This Bluebell fragrance from Penhaligon's was part of a gift set of fragrances I received from my husband at Christmas. He knows I am a perfume addict so the chance to try several different scents he knew would be appealing to me. Penhaligon's if you haven't heard of it before are a British company that started in 1872 as barber shop and perfumery. It still makes all of its 34 scents here in the UK using traditional methods and its perfumes are still packaged in the same bottle design as they were in the founder William Penhaligon's day
The bottle that you can buy for the full price bottle is very classic in its design as you would expect from Penhaligon's. It is a clear glass bottle with a slight incline towards to the top. A light blue ribbon is around the top of the bottle which it makes it look feminine. The bottle for my sample is more of a vial that is easily resealed and keeps the perfume still nice and fresh.
The scent and in use
Penhaligon's describe this scent as "this is the pure and unadulterated distillation of the scent of bluebell woods. The tell-tale earthy sweetness of hyacinths rises through the soft citrus" I think the first thing that strikes me about this perfume is that to me it isn't actually bluebells that it evokes but Hyacinths and Lily of the valley. On reading the perfume notes from Penhaligon's I found this is actually the case and no reference is actually made in the notes to bluebells which I have to say sounds really strange given the name.
The head notes of the citrus don't really make much of a first or indeed any impression on applying this perfume and the first scent my nose gets is hyacinth which I find very heady and strong to my nose. This combined with the jasmine and the lily makes for a very floral mix, that in some ways I find too strong for my personal taste and too sickly making me think of stuffy hothouses and strangely church bazaars where often as a child hyacinths would be on sale. After about 5 to 10 minutes the base notes start to come into play and green fresh notes of Galbanum is especially welcome as it seems to take some of the strong flora edge off the perfume for me. The spices of the clove and cinnamon are also then apparent giving it in my opinion a more earthy quality that does indeed evoke mossy woods on spring days as Penhaligon's promises. However I still at times find myself catching the sickly notes of the floras more often and this makes me recoil and want to wash this off straight away as it is just to metallic and sweet for me to wear all day. I think if you are a fan of floral styles of perfume then this would definitely appeal but I prefer mine to have an oriental hint or have more citrus to balance them out which this fragrance doesn't. If you like floral and especially the smell of hyacinths then I think this is probably a good daytime scent to wear as it does last and it is very true to the smell of hyacinths. But for me I just find it to sickly sweet and full on floral to wear it and I am glad I got the opportunity to try it before buying a full size bottle.
Price and availability
Available from either Penhaligon's shops or website direct it costs £58 for 50 mls or £80 for 100mls. It is also available from John Lewis and Harrods for a similar price to the main Penhaligon's stores.
I would only recommend this perfume for fans of flora perfumes who like it full of petal power as it is very heady with the full on hyacinth and lily and jasmine notes. It isn't for me but given it lasts well and is well constructed perfume even if not to my taste I am giving it 2 stars. An interesting note is those famous people who are said to have worn it and a more diverse group I can imagine as it is said to have included Princess Diana, Margaret Thatcher, and Kate Moss know who knows what these have in common but I certainly wouldn't have put them all in the same group at all!