Head, Heart & Base

Each Penhaligon’s fragrance is unique. Constructed from a blend of the highest quality natural sources and the latest technologies in fragrance chemistry.

Each Penhaligon’s fragrance is unique. They are constructed from a blend of the highest quality natural sources and the latest technologies in fragrance chemistry. Alpine lavender, jasmine, rose & coffee absolutes, citrus oils, precious orris from the iris bulb, vetiver, juniper berries, peonies, tonka bean, sandalwood, cedar, frankincense, myrrh, galbanum, vanilla, plums and tea. These are just some of the ingredients found in the Penhaligon’s family of fragrances. Each scent goes onto the skin, interacting with heat and personal chemistry, creating a perfect marriage of fragrance notes and wearer. Fragrance notes develop with the evaporation of the perfume. Thermal motion, ie: skin heat, causes the scent molecules to move and evaporate, creating the effect of ‘scent’.

Penhaligon’s fragrances are alcohol based and designed in specific strengths - colognes, eaux de toilettes and eaux de parfums. These different descriptions apply to the percentages of ingredients to alcohol ratio. Customers can often get confused by these different strengths. Indeed they can vary from fragrance house to fragrance house but are designed to give an indication to how long the scent will last on the skin. Some of our colognes are surprisingly robust & rely on deep base notes to maintain their staying power. Some of our eaux de parfum seem light and fleeting, but settle into spicy depth after 20-30 minutes on the skin.

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Most fragrances are traditionally built around a classic triangular structure with head, heart and base notes.

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Head notes

Smaller, lighter molecules designed to dazzle. They form the initial impression of a fragrance, drawing us in. They are vital, setting the scene, catching the nose. They are usually fresh citrus or green notes and can include lemon, lime, neroli, bergamot and fresher herbaceous notes like lavender, thyme & basil.

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Heart notes

These molecules are more rounded and mature, taking anywhere from five minutes to an hour to develop. Sometimes they blend with the lighter head notes to usher in the complex base notes to come. They can include different ingredients including flowers, spices, woods, resins and grasses.

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Base notes

The heaviest fattest molecules. They lend solidity, depth and resonance to fragrance. They are the notes that many clients are attracted to, such as woods, resins, oakmoss, vanilla, amber and musks. They evaporate more slowly, generally appearing 30 minutes after application.

This journey to drydown is one of the great joys of perfumery. The initial whiff of alcohol, then fresh and floral notes, something warmer and sweeter, down through a stable heart to the drydown.

It is important to understand the way in which scent molecules develop on the skin. This is why we take time to understand the notes and structures of each fragrance. This information is invaluable and will help our fragrance consultants find a Penhaligon’s scent that suits a particular customer.

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Fresh and floral notes, something warmer and sweeter, down through a stable heart to the drydown