Penhaligon’s the famous London perfume house was founded in 1867 by William Henry Penhaligon, born in the town of Penzance, Cornwall, in the far west of England.
Trained as a barber in Cornwall, he moved to London for work in the 1860’s and following his several very successful years tenure as resident barber at the ornate Turkish baths at Jermyn Street, St. James’s, eventually became Court Barber and Perfumer to Queen Victoria. His Royal warrant of appointment secured his reputation amongst the aristocracy and well connected of the era.
Penhaligon’s first own fragrance, created in 1872, was named ‘Hammam Bouquet’ in honour of his previous work place and where his noble and famous clientele frequented.
The scent Hammam Bouquet remained the creator’s lifelong personal favorite. Its base notes include musk, amber and sandalwood, the middle notes of roses, cedarwood, orris and jasmine, and the top notes are lavender and bergamot. It remains one of Penhaligon’s bestsellers today.
Other famous scents created included English Fern and Lords, both created in 1911 and still available. The Edwardian classic Blenheim Bouquet, created in 1902 for the Duke of Marlborough, was Sir Winston Churchill’s favorite.
Blenheim Palace, after which the fragrance was named, was the ancestral seat of the Duke of Marlborough and Churchill’s birthplace. You can even buy the fragrance at the palace today.
The original Penhaligon’s shop was situated in Jermyn Street, st James’s next to the street’s Savoy Turkish Baths at No.92. where William had worked. Both buildings however were destroyed in the London blitz in 1941.
A new Penhaligon’s shop was opened in 1975 in Covent Garden by the fashion designer Sheila Pickles, with the help of the italian film director Franco Zeffirelli. Pickles drew upon the formulas left by William Penhaligon himself, and also introduced a range of traditional floral scents for women, notably their unique and distinctive Bluebell, which is still a very popular today.
Penhaligon’s use only very fine and rare ingredients in their scent creations, such as hand-squeezed oil of bergamot and jasmine oil – weighing in at twice the price of gold.
In addition to scents in the form of colognes, eau de toilettes and eau de parfums, Penhaligons also sells bath oils, bath and shower gels, body lotions, hand and body creams, talcum powders, soaps, shaving creams, shaving soaps and after shave balms and fragranced candles.
All Penhaligon’s products are beautifully presented and packged and make exceptionally tasteful gifts for him or her at any time of year. Jude Law and Kate Moss are current patrons.
One extra special treat is to have a signature fragrance specially formulated for you, or a loved one, by their in store experts, a unique fragrance created to be perfect for the individual.