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24.5.13

Penhaligon’s Iris Prima: The Spirit of the Ballet

From the age of four, I spent most weeknights in a ballet studio learning to perfect my point. Looking back at those days with fond memories, there are many scents that instantly transport me to those tutu-wearing times. The leather of my ballet shoes, the hairspray in my hair, the fragrance of stage makeup and sweaty leotards - the sense of smell really is the most evocative sense of all. Penhaligon’s, first established over 135 years ago in London, continues to create timeless scents that create real emotion within the wearer. With the latest launch (in partnership with the English National Ballet) Penhaligon’s set about capturing the very essence of the dance, turning to master perfumer Alberto Morillas to create something timeless, yet unique. Alberto was granted exclusive access to the English National Ballet dancers, as well as rehearsals and glimpses from theatre wings, to be able to capture every aspect of the ballet in one perfume.


Upon first breathing in the fragrance, it really did take me back to the studio and remind me completely of my ballet teacher: "A fresh and transparent bergamot opens the dance: its citrus freshness mimicking the graceful flight of the prima ballerina as she leaps into the spotlight. Green amber softens the effect and contrasts with sparkling pink pepper, which resonates like the steps of the ballerina on pointe. Iris soon takes centre stage, eclipsing all around her with her natural grace and powdery charm. In the base, Alberto introduces an intimate, musky leather note to represent the pointe shoe and then light touches of sandalwood, vetiver, vanilla and benzoin to signify the soul of ancient theatres." It's a musty scent that changes as it's worn, reacting to the skin; I adore the leather undertones that make it much more wearable and modern, in comparison to some of the traditional Pentahaligon's scents. It's hard to explain how the scent really captures the ballet, but as a long-time ballerina I can ensure you it does - even down to the soft leather ballet shoe sole used on the bottle and box, instead of a label. You can tell that love, sweat and tears went into creating this scent - both from the perfumers and ballerinas - over the year-long production process. For any ballerina (past or present,) ballet enthusiast or even fragrance lover, this is one scent that will stand the test of time... Just like the ballet itself.

Iris Prima launches into stores on 9th September priced £85 for 50ml Eau de Parfum
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