Penhaligon’s is a British fine fragrance house, established in 1870. They design and make their own exclusive scents in England. Only fine and rare ingredients are used, such as hand-squeezed oil of bergamot and jasmine oil at twice the price of gold.
I had the chance to meet Kris Dembinski, Head of Global Sales of Penhaligon’s London, at a press event organized by Sahling DÃ¼fte at their new counter in Jelmoli, an upmarket department store in Zurich, Switzerland. He was very charming and told me a few interesting things about his passion for luxury fragrances.
Kris, you have come to Zurich to present Iris Prima, Penhaligon’s new luxury fragrance, to the Swiss press. Tell me more about it.
It’s a new fragrance dedicated to the English ballet. The iris absolue is its main component. We came up with the idea of the classical dance two years ago. We wanted to create a completely new fragrance that wasn’t related in any way to our other 40 fragrances. But we didn’t think of the ballet as a romantic story. We focused on the hard work, the passion and the extraordinary dedication of ballet dancers.
Who created Iris Prima?
Alberto Morillas, a world-renowned perfumer. He was delighted when we first presented him our project. He met various ballet dancers, went to their rehearsals and met them backstage. We also shot a few videos with ballet dancers who explain what it means to them to perform on stage. Penhaligon’s is also sponsoring two ballet dancers, who will perform at some of our events.
What are the bestsellers in Europe, Asia and the Middle East?
Our worldwide bestseller is Artemesia, a floral and fruity fragrance with a sensual powder dry down. In Nothern Europe, our clients prefer the English classics, that is to say light, floral and gentle fragrances like Lily of the Valley, Elisabethan Rose and Bluebell, a fragrance that Lady Di loved to wear. In Mediterranean countries, they love rich fragrances like Cornubia. In the Middle East, they prefer oriental ingredients like jasmin, amber, sandalwood and spices. In Japan, they love luxurious small sizes of floral and gentle fragrances.
What about the United States and Russia?
They love our sweet and feminine fragrances as well as our aftershaves.
The royal warrants of Prince Charles and his father Prince Philip are on each of your packages. What are their favourite Penhaligon’s fragrances?
The Duke of Edinburgh loves Hammam Bouquet, the Prince of Wales uses different Penhaligon’s aftershaves.
What’s your best-selling men’s perfume?
Blenheim Bouquet Eau de Toilette, a bracing mix of citrus oils, spices and woods. Created in 1902, it was the first English citrus-based men’s fragrance.
Which Penhaligon’s fragrances do you use?
Two of my favourite fragrances are Sartorial and Juniper Sling. Sartorial is a contemporary interpretation of a classic FougÃ¨re, an homage to Savile Row. Juniper Sling is a fragrance inspired by the most iconic and atmospheric of spirits: London Dry Gin.
History of Penhaligon’s: In the late 1860’s, William Henry Penhaligon left his native Penzance on the picturesque south west coast of England, and came to London to establish himself as a barber. By 1870 William had a thriving business supplying perfumes, toilet waters and pomades to the aristocracy. His first fragrance, created in 1872, was named Hammam Bouquet in honour of the famous Turkish Baths that had inspired it, and it remained his personal favorite. He secured his reputation by creating scents for the nobility. Blenheim Bouquet, created for the Duke of Marlborough, was to become a particular favourite of another distinguished scion of that family, Winston Churchill. Gentlemen’s scents up to this time were usually rich and floral; Blenheim Bouquet was one of the first citrus scents created and is still recognised as a classic today. Penhaligon’s now creates fragrances for men and women.
PHOTOS: KRIS DEMBINSKI PRESENTS IRIS PRIMA TO THE SWISS PRESS IN ZURICH
Photos 1 & 2: Yolanda Di Mambro (all rights reserved)
Photos of Penhaligon’s products: Courtesy of Penhaligon’s Ltd.
VIDEO: VAARA PERFUME LAUNCH EVENT AT PENHALIGON’S COVENT GARDEN IN LONDON
Video: Penhaligon’s Ltd., August 2013
VIDEO: JUNIPER SLING, A MEN’S LUXURY FRAGRANCE BY PENHALIGON’S
Video: Penhaligon’s Ltd., 2011
VIDEO: SARTORIAL, A MEN’S LUXURY FRAGRANCE BY PENHALIGON’S
Video: Penhaligon’s Ltd.
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