Esprit du Roi, new addiction to the Anthology series, is a partially reworked re-edition of a 1983 launch, and it's defined a citrus/woody scent. But it's only appearance, since its complexity and its multifaceted structure put it to another level. In the opening crisp citrus like mandarin, bergamot and cedar, go along with some aromatic notes of tomato leaves, mint, davana (one of Bertrand's favourite notes). Middle notes feature flowers like ylang ylang, geranium, jasmine, honeysuckle, while the base is made of powerful notes of great beauty, that in this scent are easily perceived already at the top: vetiver, cedarwood, sandalwood, patchouli, oakmoss, grey amber and hyraceum, the African stone smelling powerfully animalic.
The result of such a complex composition is... complex, indeed. Faceted enough to not understanding the primary family -without this causing disorder or confusion- it's at all times different: sour citrus and woods, green flowers and woods, citrus and animal, flowers and animal, again citrus, wood and animal notes, in an amazing coexistence of cold/hot, dry/rich, rough/polished feelings. A collection of contrasts resting on extreme lightness and brightness: even if some notes own a high specific weight, the perfume results - quite surprisingly- as light and energizing as a sunray, and as solid as caveau wall. A superb composition which cannot but cause admiration for how it's been achieved, extremely sophisticated and refined, with the word “refined” expressing a dual concept: the feeling of wearing something stylish, and the notion it must have required very special skill to be created.
The other Penhaligon's scent I found truly remarkable was Juniper Sling, the first "niche" scent composed by Oliver Cresp of Firmenich, the creator of Angel (Mugler), Light Blue (D&G), Midnight Poison (Dior), and many others for Cacharel, Armani, Kenzo, Nina Ricci, Cavalli, Yves Rocher etc. This was the first good reason to go and test it. Another good one was that Juniper Sling was born as an homage to famous London Dry Gin, a theme fully in line with Penhaligon's: what else should these London gentlemen ever drink, at their Club? Here the Gin sensation feels clear and strong, bright, sharp as it should be, due to a fantastic Juniper note. I do love Juniper, but isn't one of the most used notes, due to its crispy character, difficult to relegate to a "supporting role". Juniper is definitely a star note, and here it expresses at its best, paired with cold and sour notes like cardamom, vetiver and sour cherry, and warm, woody notes of cinnamon, black pepper and orris, with a final “zing” of ambrox and leather to give extra strength. Dry like a blow in the face, clear as a glass of gin drank in a single shot, Juniper Sling is high-impact, elegant, and doesn't go unnoticed. Yet, isn't conceptually difficult or challenging, you know that its author must be used to speaking to an audience not too difficult to seduce. However, if some gentlemen of my acquaintance wore something like this instead of the usual citrus/ozonic void of any personality, they'd definitely earn points (but don't expect any perfume to perform miracles on its own!).
For Penhaligon's new course, hip hip hurray!
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