Neutral Reviews of Elixir by Penhaligon's

    Find out more about Elixir by Penhaligon's in the Basenotes Fragrance Directory


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    Way Off Scenter's avatar

    United States United States

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    Genre: Woody Oriental

    Huh? As much as I admire Olivia Giacobetti’s work, I think the mistress of the art has fallen on her face with this one. The Luckyscent web site says “Opulent, complex and mysterious, the new Penhaligon’s creation, created by renowned nose Olivia Giacobetti, is one of the most gorgeous oriental perfumes we have encountered in a long time.” I say it’s a rather thin, pale, woody rose and incense composition that takes aim at Bertrand Duchaufour’s Paestum Rose and misses by a mile. Marketing copy that promises an oriental from Giacobetti had me hoping for another Tea For Two or Idole, but it’s not here.

    13 June, 2014

    Buzzlepuff's avatar

    United States United States

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    Elixir is a spicey mentholated brew of woods, spices, and aromatic elements. I am sure that Olivia Giacobetti intended the mix to be deep and healing and the eucalyptus gives it a penetrating quality that I really enjoy. If you had a head cold or were starting to feel under the weather this mix would smell good inhaled in a steam bath. There is a Marakech type of spice blend mixed into incensed woods plus a little sweetness. I like almost everything about the fragrance except for the pace of the fragrance development. When first applied it is almost searing in hotness, then it is great smelling for a moment and then it withers down to a hint of itself. Giacobetti is well known for her transparent style of perfumery, but unfortunately transparency with Elixir's bold ingredients is a clash of intentions transparency becomes impotency. I love the scent but don't like the unevenness of scent silage and distribution. Rate Elixir as 2.5 stars out of 5.

    01st November, 2012

    blood-orange's avatar

    Australia Australia

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    I love hot, spicy fragrances, particularly those along the lines of Givenchy's Xeryus Rouge with its fiery chilli notes and its raw sexuality.

    Elixir opens a little similar to Xeryus Rouge with a fiery burst of spices, however it soon settles, like a fire that's beginning to burn out.

    It had the potential to be a smoking hot fragrance, yet it has left me slightly underwhelmed, which is a massive shame. It's too light and polite on the skin for my tastes.

    During the opening notes, I can smell the cinnamon, cardamom and what appears to be hot peppers. The scent rapidly cools down into a pleasant, subtly spiced floral with a slightly soapy quality.

    The fragrance chops and changes, one minute it's spicy the next it's soft and flowery. The drydown shows some signs of the scent heating up again, but it never seems to reach boiling point. Rich woods and resins tend to dominate in the drydown, with the incense and vanilla being barely detectable to my nose.

    I guess I'm still on the hunt for something similar to Xeryus Rouge for women. For those not expecting a hot fragrance for passionate wear, Elixir would most likely pass as an interesting, soft and wearable spicy oriental, yet for me this just couldn't make the mark.

    14 April, 2012

    Harvitz81's avatar



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    This is a somewhat disappointing woody oriental. Starts out ok with a hint of some florals and spices with some deep woods in there. It then fades rather rapidly and you are left with a prominent rosewood note throughout. Longevity is rather poor and overall this one just doesn’t seem well executed.

    09 February, 2012

    suburbanites's avatar

    United States United States

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    Rather than repeat what's already been said in droves about the composition of the fragrance -- it's clearly something about which you have strong feelings -- I'd much rather focus on what this particular fragrance is and is not.

    It IS rather nice. They've done a wonderful job on combining the components into a very nice melange that blends well and seamlessly transitions through the various elements. Incense, sandalwood, tonk a, all blend well in a surprising way with the eucalyptus and florals, striking a very god balance with a refined scent that is charming, alluring, and very pleasant to wear.

    It IS NOT durable. Being an EDT, it's among the weakest EDT's I've tried. Within 2 hours, it's vanished such that you actually wish that it were a more cloying experience. To quote Harold Melvyn, "The love I lost was a sweet one," and this would be the fragrance that I'd certainly love if it had better longevity. The notes are all there, but they play in too subtle a manner for anyone but the wearer to enjoy, and only then for the shortest of duration.

    This is a fragrance my wife had gotten, noting the presence of incense, and recognizing her deep hatred of TFPC Amber Absolute. This was olfactory pleasing for the all too brief time slice it lingers, but it's too fleeting. If only this could have been done in an EDP strength versus a concentration that's barely EDT, they'd have a keeper for me.

    30th July, 2011

    Force of One's avatar

    United States United States

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    Pretty complex fragrance - I get the menthol and the incense and every now and then a faint rose. Also hints of cedar but unfortunately more what you would line a pets cage with than firewood.

    I will say it's rather unique. Would not see myself every plunking the $ down for it, and probably wouldn't wear it all that often even if given as a gift. That said, I think it's worth a try as I could see it being somebody else's cup of tea fairly easily.

    31st December, 2010

    cheryl's avatar

    Canada Canada

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    I had to read the label on my sample twice after reading what others have posted here. Because they describe actual notes, something, try as I might, I have trouble detecting in this one. On opening I sort of get cardamon and eucalyptus. NOW that they're mentioned that is. Then a shrill soapy blanket and smother what might be a nice composition. You can nearly hear the rose calling for help. Oriental? Ha ha ha. I wish. The soap beast takes over.

    15 September, 2010

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