Olivier Cresp’s follow up to Juniper Sling for Penhaligon’s was Peoneve, an outstanding portrait of two iconic flowers, peony and rose.
The fragrance glows with heat and life, anchored to the earth with a rich green vetiver note.
If you can imagine a lazy hazy summer garden, warm air thick with buzzing insects, pollen floating by, vapour trails fading across the sky; this is the backdrop for Peoneve, radiating a heady and velveteen aroma through the air. Traffic fumes, kids shouting, grass under your fingers, hot exhaustion. A liquid rose sensation, wrapped gently in an aura of whitest peony. There is just a touch of violet for texture and powder, a small tantrum of drama as the fragrance opens on the skin. This is Peoneve, a fragrance opening its petals to face the full glory of the summer sun.
Penhaligon’s has a golden heritage for its floral fragrances, with some fine portraits of roses, violet, stocks, gardenia, orange blossom, lily of the valley, jasmine and ylang amongst the collection. Peoneve is a beautiful addition to this tradition of floral homage, however there is an edge to it, a modernity, imbued by the crisp aromachemistry and techniques used to create the haunting accords.
CO2 extraction has been used for the violet in the top of the scent and the rooty vetiver in the base. This technique is relatively new and was widely used in the coffee industry in the manufacture of decaffeinated coffee. Traditionally solvents such as hexane were used in the extraction of raw materials. These solvents had side issues in that they weren’t that suitable for more fragile ingredients and then there was the question of disposing of the chemical byproducts left after separating the solvents from the concretes and absolutes. CO2 extraction is a low-temp, purer extraction technique producing a much truer reflection of the original source material, leaving no trace of the solvent in the final extract.
The ephemeral peony note in Peoneve has been created with Headspace technology, an incredible technique that allows the molecular study of the air around materials and objects to be analysed and later recreated in the laboratory. The white peony note is very personal to master perfumer Olivier Cresp. His family holiday home in Grasse had a garden containing white peonies and visiting with his sister, fellow perfumer Françoise Caron, the scent of these peonies would anchor them to the land and link them back emotionally to the family’s heritage as flower traders.
Cresp used this scent of peonies to remind him of home and heritage after the family home was eventually sold. This note is wrapped around Bulgarian rose absolutes like a halo and illuminates this complex and vivacious eau de parfum.
The musks and cashmere wood in the base of Peoneve are beautifully calibrated, supporting a strong vetiver note and easing out an intensely atmospheric drydown. But the heart of this most poignant of fragrance is the melding of rose and peony and this has been done with consummate skill and attention to scented detail. Peoneve is a rare beauty.
Head Notes: Violet leaf
Heart Notes: Peony, Bulgarian rose, hedione
Base Notes: Vetiver, musk, cashmere wood