I have long wanted to try Penhaligons Bluebell, despite knowing that it was a favourite of Mrs Thatcher, of whom I was not a fan. Interestingly, it is also rumoured to have been a favourite of the late Princess Diana, and the very current Miss Kate Moss.
The reason I have longed to try this is two fold. Firstly, when I was growing up there was a field and some woodland near our house which were awash with bluebells every year. I would pick huge bunches of them and the smell of them is a memory that has always stayed with me. Olfactive memory is never to be underestimated and can pack more of a punch than a photo.
The second reason, tied in with the first reason, is that the very first bottle of perfume that I ever bought myself with my own money was a little glass bottle of Bluebell perfume from Boots The Chemist. It was a splash bottle, square, and made of frosted glass. It has long since been discontinued but I remember buying it in my early teens and splashing it on liberally.
I had a Penhaligons Scent Library sample tin for Christmas, but Bluebell was missing. Luckily dear friend of the blog Patsi came to the rescue and I was delighted to receive a sample of both Bluebell and Violetta from her yesterday, for which, many thanks indeed Patsi. I cannot pick a favourite from the two!
Penhaligons Bluebell lived up to my expectations. It smells exactly like a fresh bluebell, only cranked up a little and made more intense. The natural smell of a bluebell is more subtle, but we’re not going for realism here, we are going for reproduction. There is slightly metallic, medicinal tang to it, a little like Jasmine at its freshest. Alongside the central bluebell note ( listed as Hyacinth, but all the same family) are other floral notes that fill in the gaps as the sharp, high pitched Bluebell wavers, unable to keep the fresh note going. Here I can discern Lily of The Valley and a faint rose, before the Bluebell note melds into the spicier, base notes with its cloves and cinnamon, used sparingly, like a faint outline.
There is a definite vegetable note in the base, reminding me that bluebells are related to asparagus, but it is eclipsed by wafts of pleasing flora. Would I buy this? Yes. And I would also buy Penhaligons Violetta and wear them together, because, oh boy, that smells amazing!
You can buy Penhaligons Bluebell from Penhaligons and Penhaligons stockists and franchises, which you can find here. You can also find Penhaligons on allbeauty.com, Amazon UK and Amazon.com, as well as eBay.