Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Penhaligons Portrait Collection Cocktails and The Coveted Duchess Rose Review

Last night I went to Plateau in Canary Wharf to sample the cocktails inspired by the Portraits collection as imagined by Penhaligons. A complicated but brilliant concept. Penhaligons have devised several cliche - but irresistably fun Agatha Christie/ Dickens like personas. Take The Coveted Duchess Rose - her "biography" reads:  "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." So in turn Plateau have designed a corresponding cocktail: "the desirous and seductive character of The Coveted Duchess Rose has a delicate and woody scent, with notes of mandarin, rose, and musky wood that are reflected in the Duchess Rose cocktail with Ketel One Vodka, La Diabada Pisco, Rose Syrup, and Peychaud Bitters."

Well cocktails and perfumes are two of my favourite things! The cocktails are served with a sample of the eponymous perfume. I didn't really enjoy my cocktail and my friend didn't enjoy his Lord George cocktail, combining Atlantico Rum, Chilli Truffle Tea, and Lapponica Lingonberry Liqueur. But I am very fussy about cocktails and my friend also is always harping on about the "balance" of cocktail ingredients. And when it came to the perfumes, knowing each full size 75ml bottle is a rather suitably grand (perhaps they took the theme too far?) £178, we were similarly underwhelmed. His perfume smelt very soapy, to the sacrifice of many of the underlying notes. "It smells like my dad", he intoned solemnly. Indeed it mentions having shaving soap as a note, but that is all that could be smelt! Like the cocktails, these seemed one very overwhelming flavour masking any delicate additional elements. For instance, the chilli in the cocktail was imperceptible...


 Yes, I always match my outfit to the decor - doesn't everyone?

 Now to my own sample, which I've worn today. The first thing to mention is that oddly for an EDP it doesn't seem to last that long. I've just had to re-spray to reassess my thoughts. Unless it's just something you get used to, but I don't think so, as it's a strong scent! It blasts out but then suddenly, at some point, it's gone. And now, it's chokingly strong as I type this. Now wait, I do believe every woman should have one rose perfume because roses are beautiful and feminine and whatever your taste, once in a while at least, it's nice to just smell like a lovely generic pleasing and feminine rose. My rose perfume is a limited edition but you can find it online, read about it here, Clarins Par Amour Toujours. But the reason the Clarins perfume won me around is that it did something unexpected. My everyday perfume is DKNY EDP (the tall, glass bottle in silver packaging.) The Clarins perfume combined grapefruit with rose. Almost like a rose version of my DKNY staple: The grapefruit takes the edge right off the cloying molded rose smell. This Penhaligons interpretation, combing woodiness and rose, just smells, as I initially observed in response to the above- related dad comment, "like my grandma". So we had before us, a dad perfume and a grandma perfume. This rose perfume smells like rose pot pourri. I can't smell any subversive elements to what one would disparagingly conjure up when imagining a "rose perfume". It's dupeable, and not in a good way. It doesn't smell expensive or unique or interesting.

Perhaps this review is skewed as my favourite scents are somewhat sharper. My favourite of all time is Hermes Un Jardin sur le Nil, and has been for years. However I do like my oriental or leather scents like Calvin Klein Euphoria, and I have a treasured vintage Donna Karan fragrance which now goes for hundreds of dollars online. It's just called Donna Karan. Described as "Fresh passions of apricot, bergamot, green notes, neroli, osmanthus, peach and pineapple burst out at the top, followed by a floral rhythm of carnation, cassia, heliotrope, jasmine, lily, orchid, rose and ylang-ylang at the heart of the fragrance. Bottom notes bring amber, benzoin, cedar, citruses, tonka bean, vanilla, vetiver, sandalwood, musk, suede, patchouli and incense." Unlike this Penhaligons fragrance, which in theory, claiming notes of mandarin, rose and musky wood, the Donna Karan smells like an enveloping and complex world of an emotionally-charged fragrance. Donna Karan claimed she wanted the fragrance to smell like her husband's neck! You get that authentic raw emotion and conviction. With this The Coveted Duchess Rose, you get the same phoney and unconvincing cliche scent as you do with the idea itself.

I'm all for a sense of humour, but for £178 it's just not that amusing. Anyway although I didn't much care for the cocktails, it is probably the cheapest way to get yourself a sample of the perfume and I daresay the cocktail and tiny perfume sample are pound for pound equal footing, the tiny perfume sample probably winning out. (N.B if you're in London, check out BRUMUS in Haymarket; my favourite ever cocktail is the Turkish Old Fashioned. Funnily enough it's a rose-based cocktail, which is why I was excited to try this rose one. However it's far more delicate and delicious)

But hurry! It ends tonight. The four new cocktails will be available at the Bar up to 30th November. Each will be served with a sample of the fragrance in addition to the cocktail.

Have you tried this perfume? Please comment below with any thoughts...

OH P.S I've just started an instagram please follow me if you like, my interests are art, working out, cocktails (yes somewhat conflicting, sigh) and obviously makeup :) I haven't uploaded much but I hope to post makeup collection and so on too. I'd love to have hints and tips as to who to follow - and of course any readers who have instagram just let me know so I can follow you! Search ooglemakeup or click