How important is the story of a perfume to you?

Does the story about a fragrance make a perfume more appealing to you?

Some perfume houses have a very clear story to tell about a fragrance. Like the Canadian perfume house Zoologist Perfumes and the British perfume house Penhaligon’s Portraits series, both are inspired by animals in a way.

Zoologist Perfumes and its owner Victor Wong have a very clear story by taking its inspiration from interesting animals ranging from bats and civets to hummingbirds. Not only does the perfume house have a clear image of a dressed animal on the bottle. The scent itself is inspired by this animal as well. I really like this idea as it is original, daring and the fragrances themselves are all worthwhile to try. As far as I know perfumes have never been presented this way.

Penhaligon’s introduced a very exciting imaginative tale last year about an aristocratic British family and the intriguing stories within this family. When visiting a Penhaligon’s store last year in London I was very impressed by the history of this family presented as The Portraits Series with beautiful animal head bottle caps on the perfume bottles. These animals are said to portray the persons they represent.

The story of a Lord (The Tragedy of Lord George), a bored Lady (The Revenge of Lady Blanche) and an illegitimate son  (Roaring Radcliff) is fun and the bottles with the animal head bottle caps are very impressive. But unfortunately the fragrances themselves are somewhat disappointing. To me the scents do not fit the glamorous presented story. Too much emphasis is placed on the bottles and the story and too little effort on the fragrance itself. The scents (I tried the first 4 launched in 2016) are not very distinctive especially given their presentation and price tag. This is a real pity as the bottles themselves are a real addition to anyone’s perfume collection and the whole story of an aristocratic family with all its intriguing relationships are a fabulous way to present a perfume line as well.

Bottom line  A story behind a perfume can be important in inviting us to try and buy a fragrance. In the end however, the scent must be worthwhile as well. Both are crucial: the story and the scent. They must be a good fit. As much as I like these Penhaligon’s bottles and their stories I would not buy any of them as I was disappointed in the fragrances but I am tempted to buy a bottle of Zoologist Bat or Hummingbird as I find the combination of the story of the animal and the fragrance capitivating. The story and scent are a good fit.

How important is a story behind a perfume to you? Have you ever been tempted to buy or try a fragrance inspired by its story?

Disclosure: Photographs taken from the officials websites

Penhaligon’s Castile A scent of Azahar

As this is my first blog about perfumes I was wondering what perfume to choose to write about. I wanted to write about a perfume I really like and from a fragrance house I really like as well. Penhaligon´s is such a house and British.

Penhaligon´s is a very old fragrance house which started with a shop in London in 1870. Their site is one of the best from a fragrance house I have come across. They give online advice on a perfume if you fill out a form online and sent it to them. Which I did and I will write about their advice next time.

About the eau de toilette Castile. I was drawn to this perfume because of its name. Castille, one of the now autonomous communities of Spain, say a kind of state within Spain. To me if you say Castille you say Spain in all its origins. And this appealed to me, being partly Spanish. So when I smelled the eau de toilette Castile I was really surprised to smell Spain, that is azahar. Azahar is the Spanish for orange blossom. You smell Castile by Penhaligon´s and it smells so lovely of orange blossom. But not only orange blossom, as I have smelled other neroli or fleur de oranger scents before. And I do not like most of them. Like Serge Lutens Fleurs d´oranger which I do not like either. Maybe it is the mixture of neroli, petit grain, and orange blossom in Castile. All scents of oranges. I do not know but it reminded me of my Spanish grandmothers home and all the lovely memories of wonderfull Christmas holidays came up. Whoever made this perfume must have had quite an idea of how Spain smells. I could not find any information about the perfumeur of Castile, unfortately. If Spain would be a smell, to me, it would be Castile by the English perfume house Penhaligon´s.

So would I recommend it? Yes I would if you like neroli, fleur de oranger or orange blossom and a summery smell into your house. Penhaligon´s sells scent library with 10 different samples on their site. The older scent library contains Castile as well. The scent library can also be bought via ebay from time to time as well.

Commentaries online were quite positive. American reactions commented on the scent as a grand old European hotel soap scent. In general it was commented that it is expensive and some say it is a soapy scent. In the Netherlands a bottle of 100 ml is 90 euro. But you can buy Castile quite regularly on the British ebay site for half or even a third of that price. You can order 5 different samples in the Netherlands at the webshop from Celeste in The Hague for 10 euro. On Penhaligon´s site you can see where their scents are sold throughout the world.

Castile is in the citrus group and on some sites it is considered a masculine smell. After shave and shaving cream is sold as well. But personally to me it is a more feminine scent and my boy friend agrees. He likes the scent as well.

Notes: neroli, petit grain, bergamot, orange blossom, rose, precious woods and musk

Longevity: quite good for a citrus eau de toilette

The eau de toilette was bought by myself. I do not have any links with Penhaligon´s, my comment is completely independent.

July 12, 2011