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  • Writer's pictureChris Mads

Penhaligon's: Meet Heartless Helen and Terrible Teddy

Updated: Nov 20, 2019

"Come with me and you'll be," Willy Wonka sang, "in a world of pure imagination."

Well, recently Penhaligon's and Mr Fogg's served up a world of sensory sensation as the fragrance house took over one of the London bars to launch it's latest scents, Heartless Helen and Terrible Teddy. The brilliantly-monikered releases are the newest additions to the Portraits range, a collection of fragrances which each reflects the character of a family of unique individuals.

Described as "a very British affair", the line is "a tribute to English spirit", with tradition, humour and provocation at its heart. Each scent has the name and story of a member of the family - each with their own twists and quirks which is brought to life by the fragrance. You can meet them all here.

The new additions are, as mentioned, Heartless Helen and Terrible Teddy. Each character is represented by an animal; for Helen it's a cockatoo and Teddy is a rhino. While Helen aims to seduce all in her path with head notes of mandarin, heart notes of tuberose and base notes of creamy wood, Teddy is a smoother operator, embracing the thrill of the chase with head notes of incense, a heart of leather and base notes of ambroxan.

What is most enchanting about these scents is that they are - despite their names - unisex. Like most, I expected to only find Teddy suited me, but Helen would make a beautiful summer fragrance for a man, offering a gentle and light scent. Teddy, though, was a revalation. It is a strong scent and one which you have to wear or it will wear you (yes that goes for fragrance as well as clothes), but it starts beautifully and matures into a very musky and adult fragrance on the skin.

We were introduced to these two in the opulent surrounds of Mr Fogg's Society of Exploration, just a stone's throw from Charing Cross. The opulent setting of the bar, which I have raved about before here, tied in neatly with the upper class frivolity of the Penhaligon's Portraits line. Imagine Downton Abbey, with a dash of surrealism and a large dose of rakish decadence and you have got the idea.

A private room was set aside for us to discover the new fragrances and - most notably - try the cocktails which had been specially created to match the scents.

The cocktails were excellent, but for me the parfums remained the stars of the show. Gents, both of these would be good ones for a Christmas list - and if you're looking for a traditional masculine scent I would also recommend giving Lord George a try.

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