Perfumer Alberto Morillas (described by Penhaligon’s Sarah Rotheram as ‘warm and engaging’ and ‘an absolute pleasure’ to work with) was granted exclusive access to rehearsals and to dancers Nathan Young and Lauretta Summerscales, in order to create a fragrance which Penhaligon’s describe as ‘a work of olfactory choreography’. According to Sarah, during this creative process, Penhaligon’s staff have been ‘living and breathing’ ballet.
At the launch party on 22nd May at the Soho Gallery on Charing Cross Road (which was attended by the perfumer, who seemed delighted to be there), guests were treated to films of ballet rehearsals and could also chat to the dancers - as well as sampling, not only the fragrance itself, but a special ‘Iris Prima Punch’ (see recipe below).
Iris Prima opens with notes of bergamot, green amber and pink pepper, chosen to mimic the effect of a prima ballerina in flight. Heart notes include iris absolute and Jasmine Sambac in a ‘sensuous pas de deux’, with Hedione and Paridisione to add luminosity. A base note of leather (the ballerina’s shoe) combines with vanilla, sandalwood, vetiver and benzoin (to signify ‘the soul of ancient theatres’, as well as the rehearsal studios and corridors of the English National Ballet’s home - Markova House in South Kensington).
Iris Prima eau de parfum will be available in 100ml and 50ml sizes (£120 and £85, respectively), from Penhaligon’s boutiques and selected department stores in the UK, on 9th September.
Iris Prima Punch
4 parts Hendrick’s gin
4 parts tonic
4 parts lychee juice
2 parts lemon juice
1 part raspberry and rose cordial
A dash of bitters
(Garnish with cucumber and summer fruits, and serve in a floral tea cup!)