Sunday, April 11, 2010

Penhaligon's Amaranthine: Lone Dissenter

Penhaligon’s Amaranthine received (pretty much) across the board excellent reviews. I received my bottle of Amaranthine many months ago and right away there was something about it that didn’t sit well with me. Yes, it’s Bertrand Duchafour and yes, it’s a departure for Penahligon’s but that’s not going to make me like it nor will that make me smell facets and pleasures that aren’t there.

Amaranthine is very sweet. I cannot underscore this enough - it's sweetness level is sky high. To me, it’s a milky vanillic floral. Not even particularly tropical – just a milky sweet scent with unidentifiable florals. It reminds me of Lalique Le Parfum and Kenzo both of which I like much better. Sometimes I think our readers only want good reviews but I do want to offer a contradictory point of view on Amaranthine. I enjoy the beginning of Amaranthine and this is the period of time I feel I’m being too critical, too harsh on this fragrance. But after those 15 minutes fade and it dries down to a swampy, sweet, humid mess, I can't help wonder what everyone else is smelling (only the first 15 minutes, perhaps?). Honestly, if I smelled this blindfolded, after it had been on skin for over an hour, I’d probably think it was something from Avon or Bath & Body Works. I don’t detect spices at all, nothing green, nothing woody. I'm not sure if anyone else mentioned this, but Amaranthine seems a failed Songes. Annick Goutal Songes does the tropical floral vibe with vanilla and soft spices brilliantly. To prove I don't dislike tropical florals entirely, I do love LesNez Manoumalia (this is tropical floral supreme) and L’Artisan Fleur de Liane (delightful green tropical floral).

I'm not sure what the inside of a woman's thigh smells like but I doubt it's anything like Amaranthine. Nor do I think Amaranthine smells corrupted. If anything, it's a gourmand floral concoction, basically comfy, milky, feel-good jus. I envision a tray with rice pudding, warm milk and a pile of sweaty petals and flowers turning brown in the heat of the tropics. Gag.

Turns out the opposite happened for me: I expected to love Amaranthine and I have a like (15 mins)/hate (the rest) relationship with it. I expected to hate Havana Vanille and I love it.

I’m not going to list the notes because you probably know them by now and as far as I’m concerned they’re all lies (!) Green tea? Coriander, cardamom and clove? Orange blossom? Amaranthine smells like this: ylang, indolic jasmine and condensed milk.


em said...

To me Amaranthine smelled a lot like Songes. But with something more green added. Like wet tropical leaves. However I'm not sure the 1 ml sample I had was enough to really get to know the scent properly.

Ines said...

I'm so glad to hear the opposite side even though I fall into the camp of lovers (and honestly, I only caught a whiff of Havana Vanille and couldn't stand it on the paper strip, I will give it another go, but I'm still avoiding it). :)
The drydown of Amaranthine reminds me very much of L'Artisan's Vanilia. And yes, what's with the thigh note?!

Olfacta said...

Yeah, I don't get the "thigh" thing either. There are thousands of possibilities there.

Smedley said...

......and it's perfectly OK if Amaranthine doesn't work for you.

I don't read this blog for 100% positive reviews. I read for REVIEWS - and that means the good and the not so good (and even a baddie now and then).
I am lucky that Amaranthine works on my skin. When I wear it, there is a very interesting interplay between the greens and the creamy aspects. In some ways, it reminds me of Guerlain's Angelique Noir.
To me, Amarantine wore well in cooler weather - I have a feeling it would smell too "too" in warmer weather.
BTW, I've never tried to smell the inside of my thigh -- perhaps I'll ask the hubs (wink, wink, nudge)

krnszn said...

In Amaranthine, all I can smell is cumin!

ScentScelf said...

Sweet Kenzo Amour, you mean? Or a different Kenzo?

Wow! I love hearing different opinions. Sometimes I get a little worried when the world (or sub-world) seems to be moving in lockstep. I haven't yet had a chance to sniff this one, so I have zero opinion of my own. Given the fact that I am one of those who *did* like Havana Vanille, your review offers me a good dose of "Danger, Will Robinson, danger." :)

Please, please, please, tell it like it is. There has got to be room for different reactions, even to perfume houses/perfumers we generally like/admire. Expecting everybody to like every offering is like trying to shape every film to be a blockbuster. Would much rather have a variety out there.

waftbyCarol said...

I didn't like it either - a
too-sweet disappointment .

Mals86 said...

Well, A, you like what you like. (Even if it's, for goodness' sake, LouLou... a big EEK, RUN! for me personally.) It's your blog, so say whatcha want.

I was expecting to like HV more than I do - I *like* it well enough, but I'm glad I only have a decant since it'll probably take me several years to work through it. The part of it I really enjoy is the rich, transparent vanilla-liqueur drydown that shows up after about ten hours on skin, and even then I think to myself, "This is really too sweet, but I kinda like it."

Amaranthigh I only have a small decant of, and I haven't tried it since early December. I liked it quite well, finding it more tropical-floral and less carnal than I'd expected, but I felt that I should put it away for warmer weather... I should get it out again. I did *not* find it too sweet when I wore it in winter, but I'm curious to resmell and see if I still like that green banana/ ylang/ milky skin vibe.

Abigail said...

Hah! Mals, "Amaranthigh"

pitbull friend said...

No, you're surely not the lone dissenter. The notes sounded putrid to me, and the descriptions of it by people who liked it sounded even worse. And thanks for telling it like it is, even if you wind up dissing something I like!

Nathan Branch said...

It's always a bit of a disappointment when a blog-peer turns out to not like something that I do like (and like quite a bit), but only because that's one less shared treasure we can bond over.

But I *heart* Havana Vanille, too, so we have that. ;)

Funny enough, Amarinthine smelled great on my skin, but too feminine for my own personal taste, yet when I smelled it on a female friend's skin, I got that swamp-ish note that you mentioned. It was a bit startling. I was, like, "Hey, why does it smell less than amazing on your skin when it was pretty much the zenith of femininity on mine? That's so not right!"

So I understand where you're coming from when you express displeasure with it. Hopefully, you'll really like the new L'Artisan tuberose that's soon to be released -- it's along the same fleshy lines as Amarinthine, but without the sweetly tropical elements that veered a little too humid for you.