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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Spring into Spring: Penhaligons Bluebell

By Tom

A few weeks ago when I had the rare and distinct pleasure of chatting with Tilda Swinton she mentioned to us that before wearing the scent created for her, she wore Penhaligons Bluebell. I remembered that If I'd smelled it, I hadn't done so in years so I might want to revisit.

Penhaligons is the veddy veddy British house, 150 years young that is noted for their quiet, ladylike florals. Bluebell is one of those. It opens with a cool citrusy burst of lily and hyacinth, as fresh and green as the first day of spring. Touches of jasmine and cabbage rose come in reminding me of lazy summer days in the garden. Where other houses would add in a white musk drydown, Penhaligons goes to a dusting of clove and cinnamon to give a hint of summer heat.

You would imagine that the Queen Mum or Miss Marple would wear Penhaligons. That doesn't mean that I'm dropping the dreaded "old lady" bomb: quite the opposite. This one is innocence, youth and freshness personified and I would be happy to bathe in it come the hot summer. Were I still living back East I'd be spraying my scarf with it so I could have a breath of springtime while shivering in the cold..

Bluebell is available at Amazon for $120 for 3.4 OZ or at LuckyScent at $110 for 100ML. I received my sample at ScentBar.

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Blogger Flora said...

Tom, I happen to love English style floral perfumes like this, and Bluebell is lovely. I have a bottle of Penhaligons Lily of the Valley fragrance that's truly delightful.

12:36 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


Right? There's something so blamelessly uplifting to these. The yin to our leather-clad oudy incensy musky yang..

2:36 AM EST  
Blogger Amy K said...

I love the idea of Bluebell, but it's just soooooo sour on my skin. Violetta has a similar fresh English floral vibe and works much better for me. It makes me want to go read some Jane Austen or something.

3:03 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wear Penhaligon's Bluebell or Lilly of the Valley, when I have had an overdose of perfume. When I want to just smell nice without a challenge or having to think about it for a minute. I feel almost like a normal person then, not a Perfumista ;)Thank you for reminding me!

3:15 AM EST  
Anonymous lady jane grey said...

I've never tried that one. The logical reaction would be "off to the shop selling Penhaligons". But unfortunately, work is calling, so it has to wait until the weekend (we have lots of snow here, around Vienna, minus temperatures, real winter).

6:10 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I love Miss Marple. Will have to try this now :)

9:11 AM EST  
Anonymous Perfume Store said...

Interesting. I may have to check out Bluebell myself, as this is the first that I've heard of it.

10:10 AM EST  
Anonymous Marian said...

I'm looking out the window onto my terrace and worrying about whether all the rose canes are going to crack and snap under the mountainous piles of snow which are dragging them down. Maybe instead of a stiff drink I should follow your idea of a spray of Bluebell instead! Perhaps thinking positive Spring thoughts will bring out the sun :-)

10:15 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, dear. Bluebell was absolutely gorgeous, green-spicy hyacinth on me for about five minutes, and then went all Massive Chemical Spill. Distressingly hideous!

Someone on the Posse is always raving about the bath oil, so perhaps that's a slightly different formula.

I do love Violetta very much, and Lily & Spice is quite nice as well.

11:45 AM EST  
Blogger JoanElaine said...

Bluebell has been on my "to sample" list for ages.
Lily, hyacinth, a "dusting of clove" and spicy!

11:50 AM EST  
Blogger EauMG said...

Like Olfactoria, this is one of those fragrances that I wear "to smell like a normal person". It's light and pretty, nice for day/work wear.
Around this time of year, I start to crave lilies and bluebells :)

12:24 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Amy K-

I'm sorry about that! But yes, it does make one want to read Austen!

12:48 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


"When I want to just smell nice without a challenge or having to think about it for a minute"

That's it exactly!

12:50 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

lady jane-

Sorry about the snow! I'm reading about the snow in NYC and shivering just from the memory of it..

12:51 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


Have you seen the new series out on DVD? Wonderful stuff!

12:52 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

perfume store-

it's definitely worth checking out..

12:52 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


Let's hope that positive thoughts and a spritz of Bluebell do the trick. If not, go for the booze say I. ;-)

12:54 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


you and Amy K have the same problem. I can sort of smell where that could happen; I'm glad it doesn't do so on me.

I would love to try the bath products from this house..

12:55 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I's really pretty!

12:56 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I really liked Olfactoria's comment too. It's such a lovely little sun dress of a scent. On a day when you could get frostbite wearing a sun dress (even indoors) it's very welcome..

12:57 PM EST  
Anonymous Musette said...

Alas, Bluebell does to me what is does to Muse. Dang. But I do love Violetta and their LotV.

for the life of me, though, I cannot imagine Tilda Swinton in just seems....strange?


2:09 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I can see it. It's very comforting and the spice drydown is somewhat like a component in "Like This"

2:15 PM EST  
Blogger OperaFan said...

Tom - I've currently got the Bluebell soap scenting my bathroom and I'm loving it in the shower! Bluebell was one of my first niche acquisitions and I love the crisp, spicy blue floral scent, like a walk in a country meadow in the spring. I've also read somewhere that this was one of Princess Diana's scents of choice. Thanks for writing about it!

3:00 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


Thanks for telling me about the soap- I'll have to seek it out!

8:56 PM EST  
Blogger marsha said...

Tom, I've never tried Penhaligons, but I loooove Joan Hickson as Miss Marple!!!!! She was the best!!!


7:45 AM EST  

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