Penhaligon’s again? May one or the other of you think … however, the two today’s candidates Constantinople and Halefti Cedar have long been at the top of my to-review list and now finally arises the opportunity to present these two fragrance treats to you. Both are part of the opulent Trade Routes collection, which pays homage to and is inspired by the ancient trade routes of the British Empire. You may remember that I reviewed Babylon and Halfeti Leather last September. Two fragrances which are also part of the Trade Routes of the traditional British fragrance house.
Penhaligon’s is a brand that I love not only because of the wonderful Portraits collection. I like the gorgeous press photos, the sometimes more, sometimes less amusing, but always worth reading stories behind the fragrances and the usually finely composed creations. Of course, not every Penhaligon’s meets my personal taste – just as with all other fragrance brands – but it does not have to. The full package is simply right, and that’s what makes it so fascinating for me. 🙂
Constantinople – Trade Routes
In the olfactory canvassing of the old trade routes of the British Empire Constantinople, the metropolis on the Bosphorus, known today as Istanbul, should not be missing. Founded in the 7th century BC by Dorians – at that time the settlement was still called Byzantium – the city was first taken over by the Romans and finally by the Ottomans. Thanks to the Roman Emperor Constantine, Byzantium became Constantinople and later Istanbul. Due to its unique location and large port facilities, Constantinople became a trade center for all kinds of goods from the wide world early on.
The tides of the Bosphorus, steady, like ebb and flow in the river of time. The queen of cities at the crossroads of continents. Between Europe and Asia, between the Black Sea and the blue waves of the Aegean. Two worlds that touch.
The fragrance notes of Constantinople already sound more than tempting: pine, pink pepper, lavender, iris, rose, geranium, patchouli and moss. The perfumer, I can not tell you with one hundred percent certainty. Fragrantica names Christophe Raynaud and Marie Salamagne – the former has already created the Trade Routes fragrance Cairo – but this information is nowhere else on the Internet or press material.
Constantinople – Greetings from the Bosphorus
Constantinople starts the fragrance surprisingly sweet, thanks to lush and exceedingly creamy iris nuances that seem almost chocolatey. Bright and dry pine meets a delicate pepper spiciness in the background. Lavender flashes here and there from the sea of iris cream, while a delicate, enchanting rose punctuates the sumptuous display.
Its lovely floral, at times almost melon-like notes provide lightness, excitement and a good balance between firm, creamy nuances and ethereal airy ones. Patchouli gives the eau de parfum gently earthy tendencies in the finish, which are accompanied by woody moss.
Constantinople is a soft and powdery creamy iris fragrance from Penhaligon’s, enhanced with lovely rose and a woody earthy finish. An absolutely serene and relaxed eau de parfum, oriental, sweet and with a good presence. Remarkable is the durability, because even after hours Constantinople is still quite perceptible. Significantly lighter and more transparent, but the lovely creamy note of the iris remains. Friends of iris fragrances as well as iris-rose combinations, oriental creations without excessive spice involvement should definitely take note of this eau de parfum by Penhaligon’s. 🙂
Hafeti Cedar – Cedar from Halfeti
From Constantinople to Halfeti Cedar … I strongly expect our second candidate today to be louder, more opulent and more powerful than the first. Constantinople, while not tame, was rather calmer and quieter, despite its excellent presence and durability – and I don’t mean that negatively at all.
My strong guess is that Halfeti Cedar is the lush counterpart to Constantinople, because the scent notes alone announce splendor: rum, cardamom, peach, saffron, mineral notes, immortelle (Italian strawflower), dried fruit, cinnamon, Virginia cedarwood, Atlas cedarwood, vanilla, labdanum (cistus), patchouli and tonka bean. Perfumer of all three is Christian Provenzano.
Halfeti Cedar is part of the Halfeti clan within the Trade Routes family, which has now grown to a trio. Its big brothers are Halfeti and Halfeti Leather, all of which pay homage to the Turkish city of Halfeti on the banks of the Euphrates.
From the banks of the Euphrates
It’s convivial and boisterous in the opening of Halfeti Cedar. Immediately after spraying, the lushly delicious notes of rum and pickled dried fruit, liqueur-like and sweet, are revealed. But the alcohol quickly fizzled out. The scent becomes smoky and spicy – hello saffron! – and reveals distinct and mineral nuances that remind me of the rocky area around the village of Halfeti.
Very dry are the stone accents, which also make Halfeti Cedar lighter and less bulky – compared to the rather lush start. Gentle woody notes herald the appearance of cedar woods, which bring almost powdery, aromatic facets to the fragrant game. The delicate smokiness of the saffron is still perceptible. Patchouli adds subtle earthy nuances, underpinned by tonka bean hay and the warmth of labdanum.
Less opulent than expected, but with just as good a presence and durability as Constantinople, Halfeti Cedar from Penhaligon’s presents itself as a spicy-mineral cedar scent with a tipsy opening and a powdery-warm finish. A dry and unsweet Halfeti brother that should especially please those who have a soft spot for cedar scents. 🙂