It has been a while … but we’ve been busy and the Gin Bus needs a good tinkering. So rather than twiddle my thumbs I thought you might like to go off on a tangent. Juniper can be used for so much – gin, cooking venison, warding of the bubonic plague and perfume – and it is the perfume side I would like you to consider today.
Nosing a gin is like inhaling a great perfume – it should uplift your spirit, give pleasure to you and others and have a certain 'je ne sais quoi’ et ‘joie de vivre’ and other sophisticated French phrases. Oh, La La!
But as no one makes better gin than the British I want to introduce you to a British perfume house that started in 1872 and hold more Royal Warrants than a republican can shake a stick at. I refer to Penhaligon’s, who really do understand the emotive power of scent and specialise in heady decadence with a twist.
If you are a true modern dandy or dandiette – then you will be interested in their Juniper Sling Eau de Toilette. A Sling is another word for cocktail and this scent certainly will have you stopping in your tracks, with all your favourite botanicals jumping for your attention. So today we will be nosing a gin that you wear rather than drink!
Like all Penhaligon’s products the packaging is vintage, quality and there is a hint to the 1920’s in the black, silver and eau de Nil. The flacon, no mere bottle, is simple striking and like a baby bottle of gin. Time for a squirt and a nose of the aroma.
Surprise, surprise there is a fresh sweet aroma of juniper and this has a forest floor pine freshness – Angelica if I’m not mistaken. The middle tones (called the ‘heart’ in the perfume world) is sweet and aromatic – cinnamon, soft pepper – like Grains of Paradise – and a beautiful length of Cardamom. This heart is very deep and after 4 hours I can still smell it, underpinned by the Juniper and Angelica that is morphing into leather and wood rubbed with amber.
The sweetness is very intriguing – it’s molasses deep and very masculine. There are floral spurts throwing flares of Iris (Orris) and filling out from the top to the bottom notes are fruits: Orange down to Cherry.
This is an Eau de Toilette for Men and Women – by no stretch of the imagination could you call it Unisex. Do not be fooled by the clear liquid this packs a punch.
But – Gin needs a tonic or a mix and so let us honour Penhaligon’s Juniper Sling with a Sling of our own:
Pour over Ice and shake, strain into a HiBall (Collins) or Old Fashioned glass, again, over ice and top with Soda, Fentiman’s Aromatic Tonic or even Ginger Ale. Garnish with a spiral of lemon peel and a ½ inch of a cinnamon quill. Penhaligon’s Juniper Sling comes in 50ml and 100ml – that’s 1.7 or 3.4 fl oz in ‘old money’. Take a step back into les années folle with the Sling to squirt and the Sling to drink – it will scent you back to the Roaring 20s. Toddle Pip!