The content in this blog post is based on authentic and genuine personal experience and it is written with full honesty. The items mentioned in this blog post are NOT SPONSORED and they are fully purchased with my own money. As usual, all of my reviews, verdicts and opinions are truthful and will not be influenced by the sponsors/collaborators.
This blog post will start with a product and brand introduction with a first-look review, then it will end with the final verdict. For Mandarin version of this content, please head to RED 小红书 and search for @ itszoelie or 莉莉的小马儿 一帆风顺.
William H. Penhaligon was a man who was very much inspired by the surroundings of his workplace when he was a resident barber. In the year of 1872, his first perfume was inspired by the Turkish Baths of where he worked as a resident barber. Later, he made remarkable concoctions that have placed Penhaligon’s as the world’s most esteemed fragrance house. Penhaligon’s hold two Royal Warrants, offering a dizzying array of unusual and electrifying scents.
Penhaligon’s were then inherit from father to sons since the 19th centuries.
I’ve always heard of this brand from my friends and they’ve gotten me so curious about how their perfume would smell like. When the first Escential store was launched in early November 2021, I went to check on it during the second day of the launch. Made acquaintances with Nicole, the Customer Engagement Officer, who explained really well about all of the brands in store.
A few days later, I’ve gone back to the store to get a box of perfume for my personal shopping client from Penang (Penhaligon’s The Favourite 30ml) and also got my boyfriend an MFK Gentle Fluidity Silver Edition. Both purchases came with two large sets of goodie bags which left a really great impression of Escentials in our minds. In case you’re interested, I’ve set up an IG highlight called ‘Escentials’ and you can see the contents of the goodie bags there.
Fast forward to the near end of November, I received a notification from another personal shopping client to inquire about stock availability from Escentials. Then, I had texted Nicole about it and at the very same time, she had sent me a photo of this Dolly set which had just arrived for the 2nd day and there were only 15 sets distributed for Malaysia’s store. The price was set affordably and I had immediately said I wanted it. I went to get it on the same day, of course. After posting it on RED and IG later in that day, so many people flocked to purchase what was the remaining of 10 boxes left. The Dolly set went out of stock on the third night of arrival.
Dolly was the first round of Penhaligon’s Christmas Edition products for Malaysia. Escentials had no intention to restock it. However, they had brought in Jolly and Little Gems of Luna sets with a similar amount of quantities again (around 15 boxes). Jolly went out of stock on the first day itself after I had posted on the RED app. I got to know when Nicole sent me a message to tell me that I should rephrase my sentences and mentioned that there is no more stocks left. One of my personal shopping clients from the UK had asked me to reserve a box of Jolly and I managed to grab one right before the stocks go off. Phew!
The Dolly Mixture
The Dolly set is exclusively for Christmas time and it is actually the repackaged version of the Ladies’ Fragrances Collection. It contains five miniature perfumes, each of them is 5ml in volume. On Penhaligon’s website, both Dolly and Ladies’ Fragrances Collection cost £40 per set. Over here in Malaysia, the Dolly Mixture set was priced at RM245. It was genuinely a steal! This is because you are getting a variety of popular scents that fits multiple occasions and/or personalities. If you find yourself not interested in a couple of them, they’d look rather perfect as a gift to your friend(s) and/or family.
For a price of RM245, this would put each 5ml bottle at the price of RM49. Based on the price of 100ml for each perfume, they would’ve been between RM43 to RM55 and an average would be RM47.85. Honestly, it isn’t so bad. That -and alongside the tin container- had made it really worth the purchase. (The regular set is contained in a cardboard box instead.)
The five scents in this set were meant to be more feminine. All of them can be considered as the all-time favorites by Penhaligon’s fans. This set starts with The Favourite, Elisabethan Rose, Halfeti, Empressa, and Luna. From what I have seen online, Luna and The Favourite seem to be the highest purchased scents from this very collection. Many felt pleasant by the smell of the concoction and couldn’t resist repurchasing a few bottles more.
Going into the scent review, I know I’ve done scent visualizing with my previous perfume reviews but in this post, there will be an additional section. I will be pulling in my current boyfriend’s thoughts on what these smelled like to him, as well as my own opinions.
The Favourite Eau De Parfum
Waiting won’t do for this lady. She knows exactly what goes on behind Palace doors, and her golden mimosa sways society’s opinion. Her majestic scent of iris and musk greets with a darling smile as she begins to emerge on a sandalwood stage. Released by Alienor Massenet in 2020.
Head: Mandarin, Violet Leaf, Bergamot
Heart: Jasmine, Mimosa, Orris
Base: Indian Sandalwood, Musk, Ambroxan
30 ml – RM465
100 ml – RM875
In the first few seconds, the smells of mandarin and jasmine are rather distinctive from anything else. It does smell a little bit leafy and woody as it slowly sets in. Mostly sandalwood can be smelled. After setting in, the scent of musk surfaces. The sandalwood and musk becomes more and more obvious as it progressively sets in.
It has a very Victorian feels to it. In my head, I see an elegant lady from a well-off family in a pink Victorian dress. She has back facing towards me and she tilted her head to the left, almost as if she’s about to look behind and at me. Her face is calm and she looks comfortable. She walks around a meadow surrounded by tall trees and flowers.
I feel that this perfume fits a lot of people. It’s not a particularly special smell, it doesn’t have a strong scent. It’s like it is meant for people to blend into the crowd. You wouldn’t stand out with this perfume but you will still smell nice.
: The overall experience is still fine. I think the mandarin and the sandalwood are quite prominent.
: It’s alright. Not very special. I guess this is what a lot of people would wear, like if you go to a mall and that’s what almost everyone smells like.
Elisabethan Rose Eau De Parfum
Behold the famous Tudor rose – the flower of England. Inspired by the coming together of houses York and Lancaster, this airy eau de parfum is a harmonious union of rose, hazelnut leaf, and vetiver. Created in 1984 and reimagined by Alienor Massenet in the year of 2018.
Head: Hazelnut Leaf, Almond Oil, Cinnamon
Heart: Red Lily, Rose Centifolia, Rose Absolute
Base: Vetiver, Musk, Wood
30 ml – RM465
100 ml – RM875
In the first few seconds, the leafy autumn smell can be detected. As it sets in, the scent of roses (but not the regular rose smell) can be detected along with some musk. The musk and vetiver smell become more and more distinctive as time passes. It almost smells like the red IKEA candle and I just couldn’t shake that impression off of my head.
It made me think of a small rose garden by a meadow or a jungle. The rose smell is overpowered by other objects around it. On the meadow, there is a lady. She is a little bit distant and a little bit carefree. The person feels alright with being alone and exploring the mountains at her own pace. She doesn’t ask for a lot of things and feels content with what she has.
It really didn’t smell like a full-blown rose garden and it can be a tad bit overwhelming to the nose. I felt a tiny bit dizzy when sniffing it closely. I think the majority part of wearing this perfume would be like being in a jungle with extremely long and thick trunks, and the branches are up there almost sky high. This reminds me of those very confident and indie girls who like to go explore things on their own and hardly ever use social media.
: The rose scent wasn’t that obvious but you can smell a little woody scent from it.
: It’s almost like sitting in a garden cafe. Not particularly for daily wear or fancy occasions but pretty suitable for weekend dates in a high-end restaurant.
Halfeti Eau De Parfum
So this is love. An intoxicating, mysterious fragrance: vigorous grapefruit, Levantine spice, and rose tangle in the moonlight. But what’s that upon the riverbank? Could it be the fabled black rose? Released in 2015 by Christian Provenzano.
Head: Grapefruit, Bergamot, Green Notes, Armoise, Cypress
Heart: Cumin, Nutmeg, Violet, Saffron, Rose, Jasmine, Lily of the Valley
Base: Leather, Oud, Amber, Resins, Tonka Bean, Vanilla, Sandalwood
100 ml – RM1085
It smelled of strong and sharp notes which I honestly could not distinguish even by looking at the notes. As it sets, the spiciness, leather, oud, tonka bean, and sandalwood can be smelled (really strongly to the point that it hurts my nose). Flowery scents are subtle, perhaps overpowered by the other scents. Leather, sandalwood, and oud stand out even more after it completely sets.
The smell immediately reminds me of weapons, leather, wood, drought, and burnt metal. I can’t visualize anyone when smelling this scent but it’s mostly just inanimate objects. It is, honestly, a very drying smell.
Immediately after opening the tin container, I can smell the stinging scent, which implies how strong it is.The strength and the mixture were so overwhelming that I felt dizzy. Honestly, anyone who smells like this would leave an impression as if they want to distance themselves from everyone else whilst staying at the top of the hierarchy. Think of Miranda Priestly from The Devil Wears Prada.
: Genuinely too overwhelming for me. It made me feel so dizzy. I cannot see myself wearing this at all. The leather and oud are strong from the start to the end.
: This scent lingers in the nose so long. If you prefer this type of scent, try Amouage.
Empressa Eau De Parfum
The Empressa leaves an impression. Her eau de parfum is laced with peach, vanilla, and shimmering blood orange, as bright and stirring as the dawn. Her smile? Warm, lustrous, and unforgettable. Created by Christian Provenzano in 2014 as one of the three First Trade Route fragrances.
Head: Blood Orange, Bergamot, Mandarin
Heart: Peach, Cassis, Dewberry, Rose, Neroli, Geranium, Cardamom, Pink Pepper, Black Pepper
Base: Vanilla Pod, Cocoa, Frankincense, Amber, Musk, Woods, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Maltol
100 ml – RM1085
In the beginning, the citrus smells are very prominent but they are immediately joined by the sweet scents of peach, rose, and geranium. As it sets in, a hint of spiciness along with the smell of patchouli and frankincense surfaces. Slowly after, the base notes subtly appear, almost as if it is sneaking their way out, slowly becoming stronger as time passes. However, the head (citruses) and heart (fruits and flowers) notes remain distinguishable.
Think of living in a mansion and looking out to the vast garden in front of the window and there are those rounded sections of orange trees and bergamot plants. The wind blows the citrusy scents into your room alongside the smell of flowers near you. Your room also has subtle scents of frankincense, musk, and sandalwood from the furniture in it. In a section of the house far away from your room, the maids are drying freshly picked peppers under the sun and you can smell a hint of it.
The ladies who wear long, flowy dresses would smell simply amazing with this scent. Think of Florence Welch from Florence and the Machine, or anyone like her. It’s a pleasant, sophisticated, carefree, and elegant smell. For us regular people, I think it would be best to wear it during a fancy occasion. However, it is still a lovely scent to wear on a daily basis.
🙆🏻♀️: The smell of a Goddess. The flowery scents are prominent and a hint of spiciness can be smelled later on.
🙆🏻♂️: I can’t explain it. It’s a very pleasant smell and has a really calming after-smell. Like, after drinking a warm cup of tea. I like this the most.
Luna Eau De Toilette
The Moon Goddess’ bath is as soothing as it is seductive, much like her eau de toilette. It shines with orange, jasmine, soft rose, and fir balsam. Relax. Sink in. Surrender has never felt so sweet. Created in 2016, inspired by the story between Endymion and Selene.
Head: Bergamot, Lemon, Orange
Heart: Rose, Jasmine, Juniper Berry
Base: Fir Balsam, Musk, Ambergris
30 ml – RM465
100 ml – RM875
The bergamot scent was very prominent at the first sniff. The lemon and orange scents help to magnify the bergamot smell with some slight bitterness and a lot of bergamot’s signature smell. As it sents in, the heart notes (Rose, Jasmine, Juniper Berry) start to surface. The base notes (Fir Balsam, Musk, Ambergis) might be softer than the previous perfumes mentioned here. This is because the muskiness is very subtle while being covered by the heart notes.
A soft and fluffy feeling is what I got from smelling this scent. I can see a girl of purity and kindness. She has no negativities at all and feels very content with whatever she’s doing. She wears a soft and fluffy dress that feels very comfortable to be in. She has tiny bouquets of jasmine and roses around her, some are decorated on her head. Somewhere near the outside of her window, there’s a large farm of bergamot orange trees. Far away from the window, there are orange trees and lemon trees. They smell so good and so fresh with the cold breeze blowing into the room.
I like this very much. I think this can be considered the gentlest smell out of all. It feels very fresh and peachy sweet. It would be best to pair this perfume with a set of white-themed outfits. I think it also has the best smell after washing it out while showering. If you are purchasing a perfume set for a couple, Luna and Endymion are the best pair together.
: The citrus smells are so nice! The flowery scents compliment them so well, with jasmine a little bit more distinctive than the rest of the heart notes.
: It is citrusy. It makes me think of summer vacation by the breezy beach.
After almost a week or so of testing, I find that I could never keep my eyes off of the whole thing. I really love the packaging that gives such a true and authentic Christmas feeling. I love that majority of the scents can be worn anywhere and anytime that I like. Most importantly, they really do worth the money. A couple of things to mention:
Application: These glass bottles do not have a sprayer head or a roller. In order to use it, you should dap the perfume on your skin by using the round-head cap. It works like wonder! However, it still has a little difficulty controlling the amount of perfume but this helps to make the perfume last longer. I wouldn’t leave the bottles laying within the tin container even though the fitting of the cushion is very tight but the perfume might still find its way to leaking. Leaving the bottles sitting upright should be the best way to go.
Performance: The perfumes last moderately well. They last about 5 hrs or so. Once it reaches the 5th-hour threshold, you will need to get closer to your skin to smell any remaining scents that are still on your skin. Reapplying is of course needed but it doesn’t seem to smell “old” when doing so, “old” as in you have left it out for years. (Some of the perfumes from other brands tend to smell a little off as you reapply.)
After showering: If you’ve just applied them and then take a shower about a few hours later, the smells are still there but very subtle. While the rest remains subtle at a similar level, Halfeti has the strongest smell of leather and bitterness, possibly harder for me to smell it.
Overall: In general, I think this is quite worth the money. The scents and the packaging made it feel like it costs about RM500 instead, which is two times more than the original price. Not only that the choices of scents are quite diverse. They don’t smell the same and they are suitable for many different occasions. So, they make a really good introductory set for anyone new to Penhaligon’s perfumery.
Personally, I still find that Penhaligon’s scents have lesser layering when it comes to scent-sory sniffing. Usually, Maison Francis Kurkdjian and Creed would give some really wonderful layers alongside better performances and after-smell. Penhaligon’s -to me- is between the score of 7-9. Not the best but not really that average as well. Regardless, they do have unique and fascinating scents that feel like a rather bold choice of concoction for many other perfumeries.
Unfortunately, you won’t be able to get this set anymore, unless Penhaligon’s decided to reproduce the same exact design. However, you can still get the same set as another product name called Ladies’ Fragrance Collections. It is unclear at the moment if Escentials HQ would ever decide to bring discovery sets back here but we could only hope that they do.
Here I conclude this review and I hope to bring more perfume reviews as wonderful as this to you. Have a great day!