High Spirits – Review: Penhaligon’s Juniper Sling

By Tara

Juniper Sling is an homage to London Dry Gin and the Jazz Age.

Really, you couldn’t get a better beverage to inspire a fragrance than gin. It can be infused with a wide range of natural botanicals including citrus peel, almond, angelica, saffron, orris root and even frankincense.


Perfumer Olivier Cresp was an interesting choice for Penhaligon’s who released this EDT in 2012. Cresp has largely worked on mainstream fragrances including Dolce & Gabbana’s Light Blue and the game-changer that is Thierry Mugler’s Angel. From the notes it looks like he infused some gourmand nuances into Juniper Sling:

Top notes: Cinnamon, orange brandy, angelica, juniper berry
Heart notes: Cardamom, leather, black pepper, orris wood
Base notes: Brown sugar, black cherry, vetiver, ambrox

juniper sling

The botanicals are released into the air straight out of the bottle. Chiefly the aniseed of angelica, the piquancy of black pepper and the gin of juniper. There’s also a very nice orange brandy accord. Fellow cinnamon-phobes need not fear, I can’t detect it except for a little sweet and spicy warmth. It’s a great opening.

Juniper Sling settles down to a powdery, sweet and softly musky skin scent. I wouldn’t actually describe it as boozy from this point. It’s uplifting and light-hearted but not alcoholic. On me, it’s mostly about the tame musky/labdanum-y scent of ambrox and the gentle aniseed of angelica.

Angelica can be herbal, green and spicy, the way it is in Angelique Sous le Pluie for example, or aniseed, peppery and musky, the way it is here.

Although there are contrasting sweet and savoury facets in Juniper Sling, the sweetness takes over.

I don’t find it fleeting the way some do, but it stays close to the body. Bear in mind that it is an eau de toilette so lasting power will be limited. It could easily be worn by either gender. It’s as androgynous as the boyish figure of a flapper.

The backdrop for Juniper Sling is 1920s London, when the bright young things were doing the Charleston and listening to Jazz which were new, exciting and a little daring. No doubt they’d be smoking and drinking a few gin cocktails too. The mood was carefree and hedonistic, without a thought for tomorrow.

I must admit I don’t find the fragrance as heady and boisterous as the Roaring Twenties. It’s rather too subdued for that, but this impression is probably down to the fact the deeper accords don’t show up on my skin (such as the leather, black cherry and vetiver).

In the end, the musky sweetness is just too persistent for my taste. All the same, Juniper Sling is a playful yet modest fragrance which I can imagine working well as a discreet work scent.

What are your favourite alcohol inspired fragrances?


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26 Responses to High Spirits – Review: Penhaligon’s Juniper Sling

  1. Asali says:

    I remember this one, and very much agree with your description of it being subdued, I also don’t remember the deeper facets showing on my skin. I didn’t know that it was inspired by the 20’s, so I learned something 🙂 i like juniper sling ok, although my favourites would be Idole edt and atelier d’artiste, both a lot spicier and darker. I suppose it’s not because of the alcohol that I like them 🙂 So I prefer the few perfumes that remind me a little of champagne like Vega, Arpege and royal Bain de Champagne.

  2. Vanessa says:

    I own and like this one, and consider it very suited to weather when the *temperature* is in the roaring twenties – or thirties even, if we are talking the continent. It has a wonderfully cooling quality. But it is subdued and I like its powdery sweetness well enough. Like a G & T version of Dior Homme, maybe?

    • Tara says:

      Ha! Very good, V. It wasn’t as refreshing on me as I had hoped but I can imagine you wearing it well as the temps rise. Many thanks for the decant – I’d wanted to try it properly for ages.

  3. Michael says:

    You can count me in the camp that find this one a bit fleeting Tara. I don’t recall getting more than a few hours from this which is a shame. Booze inspired fragrances though? Gosh I don’t think I have any. Perhaps a few with booze nots but even those are few and far between. My favourite of these is probably Vraie Blonde with its champagne and cognac but then again, I’m a sucker for clean aldehydes.

    • Tara says:

      Michael, I’m definitely in the minority when it comes to the lasting power of this one. I struggle to find any boozy fragrances in my collection too because I usually find them too loud and overwhelming.

  4. cookie queen says:

    I actually didn´t mind this, and indeed have some, and no I don´t need to hunt for it!! But I don´t wear it. Nope. No booze inspired fragrances. Those iIhave sniffed don´t do it for me. Quite the reverse actually. See you soonish!! xxx

    • Tara says:

      Ha ha! Glad I haven’t had you scrabbling among your samples for this one.
      I’m yet to find a booze inspired perfume that works for me either but I’m still hopeful.
      It’s nearly February!!!

  5. Sandra says:

    Lovely review Tara. I have not tried this as I do not usually get along with alcohol inspired fragrances. Perhaps I will give it a spritz next time I am in the store. 🙂

    • Tara says:

      Thanks Sandra! I find I get on better with lighter alcoholic perfumes like this than the darker, heavier ones. It might be worth giving it a passing sniff when the weather improves.

  6. Lady Jane Grey says:

    Ah, one of my favorites from Penhaligon’s ! The perfect warm weather booze scent 🙂
    And no, I don’t get the cinnamon either, thankfully…

  7. saffyishere says:

    I’d love to try this. I do like the ‘fizziness’ created by Yvresse., especially during a warm Summer evening. For something darker and “warming’ during the colder months,, there is a ? Frapin scent 1789 or such number. And having recently just received a sample of Idole, I look forward to the cooler weather.

    • Tara says:

      I didn’t find Juniper Sling particularly fizzy but see what you think. Frapin is probably the best brand to go to for boozy scents like 1697 and 1270.

  8. Hey Tara,
    I loved Juniper Sling for the short time I could smell it. In the end it went where it would be much happier, more often spritzed and better loved. I do adore the packaging and the Penhaligon’s bottles feel so nice to hold.
    Boozy scents? I quite like some of the early by Kilian, Frapin, quite a few Bay Rums and Ambre Naguille wears very boozy on me.
    Portia xx

  9. yellow_cello says:

    I’ve only recently discovered gin – and what a discovery! Drinkable perfume 🙂 Sadly I gave away my sample of Juniper Sling last year as it wasn’t my thing at that point, so I can’t tell what I’d make of it now. (I shouldn’t say “sadly” though as I’m determined not to regret giving away samples…but sometimes I do!)

    • Tara says:

      Hello yellow_collo
      Hurrah for drinkable perfume! Give Atelier Cologne’s Cedrat Enivrant a try if you haven’t already. Not my thing but it’s a nicely done gin cocktail scent which is very popular.
      It’s hard – if not impossible -not to regret giving away samples from time to time.

  10. Undina says:

    Gin is one of my favorite hard liquors so I was very curious to try Juniper Sling when it was released. I did. The funny thing is that I love it… on my vSO but I have no desire whatsoever to wear it myself.
    I’ve never thought about drinks-inspired perfumes so I so not have a ready answer. But I want to mention the one that I recently tried and liked a lot – Frapin 1270.

    • Tara says:

      It’s funny how it works like that sometimes. At least you can enjoy it on your vSO.

      It has been an age since I tried I tried it but I think I found 1270 rather too sweet for me to wear but found it to be a great fruity/gourmand/boozy scent.

  11. Suzanne says:

    Sorry that I am late to your review, but I was out of town for a few days.

    I’m really glad you reviewed this one, Tara, because I remember when Vanessa reviewed it, and it sounded so tempting and refreshing (especially as I like gin). And I’m certain that this would be refreshing, but it also sounds like I would have to refresh *it* on my scent-eating skin. I’m not one who cares to reapply perfumes often, so I think I’ll just enjoy Juniper Sling vicariously through your review.

    As for boozy fragrances, I like a number of them: Frapin 1697, Idole, House of Matriarch Carmine … and then, similar to Asali, I love aldehydic perfumes that remind me of champagne, particularly Chanel No. 22 and Vega.

    • Tara says:

      Thanks for taking time to comment after your trip away, Suzanne.

      I really don’t think Juniper Sling is a good choice for someone with scent-eating skin such as yourself. I’m lucky that perfumes seem to last well on me but this is generally very fleeting on most. I never round to reapplying either.

      I was interested to learn your favourite boozy perfumes. House of Matriarch Carmine is a new one on me.

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