Is it too soon to talk about Christmas presents? No? Good, because I’m starting things off with this perfume, Penhaligon’s Countess Dorothea. I’m sure that any perfume from my favourite brand would be gratefully received as a gift, but this one is something special. Part of the portraits collection, it’s fragrance personified. Penhaligon’s Countess Dorothea is described as a ferocious matriarch with a sharp mind, translating into a fragrance with impeccable manners. Refined and thoroughly reassuring. It’s a rich and spicy oriental, and it’s swept into my perfume collection and knocked everything else aside. It’s perfect.
So, what does it smell like?
It opens with bergamot, which has a soft citrus spike to it. This is pretty quickly intensified by the red ginger oil, which instantly makes me think of sophisticated ginger bread. Perfect for the colder weather. I love ginger notes in perfume, they make the whole thing have this delicate spiciness that I find infinitely more interesting than florals. The base notes are sherry-cashmeran, which basically means the whole thing is boozy and soft. It smells…. expensive. Like the countess the perfume is representing, it’s so rich and comforting. I’ve not smelt anything like it before, because it’s so unusual in the boozy velvet- softness of the whole thing with the ginger adding such a spicy twist. I find it lasts beautifully on the skin, and it’s lingering on all of my scarves at the moment.
What makes it such a beautiful gift? Aside from the perfume itself, there’s the beautiful packaging that it comes presented in and the bottle itself is topped with a gold owl head (because why not?). Oh, and you can have the bottle engraved with someone’s name! Very cute. If you’re searching for gifts, the Penhaligon’s site is well worth checking out. It’s full of presents for everyone with this set acting as a thorough introduction to the brand (it also contains my other great perfume love, Artemisia).