Rose- a sweet, delicate slightly powdery Rose combined with Peony and Hedione. So feminine, so seductive, so soft. But this fragrance has staying power. Vetiver, Musk and Cashmere Wood provide a strong base to suggest a strong femininity. My husband remarked on how lovely the fragrance was when he collected me from the station. This was two hours after I had first applied the perfume. I consider the name and think of Eve, nude in the garden, this is a fragrance to be applied before any clothing, a fragrance to spray and step into, a fragrance that will carry you through the day into the night.
It is always interesting how you can meet like-minded people when you are experiencing lovely things. Someone I knew visually from the enlightening Persephone Books lunchtime talks was also here. I am not digressing, my new acquaintance gave me a name, well two, hers and a writer new to me, Barbara Pym. My PB reader was going to a conference at Oxford with the Barbara Pym society, how intriguing I thought. We like similar perfumes and Persephone Books, so I surely I will be able to trust her judgement on other authors. So rather like Edinburgh, Muriel Spark and 'Bluebell', Covent Garden has given me 'Peoneve' and Barbara Pym. I hope I will love the books as much as the perfume.