writes about KBO, cocktails, code-breaking, and red lipstick.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Established in 1870, Penhaligon's is one of London's traditional perfumers, with a long-standing and august lineage.
In the late 1860's, William Henry Penhaligon left Cornwall and moved to London to establish himself as a barber. By 1870, he had a thriving business supplying perfume to the aristocracy, including Queen Victoria.
Hammam Bouquet was the brand's first offering, in 1872. Bleinheim Bouquet came next, in 1902. It was made for Lord Randolph, Winston Churchill's father, whose residence was Bleinheim Palace.
Sir Winston is reputed to have worn Bleinheim Bouquet as well, a lemon-scented men's cologne with a good dose of pine and some woody and lavender notes. It's really pretty darn fantastic, I have to say, and just as refreshing on a woman as a man.
Although the original Penhaligan's shop, on Jermyn Street in Mayfair, was destroyed in the Blitz, the line lives on after a renaissance in the 1970s. Today there's a flagship Penhaligon's in Covent Garden, plus all sorts of ritzy department stores and posh perfume boutiques carry the line as well.
A definitely different spin on the "celebrity fragrance" idea, indeed!
New York Times-bestselling and Barry Award-winning Susan Elia MacNeal is the author of the Maggie Hope Mystery series from Bantam/Random House. Her books have been nominated for the Edgar, Macavity, Dilys, Barry, Sue Federer, and Bruce Alexander Awards.