Wednesday 30 June 2010

Penhaligons: Eau De Cologne

Colognes or Eau De Colognes were and are the starting point for all 'modern' fragrances. The first Cologne of all was famously designed by Giovanni Maria Farina, an Italian who had just moved to Cologne in 1709 when he made his very distinctive perfume and decided to name it after his new home.

Cologne has now become the generic term for a certain type of refreshing, unisex, citrus based perfume- these fragrances are also usually in a lower concentration of fragrance oil than Eau De Toilette and Eau De Parfum.

It seems fitting that Penhaligon's should have it's own
Eau De Cologne, being as it is such an elegant upholder of traditional grooming standards and elegance. This scent is a re-working of their original 1927 cologne and is part of the Anthology collection; all re-workings of classic scents from the Penhaligon's archives.

To create a good cologne seems like a really interesting challenge for a perfumer to me. You are working within quite a tight, even restrictive group of notes and essentially re- imagining a scent that was originally formulated three hundred years ago and has been consistently re-arranged ever since by literally hundreds of perfumers- and all the greats. It is the equivalent of singing a standard for a perfumer; you need to find a way of bringing something new and modern to cologne while ensuring it does continue to be a cologne and not an entirely different type of perfume.

The notes for this are (from Penhaligon's website):

Head Notes
Orange, Lemon, Bergamot, Rosemary

Heart (or middle) Notes

Base Notes
Eau de Cologne has no base notes

So you can see this a completely traditional eau De Cologne in the style of all the greats, 4711, Guerlain and so on. I have been trying this on and off since Penhaligon's kindly sent me a vial a month or two ago and I think it's extremely successful. It's really come into it's own in this very hot weather when I think perfume choices become really difficult- the scent you wear can give you a headache and even make you feel sick if it's too strong in hot weather- and perhaps more worryingly can make the people around you feel ill too- so I like to use something light and refreshing but still interesting and this is all of those.

As you may have gathered I enjoy men's scents as much as women's and quite like wearing a slightly more androgynous scent sometimes. Although colognes have always been made to me and categorised as unisex for me they have always been men's fragrances first in my mind- so I rather love wearing them and challenging some people's ideas (and here I must say it tends to be younger people, mostly women I'm afraid, who seem to expect all of us ladies to smell of flowers, chocolate or a whole cookie mixture bowl full of vanilla all the time).

Obviously for men this scent choice might seem more classic and safe but I think men's fragrances also suffer from often being just too strong and cannot stand when men leave sillage for what seems like weeks in lifts, on staircases and on the tube- it's not cool and it's definitely not good in this weather. This is an elegant choice for a confident man who doesn't need to shout about either his taste or manly credentials because he is perfectly confident with both- and smells great.


Metropolitan Mum said...

Hello Rose,
How lovely to come back and be welcomed by a lovely scent. Cologne and Penhaligon's sounds like a match made in heaven. I might have a sniff tomorrow then.

x MM

Rose said...

Hello MM- lovely to hear you're back and your holiday looks delightful. I hope you like the cologne- it's very classic but not boring x

Anonymous said...

Rose, Do you have any idea if Penhaligon's Eau de Cologne contains any chemicals? I love the smell, but cannot use any chemicals. Penhaligon's has not responded to my queries in this regard.

Thank you so much for your help with this!