British perfume house Penhaligon's Est. 1870 are preparing to launch a new Trade Routes themed collection from September 2014 with the titles Lothair, Empressa and Levantium, all inspired by the rich olfactory history of the London docks at the time of the British Empire...
If you can smell a whiff of nostalgia wafting back to us from the glorious hours of the British Empire, you wouldn't be mistaken. Leaving political considerations aside for now, this stepping back down memory lane offers the opportunity to explore how sensitivity to exoticism was developed in the history of the city of London, a trait which remains very much alive to this day.
The brand took inspiration in particular from a 1914 poem by John Masefield, the Poet Laureate, written after his visit of the Cutler Street warehouses,
You showed me nutmegs and nutmeg husks,
Ostrich feathers and elephant tusks,
Hundreds of tons of costly tea,
Packed in wood by Cingalee,
And a myriad of drugs which disagree.
Cinnamon, Myrrh, and mace you showed,
Golden paradise birds that glowed,
More cigars than a man could count,
And a billion cloves in an odorous mount,
And choice port wine from a bright glass fount.
You showed, for a most delightful hour,
The wealth of the world and London's power.
Lothair is signed by perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour.
Top Notes: Red Berries, Juniper Berry, Cardamom, Bergamot, Grapefruit, Fig Leaf Heart Notes: Fig Milk, Lavender, Magnolia, Geranium, Black Tea Base Notes: Vanilla, Musks, Cedarwood, Ambergris, Wenge, Oakmoss.
Empressa is composed by perfumer Mike Parrott.
Top Notes: Blood Orange, Bergamot, Mandarin Heart Notes: Peach, Cassis, Dewberry, Rose, Neroli, Geranium, Cardamom, Pink Pepper, Black Pepper Base Notes: Vanilla Pod, Cocoa, Frankincense, Amber, Musk, Woods, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Maltol.
Levantium is the work of perfumer Christian de Provenzano.
Top Notes: Bergamot, Davana, Saffron, Absinthe Heart Notes: Rose, Jasmine, Violet, Clove, Cardamom, Ylang Ylang, Peach Base Notes: Amber, Myrrh, Guaiacwood, Sandalwood, Cedarwood, Oud, Patchouli, Musk, Maltol, Vanilla.
It is not known yet whether or not the perfumers did historical research to inform their works, or if the fragrances are mostly about poetical license, rêveries on history à la Walter Scott.
A 100 ml Eau de Toilette is priced at 125€.
[Via press release]