When I go shopping for fragrances, I have a belief that it is the perfume that chooses you and not otherwise. How else does it explain how some scents smell like a flower garden on some people yet on me, makes me smell like I fell into a sewer? You see, the scent didn’t choose me
Which brings me to Penhaligon’s of London, a niche fragrance house that hails from England. I seem to recall seeing the iconic flacons sold at Isetan KLCC but I cannot say for certain because I don’t seem to recall it being very prominent. However, I have always held a fascination for the brand so last year when I was down in Singapore, I decided to pay the Penhaligon’s boutique at Marina Bay Shoppes a visit. To cut a long story short, I ended up walking out with Zizonia from the Penhaligon’s Anthology series.
If you’ve never been to a Penhaligon’s boutique, I highly recommend it. I walked in there feeling rather uncertain, knowing the name of only one perfume – the very popular Juniper Sling. I was served by a knowledgeable gentleman who, instead of pushing me fragrances, instead asked me what sort of scents I liked.
So, I told him I went for something a little spicy, woody a hint of sweetness but nothing strong or cloying or floral or fruity or sweet. Basically, I avoid most girly scents. Right off the bat he told me Juniper Sling wouldn’t work for me but I had to try it. I mean, so many people love it! So I did, and gag! I smelled like I’d just poured a bottle of gin all over me and had inbibed glasses of alcohol. I reeked of it! Once we got that out of the way, I was open to trying something new and I was handed samples of Zizonia and Malabah.
I actually tested quite a few different scents, and I realised that the scents at Penhaligon’s are quite different from those at other niche brands like Jo Malone or Diptyque which I’m a little more accustomed to. They’re quite different from the regular counter perfumes as well and I liked that difference!
The flacon is prettily packaged for one.
Penhaligon’s fragrances come with a jaunty bow in different colours tied around the neck and the shape of the bottle is quite distinct. When I eventually told the SA that I would take Zizonia, he actually told me that I had expensive taste, because it turns out that Zizonia is part of the Anthology Series, which is a series of classic Penhaligon’s perfumes from their archives and only came in one size – 100ml. Regular scents come in 50ml and 100ml sizes which of course meant also that this was more expensive.
The box tells the story of Zizonia which was a perfume originally created in the 1930s and is described as a “nomadic and mysterious oriental, an odyssey of burnt spices, patchouli and pepper, leading to a lush oasis of sweet orange, ginger and vetiver. Heady and exciting”
You know what? It is. I had to have it.
On me, Zizonia has a very distinct scent that I have not found in any other brand. Despite being an Eau de Toilette, I find it fairly longlasting and it sits well on my skin for almost the whole day. At the end of the day, I still smell whiffs of it which makes me very happy.
At the first sniff, I get a sharp peppery and spicy scent that to some hints at masculinity. For me, it hints at warmth. It then settles down quite quickly to a more well rounded, slightly sweet orange and bergamot scent tempered with a woody vetiver and settling down on my skin as a spicy, warm, oriental, woody scent. It’s wonderfully complex and incredibly unique and I love this one!
Officially here is the breakdown of Zizonia scent:
- Head notes: Orange, Bergamot, Coriander
- Heart notes: Lavender, Nutmeg, Cardamom, Ginger, Geranium, Black Pepper, Cumin
- Base notes: Patchouli, Amber, Cedarwood, Vetiver, Sandalwood
I don’t spray on too much as I feel it to be a bit strong, and since it lasts on me, I’m quite happy to be economical with this. In a cooler environment, this warms me up but even when it’s hot as it is here, I don’t find it too strong nor too heady although those who aren’t fans of spicy scents might.
I wear this quite often and it’s quickly become my signature scent simply because it’s incredibly unique. The other nice thing about these niche perfume brands is that the scents aren’t segregated into men or women perfumes. Anyone can wear any scent, so long as you like it! I would peg Zizonia for a slightly more masculine perfume scent but if you like slightly masculine scents and oriental spicy scents then you may like Zizonia.
But if you are a girly girl in your perfume preferences then this one will not be for you at all. But then, there’s always a perfume for everyone and as I believe, it will choose you
One more thing that I loved about the Penhaligon’s boutique. After packing up my perfume, they sprayed their Penhaligon’s tissue paper with my choice of scent i.e. Zizonia, wrapped everything up and placed it in a paper bag. When I got home, I used the tissue paper as liner for my drawers and everytime I open my drawer, I get a whiff of Zizonia. Absolutely wonderful
I’m happy Zizonia chose me
Have you tried Penhaligon’s fragrances? Do you have a fave from this brand?
I’m very new to Penhaligon’s and since I don’t think we have a boutique here, it’s going to be hard for me experiment a little more but I suppose I could always save it up for the next time I visit Singapore or come across a Penhaligon’s boutique anywhere in future If you have a rec, please share. I’d love to check it out!
Penhaligon’s Anthology Series Zizonia Eau de Toilette Price: S$290/100ml Availability: Penhaligon’s boutique in Singapore