Going back as far as the 18th century, the English have been lauded by visitors for their clean selves, homes, streets and towns. Buckets and basins full of hot water and suds kept everything and everyone (including pets) nearly spotless and fresh. In their latest two "perfumes," Blasted Bloom and Blasted Heath, Penhaligon's has taken things too far, producing fragrances with the heart (notes) of cleaning products.
"Blasted" can mean 'drunk' or 'withered' or 'damned.' I think of Blasted Bloom and Blasted Health as perfumes (sand)'blasted' into banality and cleanliness with all interesting and vibrant bits of all notes they contain deleted — woods, leaves, tobacco, flowers, patchouli, etc. Aren't clean perfumes, drenched with white musks, on the way out? Perhaps Penhaligon's is just waaaay late to the Clean Party.
listed notes:aquatic accord, seaweed, clary sage, ClearwoodTM, green leaves, tobacco, whiskey, cedarwood, gaiac wood, vetiver
Don't Blasted Heath's notes sound rich? Intriguing? Well...they aren't. What I smell right out of the bottle is either straight-up Cashmeran or Firmenich's ClearwoodTM — a scrubbed-clean, artificial-smelling 'patchouli'. I also smell aquatics and 'fresh' vetiver, but that's about it. Blasted Heath fades away rapidly, but does supply one un-clean note — a rancid nut odor in the dry down (that's a fruit or seed note to those of you with 'dirty' minds)! I recently came across a multi-purpose cleaner at Whole Foods that smells just like Blasted Heath; at $18 dollars a bottle I passed, so imagine how I feel about Blasted Heath's $135-170 costs; at those prices, we deserve bigger bows and glass caps!
listed notes: wild berries, aquatic accord, green leaves, rose, pink pepper CO2, hawthorn, cedarwood, ClearwoodTM, moss, musks
Blasted Bloom is even worse than Blasted Heath. Conjure up an accord of crap rose mixed with a toddler's heavily sugared, morning juice cocktail. Blasted Bloom's berries are "wild" indeed...like no berry you'll encounter in nature. As in Blasted Heath, we experience more aquatics and ClearwoodTM mixing with lots of white/clean/laundry-room musks. Wearing Blasted Bloom made me queasy and also made me reconsider my earlier definitions of "blasted"...in this case I'll go with "enough of this blasted (i.e., damned) fragrance!!" Blasted Bloom is not as good as the Mrs. Meyer's Geranium room spray I use when a litter box emergency strikes; in the extreme dry down, Blasted Bloom smells like shampoo.
Smelling these perfumes makes me REALLY afraid to try the current version of my favorite Penhaligon's fragrance: Hammam Bouquet.
Penhaligon's Blasted Bloom and Blasted Heath Eaux de Parfum, both developed by perfumer Alberto Morillas, are available in 50 ml ($135) and 100 ml ($170). For buying information, see the listing for Penhaligon's under Perfume Houses.
Note: top images [altered] via Wikimedia Commons.