Sunday, June 27, 2010
Penhaligon's - Amaranthine
Nose: Bertrand Duchaufour
Notes: Top: Green Tea, White Freesia, Banana Tree Leaf, Coriander Seed Oil, Cardamom Absolute; Middle: Rose, Carnation, Clove Oil, Orange Blossom, Ylang Ylang Oil, Egyptian Jasmine Absolute; Base: Musk, Vanilla, Sandalwood, Condensed Milk, Tonka Bean Absolute.
Lily and dirty Jasmine eat green bananas and condensed milk with silver spoons.
A little background on the name: the Greek amarantos was a mythical flower that never faded. The amaranth family of plants are often purple or gold and Penhaligon's offers Amaranthine in a deluxe bottle of purple glass but to me the colours of this perfume are green with white and creamy pale yellow.
Amaranthine is a sensual bouquet of rich milky tropical flowers with a hint of sweatiness complimented by green leaves and sandalwood. Penhaligon's calls it a "corrupted" floral oriental. It does remind me of a tropical jungle: damp, ripe and sexual in both its rampant growth and decay.
Amaranthine starts with warm spices and green bananas. It sounds a little weird but actually smells wonderful. The middle is where the sexy, tropical flowers take centre stage. The major player in Amaranthine is ylang ylang, a yellow flower from a tropical tree that wikipedia says smell like custard and jasmine. Bertrand Duchaufour says that there is 5% ylang ylang in there. That's probably the note I think of as a lily, with it's feeling of thick fleshiness. Added to this are white florals like jasmine and orange blossom, with their indolic hints of sex, decay and intimate areas of the body. There's a feeling of close skin and warm nights created when you wear Amaranthine.
Beneath the green banana leaves and sexpot flowers are sweet creamy notes of vanilla and condensed milk. Some say this gives Amaranthine a "rice-pudding" feel but for me the sandalwood keeps it from being foody, and makes it just smooth and sexy and comforting. There is a metallic edge though, like eating green bananas and milk with a silver spoon while surrounded by thick, heady flowers.
Amaranthine is a favourite of mine and made me fall in love with Bertrand Duchaufour. I have several of his perfumes now and I'll probably continue to collect whatever he creates. Maybe next week I'll review one of his latest, Nuit de Tubereuse, which many say has a similar feel to Amaranthine, while being completely different.
Painting: Tamara de Lempicka, Printemps