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Peoeneve – “Always take the time to stop and smell the peonies…” - Monday June 17, 2013 New Fragrance Listing


I got the call the other day. “Mom’s peony is blooming!” was the message my youngest sister left on my answering machine.

This call is a family tradition among us three sisters. The first one to discover Mom’s peonies blooming in her garden has to call the other two. We call them Mom’s peonies because our plants all came from our mother’s garden.  Peonies were her favourite flower and she adapted the old saying about roses to remind us to “Always take the time to stop and smell the peonies…” She gave each of us a peony plant so that we could have her presence, in our gardens each summer.

Sentimentality aside, I do love a peony. I love their rich cultural heritage: peonies are revered in Asian cultures, the Greeks had a myth about them, the Roman legions first brought them to England in 1200 and it is the only flower to have a country named after it - Paeonia, in ancient Greece.

I love the majesty they have despite their full, fluffy, floppy flowers. I love their heart-shaped petals, their long stems and their fresh, floral fragrance – especially their fragrance.

I’m not the only one with a passion for peonies. Nose Olivier Cresp loves them too,  peonies so much in fact, that he based Peoneve, the eau de parfum he created for Penhaligon’s in 2012, on them.

Peoneve, according to the Penhaligan’s web site is “an exquisite portrayal of an English garden in summer, bursting with lush green foliage and heady with the scent of blossoming flowers. At the garden’s heart grows the radiant Peony flower…”

An English garden in summer? I’m up for that.

Peoneve opens sharp and green from violet leaf which soon softens allowing a lush note of peony to come centre-stage. Peony and rose are one of perfumery’s BFFs, they also bloom at the same time so it makes sense that there would be a luscious, peppery Bulgarian Rose note backing up the peony. Hedione adds a whiff of jasmine while lightening and opening up the whole fragrance. Over time vetiver appears, picking up the green from the opening and adding an earthy, grassy, garden note while musk and cashmere wood give it a musky warmth at the base. The drydown is light, floral, earthy and musky-woody.

What makes Peoneve so FBW is that M. Cresp doesn’t let the Bulgarian rose or the violet dominate the peony, he just lets them highlight it so that he gets the most out of it.

I can’t speak to how accurately Peoneve represents an English garden, but I can say that it smells of peonies in bloom in my garden making it a perfect summer scent and a welcome alternative from the citrus-based scents that tend to dominate summer.

Still, I’ve worn this frag all year round not just because it’s so gorgeous, but just so I can stop and smell the peonies whenever I want to.

Peoneve is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $5.00 for 1 ml.