How to make Penhaligon’s Portraits – Clandestine Clara: take Guerlain’s Shalimar, but remove all the flowers and citrus and add in a good dose of cinammon and patchouli instead. Done. Clandestine Clara basically skips all the opening nonsense and goes right to the heavy base instead. It’s boozy, ambery vanilla. Very yummy. Nothing screechy to distract from the base.
Clandestine Clara was released this year, 2017. The nose is Sophie Labbé.
Now, because the Portraits perfume line is brand new and kinda funny here’s the story stuff they made up for it: every portrait perfume presents a fictional person. Our patriarch is Lord George, his wife is Lady Blanche (Harry Potter fans think Narcissa Malfoy). Their marriage is not the best, in fact, she wants to poison him. Their daughter is the Duchess Rose, who married the Duke to get out of the house and live a better life. Somehow she missed a spot check and didn’t realize before the marriage the Duke is GAY, GAY, GAY. So she’s got to get her fun elsewhere. She probably inherited that from her father. Clara is Lord Gerge’s lover, his dirty little secret. Or not so secret, I mean the Lady does want to kill him, there’s gotta be a reason for that. George and Clara have a son, Radcliffe. He’s a total womanizer, too.
There are more perfumes by now, but that’ the basic set up. It’s a little wink-wink-nudge-nudge story of a patriachal aristocratic family that’s all about keeping up appearances (and failing).
The bottles are unusual for Penhaligon’s as they don’t have the ribbon, they have huge golden animal heads instead. I like Lord George’s the best, it’s a stag. So it’s all cute and pretty and good smelling, but the price point is € 225, which is a bit more than I’d be willing to spend on a cute perfume currently. I mean Clandestine Clara smells really good, but for that price I could get myself several bottles of Shalimar…