Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Review: Penhalingon's Artemisia Solid Perfume - Absolute Love!

I have been given a new addiction: Penhaligon's Ltd. A very kind co-worker wanted to send me a gift after finishing up a project we were working on together. He asked me what my favorite fragrance was. What a question!!! I think my response was exactly this (yay for email paper trail):
"That’s a complex question! Do you mean notes? Or names? Or general smells?  And of course all have multiple answers. Typically I lean toward the Floral-Oriental Family (Burberry Britt, Dolce & Gabbana The One), or in the summer straight Floral (Gucci II, Chanel Chance).  Notes I tend to like vanilla, jasmine. Hate rose for the most part, makes me ill.  But if you’re talking smells, I love vanilla scented things, the smell of baking cookies, and the smell of the MGM Grand Casino in Las Vegas."
Not sure what my co-worker thought about that response, but what he did with it was absolutely delightful. He took my preferences and very thoughtfully picked me up a solid perfume from Penhaligon's Ltd. in London, thinking it would be something very different and special. And oh boy was it! I think he just started a new (and very expensive) obsession for me!

Image from Penhaligon's Ltd.'s Website.
About Penhaligon's Ltd.
It's a fragrance company from across the pond that actually got smart when thinking about fragrance! I love that their philosophy is that a perfume is "liquid emotion". I believe that too. And apparently, the company has been around since the 1870s. You can read all about  Penhaligon's on their website. I encourage you to do so because it is a very interesting read - if you like reading about this sort of thing.

About Artemisia the Scent
I am absolute terrible at describing scents, so here's what I can find from Penhaligon's Website:
"Head Notes
Nectarine and Green Foliage
Heart Notes
Green Apple, Lily of the Valley, Jasmine Tea, Violet and Vanilla
Base Notes
Oakmoss, Sandalwood, Musk, Amber and Vanilla
Created in 2002, Artemisia is both floral and fruity with a beautifully sensual powdery dry down. Caramel soft, sweet, powdery and silky. A tumble of green apples and nectarines washed with jasmine tea and sprinkled with a luxurious medley of violet, cyclamen and lily petals. All this softly unfolds with great subtlety surrounded with layers of honeyed vanilla, warm spices, a touch of amber and a hint of musk. Haunting and addictive."
I mostly pick up the Base Notes, I think. And "Haunting" and "Addictive" are apt descriptors. Seriously.

The Packaging
When opened the package I just had to take pictures of every little step, just to show you the specialness and care that Penhaligon's takes with it's packaging. First the outer box is just adorable - sort of the perfumery equivalent of the Tiffany & Co. box. The name of the fragrance is right on the box and even has it's on seal: Artemisia. I absolutely adore this box and will probably keep it for a very long time.

Once the lid was off there was this little note that said in very large lettering "Keep Me". I felt a little bit like I had stepped into Alice in Wonderland. Knowing "Eat Me" and "Drink Me" have other properties associated with them, I can only hope that "Keep Me" will give me all the poise and sophistication of this lovely packaging (and alluring scent inside). Everyone knows I could use a bit more poise and sophistication (not to mention the confidence needed to attain both). Magical Alice In Wonderland-like concoctions, do you thing!

Next there was a soft grey pouch made out of a fabric similar to suede. The pouch was also adorable and complimentary to the box coloring. As if the "Keep Me" tag wasn't enough to make me think I had something utterly special here, this little pouch would do the trick! Open the pouch, and out comes the silver plated Artemisia compact!

And yes, I do mean compact. There is a mirror and everything! This is going to be so excellent for travel, it's not even funny. I just hope I don't lose it on a business trip! That would be a shame.

I have to say, after seeing this packaging - that special packaging MAC Cosmetics does every year around the holidays ain't got nothing on this!  Their Couture collections should take some notes!

This solid perfume goes on like butter. Just smooth your fingers over the substance and it will glide onto your skin a little shimmery trail. I really do mean "like butter" because it takes a while for this to really sink in.

On the US version of this site, this little compact costs a whopping $80.That's a heck of a gift I received!

My Experience with the Scent
Well when I first opened the compact and tried the solid I can honestly say I didn't smell anything. However, after letting it sit for a while I began to smell this hauntingly sophisticated and comforting smell. I can smell a little bit of the woods, a little bit of baby powder, a little musky scent. And it's always changing. The longer it was on my skin, the more it changed and the more complex the scent became. Most scents I own really hit you in the face with what they are - this one does not. It creeps around you and doesn't let you know what it is until a good while later.

Lasting Power
Maybe it's because this is a solid, but it does fade after a while. I think it might just rub off. But after smelling it I immediately wanted to get myself the traditional perfume bottle as well as the body lotion. I absolutely want to be enveloped in Artemisia!

Bottom Line
This scent, and any of the Penhaligon's scents that I can see on the website, are expensive. But if you find one you like it just might be worth it.

Penhaligon's Fragrance Profiling
Apparently the company offers a profiling service to help you find just the perfect scent. I have tried to fill out their form twice now and sadly can not find a way to actually "Submit" it. If you find a way to make this work, please do let me know! Seems to be a Flash/browser issue.