Friday, June 17, 2011

For the boys: Penhaligon’s at Crane Brothers


I don’t mention men’s fragrances much on my blog, but I love a good one and am always super impressed with a man who wears something out of the ordinary rather than the generic beauty counter-style scents out there. It’s a crime that almost every big name women’s fragrance out there smells pretty much identical, but often the boys’ ones are even duller.
So, it’s time to break out of that rut! And it’s exciting that over 135 years after the doors of the Penhaligon’s barber shop first opened on London’s Jermyn Street, a selection of their top eight men’s fragrances will be arriving in New Zealand. Stocked exclusively at Crane Brothers – a first for the store – they have been selected by Murray Crane for “the man who has a respect for tradition and heritage.” Crane believes that there is a real synergy between the Penhaligon’s brand and Crane Brothers saying, “Penhaligon’s is a boutique brand that needs to sit in a specialised environment. It has a great heritage and appeals to a discerning gentleman. It is classic but not afraid of being seen as a contemporary brand, and ultimately, this is how we see our own brand.”
Penhaligon’s was founded by William Penhaligon, an Englishman living in an age of excess who was witty, wildly creative and always inspired by the unusual. Many years later his legacy continues, with master perfumers working to interpret the brand’s distinctive ideas, in essence “conjuring up new perfume sensations that flow against the tide”. Crane believes that this desire to be different will be embraced by his customer, “the man who isn’t afraid to make his own decisions when it comes to style, and doesn’t wish to smell like everybody else.” Now that’s the man I’m talking about!
Penhaligon’s scents are still made in England using the finest rare ingredients – from hand-squeezed bergamot, to jasmine at twice the price of gold. Their signature Penhaligon’s fragrance bottle is also still to William’s original design: clear glass with a distinctive ribbon-wrapped stopper, an essential addition to the top of any discerning gentleman’s dresser. It’s the fragrance choice of the sartorially inclined sir and discerning eccentric out there, and if you’re lucky enough you’ll have one of those in your life that will be into this for sure.
Examples of what is now on offer at Crane Brothers include the best-selling Blenheim Bouquet. At its launch in 1902, this was a brave new direction. Citrus based, it opposed the rich, heavy florals that were feted at the time. Taking its name from Blenheim Palace - the seat of one of England’s most respected bloodlines – the fragrance is discreet, sensual and immaculately turned out with a flash of heritage flourish.
Another standout is Sartorial, a contemporary interpretation of a classic Fougère that has been designed to create the perfect illusion of a tailor’s workroom. The modern thread running through Sartorial is beeswax; echoing the blocks of wax each thread is run across before stitching. This ties together the more traditional elements; the oiled flash of shears cutting cloth, the rub of fabric beneath fingers, tobacco tinted cabinetry, puffs of chalk in the air and old paper patterns vanilla with age.

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