Oranges and Lemons at Penhaligon's

Little comes close to citrus in the summer: tart lemon, bitter orange, lime so tangy and effervescent that you salivate just on smelling it. Combined with the lightest, whitest florals and a transparent trail of musk, citrus can brighten and render limpid even the heaviest of hot summer days.

As with so many, the eau de cologne is a Scentimentalist summer staple. Last year, a bottle of Penhaligon’s aromatic Douro took its place in refrigerated splendour alongside the mayonnaise, supplying freshness and citrus vigour with every leathery, bergamot blast.

This year, the English summer is set to be tempered by two newer offerings from Penhaligon’s: its luscious, lemon-bright Eau de Cologne and gorgeous, dusky Orange Blossom, sampled recently from this British house’s expanding ‘Anthology’ series.
Strictly speaking, Eau de Cologne is not a ‘new’ Penhaligon’s scent, given that it is an un-tweaked re-release of an archived 1927 classic. A gloriously pulpy and astringent, lemon-orange flesh-and-zest fest, it glazes the skin with the clean, lively sparkle of a sorbet, its gentle rosemary note dusting it down to the soft powder of a bonbon.
Devoid of basenotes, the Eau de Cologne experience is unabashedly hesperidic, bracing but brief, and this scent works hardest when sprayed directly onto fabric (or hairy chest)—though to do so is to lessen its intensely blood-cooling impact.

Orange Blossom, meanwhile, is the creative re-rendering of in-house nose Bertrand Duchaufour, who riffs here on Penhaligon’s original scent from 1976. Duchaufour, to my mind, works a minor perfumery miracle by enrobing the clear, stimulating potency of neroli oil with waxy indoles and a soothing, slightly gourmand syrup of spiced summer fruit.
This is a honey bee guzzling at the heart of a bigaradia flower; a cardamom-laced Lebanese pudding steeped in maa’ al-zahr, cedar and sandalwood. For The Scentimentalist, perhaps the prettiest phase of this lovely summer fragrance is its floral middle, when jasmine, rose and tuberose entwine amidst a caress of the ripest peach.
Following swiftly on from last year’s fabulous Amaranthine, Penhaligon’s latest project with Duchaufour is also unquestionably a triumph, and strikes a clever and whimsical balance between the classy florals for which this house is so renowned and daring departures into modern and even mildly avant-garde territory.
I await Duchaufour’s next Penhaligon’s creation with bated breath.


  1. mmm, Penhaligon's Orange Blossom sounds gorgeous, dear Scentimentalist! Would you recommend wearing it at any particular time of day, or in certain situations/places - might it be a good one to take on holiday, for instance?

  2. This is delicious. Thank you, dear Scenti.

  3. I'd say the Orange Blossom could be worn at any time of day, dear Frances. To me, it seems an especially 'summer' scent, so it would be great to take on holiday. Orange flowers blossom, of course, from April to May -- so maybe it would smell at its most glorious then! It's a great iteration of neroli, without any of the sharpness or thinness.

  4. And, 'Anonymous', these are indeed delicious scents. Which makes me realise that Duchaufour is possibly the ONLY perfumer who makes vaguely gourmand scents that I can tolerate. Amaranthine, with its condensed milk, cardamom and tonka notes, is a case in point. I really like it.

  5. Thank you for such an inspiring review, Scentimentalist - citrus scents are so refreshing and light. There's a Penhaligon's just around the corner from work and so I might just call by later. Thank you!

  6. I love the Orange Blossom, especially the middle where I get whiffs of gardenia too. But it's so fleeting! Maybe the tester isn't enough - I need to get a FB so I can spray myself wet with it and have it last past lunch.

  7. I love the Orange Blossom in particular, and it lasts quite well on me. Your description of the honey bee / pudding shenanigans is spot on! POB is a bit like a milder, orange version of Amaranthine to my nose. Echoes of SL Fleurs d'Oranger, but not as indolic. I popped into Penhaligon's in Chester on Friday and they told me the next two releases are called Zizonia and Jubilee Bouquet, both with BD at the creative helm. : - )

    I tried Havana Vanille yesterday and loved that too. Am fast becoming a Bertrand groupie, indeed, though I draw the line at Timbuktu.

  8. Hello, kjanicki, and welcome! I must say the Orange Blossom lasted pretty well on me -- no complaints, in fact! Love your beautifully presented blog, btw :)

    Hey, Flit! How are you? Agreed that Monsieur Duchaufour is fab -- and I ESPECIALLY love his wonderful Timbuktu ...

  9. I still haven't tried any of the Penhaligons line, alas, since these sound perfect right now. The weather here is atrocious-100 degrees Farenheit and SO humid. This sounds just the thing in spades...
    The orange blossom you describe actually sounds like heaven right now, truly!