New year. New you. New favourite fragrance.

No, favourite fragrances!

The House of Penhaligon’s is a longstanding favourite of mine. I’m not just saying that. I have a LOT of them in my bathroom: Empressa, Vaara, Bayolea and Blasted Heath. I have them on rotation, and I layer them up with other fragrances I use too. But what I wasn’t expecting was to completely fall in love with this new collection: Portraits. 

I say new. But really it’s old in terms of fragrance. There’s practically a new one every day. This lot came out towards the end of last year, but I’ve only JUST had a sniff!

Animals. CHECK. Metal animal heads as lids. CHECK. Heady amazing scents. CHECK.


So the idea of this little capsule is that they emulate a British aristocratic family. On the site we are told: ‘What are the secrets of the British aristocracy? Are they as well behaved, courteous and polite as they seem to be? “Portraits” is a tribute to the English spirit; between establishment, humour and provocation.’

The dad, The Tragedy of Lord George, is not a tragedy at all. It’s woody and masculine and strong and what you expect Alexander Thynn, 7th Marquess of Bath, owner of Longleat, to smell like. 


The Revenge of Lady Blanche: ‘A darling of London Society, and one of the most influential ladies in Britain. Her aloof beauty, mysterious past and blazing passions are scrutinised by all from shop-girls to Royalty. She would do anything to climb the social ladder still further. Her latest scheme is to poison her husband, Lord George, inheriting his wealth and burying his secrets for ever! ’

Floral, powdery, mesmerising – it’s exactly what you expect the Lady of the manor to smell like.


Much Ado About The Duke: ‘Conforming to the expectations of his class, Duke Nelson married the most coveted girl in London: the Duchess Rose. Yet the Duke is eccentric and unusual, his whimsical airs set society tongues wagging. Rumours abound that his marriage is yet to be consummated! His perfume is as ambivalent as he is: a floral yet masculine woody fragrance.’

It’s that exact match: one sniff and it’s floral and sweet, and with the next it hits you in the face with its leathery wood notes. A great one for winter!


The Coveted Duchess Rose: ‘Daughter of Lady Blanche and Lord George, Rose married a Duke to escape the stifling rigidity of her family and to become the Coveted Duchess Rose. At first, naively romantic, she has now become disillusioned and frustrated in an unsatisfactory marriage. Always looking for fun and frivolity (and perhaps love affairs).’

I’m certainly coveting this one. It’s my favourite of all four. You all know my deep love for anything rose scented, and this one is like a full bouquet of the flowers. It rushes up your nose in an instant, and fills it with a fresh, sweet smell of roses.

The bottles are, as usual, all part of the draw. They’re keepers alright! See them all here. 


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