Penhaligon’s Vaara

Last one of this set. It’s been really fun trying out all of Penhaligon’s interpretations of womans’ fragrance, and I didn’t think I’d like this company anymore than I did but this set was delightful and now I own at least a little bit of 7 of their fragrances, which is crazy! The only other quantities I have to rival it is my number of L’Artisans and Annick Goutals. I love Serge Lutens as well, but I have like nothing sample or FB-wise relative to the number of fragrances I could have.

Alright, no more daydreaming. Let’s get on with the last one, shall we?

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Vaara

  • Wet: mimosa (the drink), honey, fruit juice, sweet rose
  • Dry: sweet rose, peony, magnolia, iris, saffron, honey, sandalwood, resins

There’s some kind of issue I think with these fragrances all starting with the smell of solvent (alcohol) which is why my first impression was of a mimosa. It always goes away fairly quickly, but I’m just hoping this little criticism is simply because of the way I apply it. Obviously, gently dabbing the wax bit of the stopper and then trying to pour a little bit of fragrance on one area will probably change the beginning a little bit. Anyway, I feel like I just upended a bottle of holy water onto myself after rubbing my skin with frankincense.

Strong jammy rose, bolstered by the sweet peony and magnolia, sweetened with honey, all anchored on wood and resin. Like a really interesting take on moisturizing rose oil (apparently it’s a shower cream! I’m honestly not sure what a shower cream does.) The saffron is pretty true to real saffron, adding a sense of ozone and depth, as if the fragrance on your skin is still wet in some way, and this is another use of iris that I don’t dislike. It’s only really there to prop up the saffron and add more floral sweetness anyway. The whole effect is watery and tea-like, and sinks into the palate so you can almost taste it as if you’re sipping a viscous strong floral tea. It’s strong, sweet and juicy, no doubt about it, but it’s not overwhelming at all.

It definitely reminds me of this one Moroccan restaurant I love where the waiters wash your hands in rosewater before you eat and if you’re there on a Friday or Saturday night you pay a little extra for a belly-dancing. And the food is amazing.

Out of the five, this one is probably my favorite construction (though Empressa is my favorite fragrance out of all of them!) It’s just so seamless: the rose and peony riding on this citrusy, juicy, saffrony thing, on a sticky stone. I detect all of them in a gradient and it’s all very harmonious. I think they did their Indian-inspired concept very well, and I’m kind of excited that this is also a candle, because I think a little smokiness would utterly complete the fragrance as a “real place representation.”

Anyway, if you like rose water, put this on. Have it on at the office if your office crush is a quiet one, or splash a little on before diving into a book.

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