Shiver Down My Spine – Review: Penhaligon’s Amaranthine

The white floral category and I, we don’t see eye to eye most of the time. Trust Bertrand Duchaufour to create one that is so different, so intriguing and so exotically sensual, I fell in love at first sniff and more importantly, stayed in love after many wearings.

Amaranthine is the most interesting and untypical perfume the traditional and very British (I love the British, mind you!) house of Penhaligon’s has ever launched.

It was created by the man who is expanding his range and our horizons rapidly and decisively – Bertrand Duchaufour – in 2009. Notes include green tea, freesia, banana tree leaf, coriander, cardamom, rose, carnation, clove, orange blossom, ylang-ylang, jasmine, musk, vanilla, sandalwood, condensed milk and tonka bean.

Amaranthine smells strikingly exotic and different, as well as eerily familiar from the first sniff. It merges a voluptuous and generous floral bouquet dominated by ylang-ylang and accessorized with rose, jasmine and orange blossom, with a streak of green and spicy notes that run through the fragrance from the fresh top, via the massive and enveloping heart, on to the creamy, sandalwood-rich and tonka-sweetened base. That green, spicy thread running through the fragrance keeps it from becoming too much, too over-the top, it balances it perfectly and renders it more interesting in one fell swoop.

A milky note, that is very prominent to my nose, manages to make the perfume at once comforting, nurturing and warm as well as sensual, smooth and languid. It is adding a naughty element. That toe-curling element, that eye-rolling element, that shiver-down-the-spine element…

Amaranthine is one of those perfumes you should probably not wear on the first date, but it would be the perfect choice on the third. Amaranthine is one of those perfumes that draw me in, that make me want to stay close to it.

What I love most about Amaranthine is that is one of those perfume that makes me swoon, makes me rave, makes me gush about it, it touches me, it engages me, it wakes emotions, it makes words rush out of me to try and describe what it can do, so you can feel what I feel.

And this ability to influence me so profoundly, to draw me out of my shell, to let me experience my sensual side, instead of the usual common sense and practicality driven persona that manages my day to day life, is what I really appreciate and what I am grateful for.

To M. Duchaufour, to Penhaligon’s, and to the lovely people who sent me samples, you know who you are! Also I would certainly be thankful to the nice person who gave me a bottle of this for my birthday. :)

Image Source: Woman’s Bare Back Via
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58 Responses to Shiver Down My Spine – Review: Penhaligon’s Amaranthine

  1. lady jane grey says:

    After all, there are some things you and me are pretty similar : I love the British, I love Duchaufour and have my problems with white florals in parfum…
    So of course I had to try Amaranthine – and I loved the first spritz, its greenness, loved the “burst” in the heart. But… the drydown turned soapy and irritating on me. Hm, the problem might be though that it was my first date with Amaranthine – I probably should give him another chance, or two… (wearing Penhaligon’s Blenheim Bouquet today…)

    • Olfactoria says:

      I know what you mean, at one wearing I experienced the soapiness too, but only that one time, maybe when it is very hot it turns a little soapy? I don’t know, but its good sides totally dominated for me. :)

  2. Tara says:

    What a wonderful review! You have described your personal reaction to the scent beautifully. It’s the kind of reaction I think we all hope for. So pleased Amaranthine does that for you. Sadly the milky note just didn’t work for me but I have huge admiration for Bertrand D’s ingenuity and the perfume’s unique character. It is utterly unmistakeable and unlike anything else I’ve ever tried. Hope you get that full bottle for your birthday – thank goodness for that embargo exception!

    • Olfactoria says:

      Thank you, Tara!
      I generally love milky notes in a fragrance (Le Feu d’Issey for example). About that birthday bottle – We’ll see, I am giving my husband a list that he can choose from, to it is still a surprise, but one that I’ll certainly like. :)

  3. vanessa says:

    Great review which exactly captures the narcotic sensuality of Amaranthine! It manages to be lush and naughty and comforting all at once. I was fortunate to attend one of the launch evenings for this in London and to be sniffed by BD while wearing it. As you can imagine, I didn’t wash for several days straight – well, not that arm anyway.

  4. malsnano86 says:

    So you found it slightly naughty too?

    Would it shock you to know that I wear Amaranthine to church? I do. I have a small decant that I enjoy very much.

    No naughtiness on me. No shivers and swoons, just beauty. Rich, relaxed, smiling beauty. It’s one of those scents that just seem to sink into the skin and waft loveliness up from the cozy warmth of skin. I’m not getting quite what you get, but I know I get that eyes-rolled-back-in-ecstasy thing from other scents, and I know what you mean by it!

    • Olfactoria says:

      I find it naughty, but it doesn’t shock me at all that you wear it to church. :)
      Which perfumes induce that eye-rolling in you, Mals?

      • malsnano86 says:

        A lot of people find it slightly naughty. I’m just not one of them… naughty, for me, is Citizen Queen or Lumiere Noire pour femme. Unwearable Ho Panties is Joy. (Yes. Yes, I am sacrilegious about Joy.)

        Eyes-rolled-back swoon: La Myrrhe, Carnal Flower, DSH Oeillets Rouges, Le Temps d’une Fete, vintage No. 5 parfum… that little shiver, the “ooooh, this is so GOOD” exclamation…

    • vanessa says:

      How funny – I was talking about this today, speculating on whether some people might “register” this quite differently from me – consider it a church scent even – and there you are! : – )

  5. deeHowe says:

    My husband and I had our first kiss on our third date, almost seven years ago! I love that you said Amaranthine would be perfect for the third date. :)

    When this came out, and the first round of reviews hit the blogs, I had ZERO interest—I don’t even know why. It just didn’t appeal to me. However, suddenly last week I was struck with a sudden interest and craving for it, and wouldn’t you know it? You had been wearing it and preparing this review! I think Penhaligons is sending me a sample, and I can’t wait to try it!!!

    Don’t worry, I plan to re-read and provide a useful comment once I’ve smelled the juice ;)

    • Olfactoria says:

      Dee, how lovely! It is the perfect lean closer scent then… ;)
      How great is it that Penhaligon’s is sending you a sample? Perfect! You are no big fan of white florals normally either, so I am really curious what you will think!

  6. You had me at Penhaligon’s and Bertrand Duchaufour and exotic. :) I love the idea (and the bottles) of Penhaligon’s, but most of their line is way too missish for me, so I didn’t really notice this launch I guess. Thanks for posting about it. (I think over the past month or so you have almost single-handedly doubled my list of scents to smell!)

    • Olfactoria says:

      I am glad (or sorry, depends on the viewpoint) to induce so many lemmings in you. Let me know whether you like Amaranthine, when you get the chance to sniff it! :)

  7. Marie says:

    I love Amaranthine, but then white florals and a bit of fruit is just my thing :-) It is high on my list on possible-first-niche-buy-list (Hermes is not niche, I suppose) because it it is quite unusual and so utterly pleasing and charming. I don’t remember soapy (or maybe I wouldn’t notice, as soapy doesn’t bother me), but I do remember a hit of warm banana a some point – not very pronounced but hot fruit, it was. I feel vindicated by this fruity niche scent, as fruity (florals are) is generally frowned upon in perfumista world and I kinda like fruit and floral – he he ;-)

    • Olfactoria says:

      There is fruity followed by not much as in many new mainstream releases and then there is fruity done the Duchaufour way, I am clearly a fan of the latter. :)
      I love that you like Amaranthine as well!

      • Marie says:

        I totally agree: This is fruity the great way! There are too many dull fruity fragrances out there and they give fruity a bad rep ;-)
        Just thinking about Amaranthine makes me smile – must find my sample and wear it tomorrow.

  8. Marla says:

    I love Amaranthine, but I strongly recommend anyone considering a purchase try it first. It’s very animalic on me and definitely not work-appropriate, but I love to wear it at home. Others get more of a clean soap note, others, milk and cereal. Definitely a chimera! And I love that green banana note, too….

    • Olfactoria says:

      It is so interesting how differently it appears on different people. A friend of mine also says it is very, very animalic and raunchy on her, and Mals says she wears it to church… ;)

      • Marla says:

        I’ve asked BD how he gets that chimaeric/animalic effect, it’s not cumin but it’s similar, so far, no definitive answer, but then he’s not exactly a muggle….;-)

  9. Julie says:

    I ordered a sample of this after al the hype when it was first released. I only sprayed it once because I smelled cumin – not a ton, but I am a cumin-phobe (in perfume, not food!), so once I sniff it, it kinda ruins the rest. I need to get it out and try it again as you make it sound so lovely!

    • Olfactoria says:

      I do not like cumin either, at all! But I don’t register it in Amaranthine, thank goodness! Thank you, Julie, for your nice words. :)

      • Marie says:

        I don’t get any cumin either in Amaranthine, and I love cumin (in food and perfumes).

      • Julie says:

        Wearing it today and not getting the cumin (yay!), but I also don’t get the milky/naughty stuff people mention. Maybe I should spray it – things are so different when dabbed vs. sprayed. I just don’t have enough spray vials for all my little sample vials!

        • Olfactoria says:

          I agree, there is a huge difference between spraying and dabbing. I can’t form an opinion on something I have not sprayed, so I transfer everything, it is a nuisance, but it pays off. :)

    • Marie says:

      Hi Julie, were you the Julie that recommended Jennifer Lopez Deseo on Beauty on the Outside? If yes, just wanted to know that I went out and bought it, and i like it very much. It is feminine and masculine at the same time which I love, and the masculine touch compliments the sweetness in an accomplished manner. So, thank you for pointing out the qualities of Deseo :-)

      • Julie says:

        That’s me! I actually wore Deseo earlier this week since it seemed right for the warm weather we’d been having lately. So glad you like it! It’s such fun to find a cheap thrill (and a celebrity scent that isn’t awful)!

  10. Axum says:

    Oo, Amaranthine – Olga convinced me to try it at her shop in Ottawa. It wears by turns naughty and soft for me, and I love that sort of unpredictability! Am enormously tempted to get a decant, at the very least. Thanks for a most enjoyable read :)

  11. Undina says:

    I gave this perfume four tries in two months. I wanted to like it. I don’t. It’s not unpleasant on me or anything like that. It’s just absolutely not interesting. My last comment in my diary for Amaranthine: “it was nice. But I’m not sure I’d want even “a bottle from the sky”.

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  21. AmyD says:

    I just discovered your blog; thank you so much for your wonderful reviews!

    I’ve been wearing mainstream perfumes since my teens, but I’ve just entered the world of scents outside the major department stores. I have about twenty samples I’m working through from Luckyscent, and today I tried Amaranthine.

    I can’t help it, I’m a floral fiend, but I’m getting tired of the sweet notes that are so prevalent in many perfumes. Amaranthine is, in a word, awesome – right up my alley, floral and delicate but also seductive. I like your third-date analogy, but I’d be happy wearing this every day, I think. Thanks again for such a lovely write-up of this great fragrance!

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