Thursday, December 10, 2009

Penhaligon's Amaranthine


Penhaligon's Amaranthine has got to be the best thing I've smelled in a long time. I totally get the comparison to Parfum delRae Amoureuse, which, honestly, I think it resembles in both scent and name. Still, the fragrance has a uniqueness of its own, being less floral and lighter than Amoureuse (although it's just as honeyed and indolic, jasmine so fleshy it's animalic), but soapier (aldehydic) and coarse, along the lines of Frederic Malle Une Fleur de Cassie (my favorite Malle, the only bottle of Malle I own). The dry down is a musky sandalwood married to piquant dried fruits, pleasantly aromatic in a natural way, like citrus peel. This is a smoky scent without being churchy or temple incensey at all; the "skin scent" sillage is a cool, woodsy, foresty floral aroma with tart fruits and spices over a dry (like Diptyque Tam Dao dry) base; if the marketing blurb mentions "corrupted flesh", that would be the clean, understated apothecary style of this British line doing their rendition of a complex and elegant French-style perfume: very Gothic, indeed: not a typical bright and sporty scent, more of an acquired taste, its eternal beauty diaphanous but nonetheless charming and bewitching.

There are bottle choices for this awesome fragrance (which in itself is awesome): one appears to be a faceted gem-like bottle, like a royal purple amethyst, with a cute Goth-type silver butterfly on it. I think it's very girly and romantic, with a moon-like round pearly cap adorned by a rock 'n' roll edge (because of the silver metal look), but the other one (pictured) is my preferred design: the simple apothecary style bottle with a grey wool (maybe grosgrain - can't tell) bow - how chic! If we're to obsessive-compulsively microanalyze, I think it's a little tomboyish on the "femininity" spectrum. Thank you, Penhaligon's, for getting beyond the usual male-female binary and giving us more opportunities to choose.

amaranth: (ăm'ə-rănth')
n. An imaginary flower that never fades