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The Coveted Duchess Rose – woody and deeply rosey and unashamedly seductive - September 16, 2017

Photo: Courtesy of Penhaligon's

Whew!  Summer just is a memory now. A blur of long sun-filled days, lazy vacations and outdoor living. And while all this was going on, I missed a few things, like the ongoing story of the fragrances/characters in the Portraits Collection by Penhaligon’s.

The Portraits Collection is a nod to Penhaligons’ Victorian roots when founder, William Penhaligon, moved to London and opened a shop on Jermyn Street, in 1874 selling perfumes, soaps, and other fragranced items.

The Portraits Collection, Chapter 1, was launched in 2016 with four fragrances, each centred on a character in a fictional Victorian aristocratic household. Each character has their own story, making the collection a family of fragrances - literally.

The press release says:
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.

There’s the patriarch, Lord George, his wife Lady Blanche, their daughter, the Duchess Rose and her husband, Duke Nelson. Over time, the family of fragrances has grown to ten. Ten! Where have I been? Oh, yeah, see above. But I’ve made up for lost time and really explored each of the fragrances/characters and their playful backstories – Monsieur Beauregard, the overly-familiar French houseguest, Clandestine Clara from the, ahem, unofficial side of Lord George’s dynasty.

The stories are great fun and the fragrances are all winners, and I know I’ll end up buying all of them, but right now, going into autumn, I’m stuck on the Coveted Duchess Rose.

Here’s her story:
“A fresh, sweet Rose — ready for the picking. Ever since her recent marriage (anything but a bed of roses) our demure Duchess is urgently desirous of desire. Her bosom is aching for release from the corsets of Victorian life, she dreams of nothing but Paradise Regained, again and again.
When one’s husband is at the theatre every evening, one does become terribly bored…”

It opens with a sweet, juicy mandarin. It’s beautiful fresh start that calls forward a fragrant rose note. On me, it’s tinged with an herbal greenness that makes it a bit tart and moves me each time I smell it. Then it starts to open up, and the rose starts getting fuller, darker and jammy – it becomes unashamedly seductibve. Musky wood rises up from the base adding spicy, sweet and animalic nuances and a sheer woodiness. The base doesn’t hold the fragrance down, it doesn’t anchor it, instead it lifts it.

The drydown is a seductive, woody rose that best suits women and while it seems familiar in some ways, it’s like no other rose scent I know.

Oh, this Duchess, she’s a beauty all right! A scent to covet and a story I want to smell on my skin for a very long time. As for summer, well, I’ve moved on with the Duchess.

The Coveted Duchess Rose is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $5.00 for 1 ml.