Great Perfume Houses- Penhaligon’s

What is the measure of a great company?  It is longevity?  Is it the popularity it enjoys with the public?  Is it the dedication that company has to innovation?  It is the respect it has garnered from its peers?  Penhaligon’s – which was established in 1870 by William Penhaligon as a hairdressing salon and later evolved into a fragrance house – claims all four achievements.  Penhaligon grew his business the old fashioned way – by making and using only the best ingredients for the perfumes which were originally inspired by the aromas wafting from the London’s Turkish baths.  These elemental fragrances would later be refined and developed from his original shop on Jermym Street in London and at a second shop at 33 James Street.  Eventually Penhaligon’s opened a shop in 1975 in Convent Garden with the help of Italian film director Franco Zeffirelli.  His original fragrance formulas would live on and be recognized for the truly unique and distinctive mixes that makes them bestsellers to this day.  This is especially true of his Bluebell fragrance.

Today the company has continued to evolve diversifying into the field of fragrance including bath and body products, gentlemen’s grooming items, candles and gifts such as hand creams, lip balms and even an elegant oval scent bottle necklace.  Penhaligon’s scents are so well respected and so known by its users to be made from the finest ingredients like jasmine and hand-squeezed bergamot that it has long been used by the British royal family itself.  Penhaligon’s users know that they will experience a product that is based around old school formulas but one that is also made using the latest fragrance technology.  Its most notable products include:

  • Hammam Bouquet – 1872; the company’s first scent
  • Blenheim Bouquet – 1902; the company’s first bespoke fragrance for the Duke of Malborough at Blenheim Palace
  • Elizabethan Rose – 1984
  • Cornubia – 1991
  • LP No.9 for ladies – 1998
  • Artemisia – 2002; which was nominated for a FiFi Fragrance Foundation award in the Nouveau Niche category in 2002.
  • Bayolea – 2014; A modernized version of a bay rum tonic from Penhaligon’s archives

At Lily Direct we carry many of the products that are a result of this innovation and dedication to quality and that has made Penhaligon’s so well respected by its peers and well receive by its users.  These products include Penhaligon’s Sartorial Cologne for Men, its Bluebell Perfume for Women, its Blenheim Bouquet Cologne for Men and many other quality fragrances.  We invite you to see why the name Penhaligon has lasted for more than 145 years.

How Perfume Formulations have Changed in Past 20 Years

Back in the 1980s Coca Cola made either a huge marketing mistake or a genius move depending on how you look at it.  It changed its tried and tested formula for Coke for the first time in decades.  Immediately the public was outraged at such a move.  Coca Cola executives had to apologize and instantly return to the formula the public had come to love.  In the perfume industry reformulations are common and happen for a number of reasons such as companies finding cheaper ingredients, the decision to replace natural notes with synthetic substitutes and even trade restrictions involving certain ingredients.  What this means for consumers is that a particular cologne that they purchased back in the 1990s, for example, may have a different formulation altogether.  In fact, as little as two years ago Chanel and Dior were forced to reformulate perfumes under new EU laws.  The reason it gave was that these fragrances contain mosses which could cause allergies.  Another change that has been made in perfume formulas over the past 20 years is that there has been a push towards a classification of perfume known as “gourmand.”  Gourmand fragrance are perfumes that consists primarily of synthetic edible notes such as honey, chocolate, vanilla or candy as opposed to perfumes that contain floral notes.

As recently as 2008 the IFRA (the International Fragrance Association) issued restrictions on certain fragrance materials such as vanilla, jasmine, oakmoss, coumarin, birch tar, citrus oils, heliotropin and styrax.  This caused many manufacturers to change their formulas to come into compliance with these regulations.  The fact is perfume reformulations are being made more rapidly than in the past and this has some consumers concerned.  After all, people who wear perfume and cologne are very particular about the fragrance they have chosen.

All this means that your favorite perfumes may have been subtlety changed and may be continuing to “evolve” right under your nose.  The best way to determine if your favorite perfume has been altered recently is to trust your nose.  There are even several sites that list the formula changes for popular perfume brands.  Finally, perfume formulations are not as static as Coca Cola but the public has by in large learned to accept some of these changes.  Of course, there is nothing like having your old cologne or perfume…

The History of Elizabeth Taylor Perfumes

These days everyone and her sister has a cologne or perfume.  The list includes a virtual who’s who of minor celebrities.  So it’s easy to forget a time when this was not a common occurrence. The legendary actress, businesswoman and humanitarian, Elizabeth Taylor, pioneered this trend by being the first.  She was the first celebrity to pioneer her own brand of perfume – along with Eve Arden – with Passion in 1987, the men’s version of Passion in 1989 and White Diamonds in 1991.  And although Taylor had been a talented actress since the early forties and had starred in films such as ‘National Velvet,’ ‘A Place in the Sun’, ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf?’ (co-starring then husband Richard Burton) and ‘Cleopatra’ she did not suffer fools gladly.  According to most sources, it was her venture into developing and endorsing colognes that gained her new fortune and introduced her to a new generation.

White Diamonds instantly began and continues to be a best seller.  The success of White Diamonds would go on to inspire other gem-inspired fragrances from the screen legend such as Diamonds and Emeralds, Diamonds and Rubies, Diamonds and Sapphires all of which came out in 1993.  Finally, Violet Eyes – the last fragrance to come out before her death in 2011 of congestive heart failure – was based on the distinct and captivating color of her eyes.  Fragrances released after her death include White Diamonds Lustre (for women) 2014 and White Diamonds Night (2016) bringing the total number of fragrances to 15.  Today, her fragrances are staples with all perfume retailers.  In fact, no retailer’s inventory would be complete unless it contained a least some of her perfumes.  In 2005, Taylor also founded a jewelry company, House of Taylor, in collaboration with Kathy Ireland and Jack and Monty Abramov.

In a time when every sports, rap, music or reality star of any distinction has a fragrance, it is important to remember that these were not firsts.  These were and are not true trail blazers and the memory of most of these “celebrities” will likely fade with time.  A women who had a long distinguished career and actually excelled to the top of her profession, pioneered the area of celebrities developing and lending their name to fragrances.  Her legacy through her films, philanthropic work continues to this day.  (She was heavily involved in AIDs activism and fund raising.)  No perfume collection is complete without products from this iconic film legend and you can find all lines of Taylor’s fragrances at Lily Direct.

Great Perfume Houses Part 21

In part 21 of this series we travel to lovely Italy and the majestic House of Fendi.

The House of Fendi’s rich cultural history dates back to 1925 in the heart of Rome. Fendi was first established by Edoardo and Adele Fendi in early 1925 in Via del Plebiscito, Rome. It was here that the couple created the city’s very first handbag and fur workshop. Nearly immediately the name “Fendi” became synonymous with “quality.” The Fendi’s always focused on high quality materials and extreme precision to create some of the most astonishing pieces the country had seen at this time.

The Fendi’s went on to grow their family and had five young girls. As the girls began to grow they joined in the family business and introduced a more feminine perspective than the company had seen thus far. The girls greatly admired a French designer by the name of Karl Lagerfeld. Mr. Lagerfeld went on to become a large influence on the company and even designed what you know today as the Fendi logo! This logo wasn’t established until 1960 and is often referred to as the “two f’s.”

It wasn’t until 1990 that Fendi began to play with adding a men’s collection. Up until this point they focused more youthful styles that menswear was not a priority. While maintaining the quality they have always been known for Fendi successfully added a men’s line that still exists today. Now, you can find Fendi in over 160 stores in over 25 countries worldwide! You can often find stars such as Jennifer Lopez and Cameron Diaz sporting Fendi quite regularly.

At Lily Direct we offer several different Fendi fragrances like the glorious Fan Di Fendi Blossom Perfume for Women at amazing discount prices!

Great Perfume Houses Part 17

Great Perfume Houses Part 17

It’s about that time again fragrance lovers—time for another bi-weekly installment of our exploration into the great perfume houses from around the world. Some of the names we’ve explored so far are classic perfume houses with long rich histories; others have been newer names to the industry; and other still have been real trail blazers. Well, this week’s name lands in the category of trail blazer. So sit back, relax and join us for a brief look into the story behind Elizabeth Arden"lily direct"

Florence Nightingale Graham was born in 1878 in Canada. In the early 1900s it was still rare for women to wear make-up or pamper themselves, and it was even rarer for a woman to run her own business. But Graham had a vision; in 1910, now going by Elizabeth Arden professionally, she opened her first beauty spa on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan and began to build one of the world’s first global beauty brands.

Elizabeth Arden was a true innovator in the field of women’s cosmetics. Her company introduced North America to the concept of eye makeup for the everyday woman and pioneered the beloved “makeover” in the Elizabeth Arden beauty salons. Arden was also the first to introduce travel-size beauty products. Her incredible contribution to the cosmetic industry was—and continues to be today—recognized globally. Elizabeth herself ran the company until her death in 1966.

Her first fragrance, Blue Grass by Elizabeth Arden, was released in 1934. While the company continues to produce cosmetics and skincare products, somewhere along the line they shifted their focus to fragrances. Some of our personal favorite Elizabeth Arden scents here at Lily Direct are 5th Avenue Night Perfume and Mediterranean Perfume.


Great Perfume Houses Part 14

Here we go again perfume lovers. For the 14th installment of our bi-weekly exploration of great perfume houses from a"calvin klein"round the world, we’re taking a trip back to the United States to look at how Calvin Klein became one of the biggest names in fashion…

Calvin Klein founded his American fashion line in 1968. The Calvin Klein brand is best known for its clean and classic style. The brand is also known as a pioneer in designer jeans; Klein was the first designer to add his name to the back pocket of his jeans.

Although Calvin Klein’s designs have been on the forefront of the wholesome, all-American look since inception, the brand’s print and media ads have been known to cause some controversy. In 1979, for example, there was uproar when a very young Brooke Shields became the face of Klein’s jeans campaign under the slogan, “You know what comes between me and my Calvins? Nothing.”

The company’s first fragrance, a men’s cologne named “Calvin,” was introduced in 1981. The mixture of lavender, amber and wood was thought to create the perfect masculine scent.  The next scent was released in 1985—it was a perfume for women named Obsession by Calvin Klein, which was followed by a Men’s variation of Obsession in 1986. Klein has since released many notable fragrances, but one of the most notable was the unisex fragrance, CK One by Calvin Klein.

If you’re looking for great deals on Calvin Klein fragrances such as Eternity or Contradiction, Lily Direct is definitely the place to go. We have a wide range of discount colognes and perfumes, so you’re sure to find just what you’re looking for at prices you’ll love!

The Great Perfume Houses Pt. 1

Welcome to our new series of bi-weekly presentations of the perfumes houses from around the world.  The first few weeks the focus will on the houses from Europe such as Coty, Guerlain, Galimard, Chanel, Molinard and Houbigant.

                                          Image result for guerlain logo

Founded in 1828, Guerlain is one of France’s and also Europe’s oldest perfume houses. A doctor and chemist, Pierre-François Pascal Guerlain opened his perfume store on 42, rue de Rivoli in Paris and enjoyed immediate success thanks to his revolutionary work.

With the help of his two sons Aimé and Gabriel, Pierre-François was able to compose and manufacture many innovative products and custom fragrances. Receiving accolades and patronage from members of high society allowed Guerlain to enjoy increasing numbers of clients, leading to the opening of the flagship store at 15, rue de la Paix in 1840.

In 1853 Guerlain created a fragrance for Empress Eugénie, Napoleon’s wife, for her wedding. The fragrance was named Eau de Cologne Imperiale and Guerlain was given the prestigious title of being His Majesty’s Official Perfumer in France. The title gave him an international name and he created perfumes for Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom and Queen Isabella II of Spain among other royalty.

Pierre-François Pascal Guerlain passed away in 1864 and his two sons Aime and Gabriel Guerlain continued the fragrance business with Aime becoming the master perfumer.  The position of master perfumer was handed down through the Guerlain family and held lastly by Guerlain’s great grandson Jean-Paul Guerlain, who held this position until 2002.

Since its foundation in 1828, Guerlain has created over 300 signature fragrances.  Some of the most famous include:

The classic cologne Eau de Cologne Imperiale, created in 1853, it is composed of rich lime and lime-flower notes. Truly a fragrance fit for a Queen…or Empress.

Jicky, created in 1889, is heralded as the first “modern” fragrance, to incorporate synthetic odorants (vanillin and coumarin).  The fragrance is known for its main notes of lavender and vanilla. Over 120 years later, Jicky is still being sold, making it the oldest fragrance in continuous production.

Shalimar, which means “temple of love” in Sanskrit was created in 1925.  It was the first oriental fragrance for women.  It incorporates large amounts of vanillin and shades of other notes such as bergamot, lemon, mandarin, rose, jasmine, orris, vetiver, heliotrope, civet,Image result for guerlain antique shalimaropoponax, vanilla, Peru balsam, benzoin, tonka bean, and sandalwood.

Samsara, created in 1989, is an oriental fragrance featuring notes of jasmine and sandalwood with shades of ylang-ylang and tonka.

All of the Guerlain scents evoke a sense of luxury and tranquility. Imbued with a world-renowned ethos of elegance and sophistication, these luxurious fragrances echo Guerlain’s long history of innovation and excellence.

 Glamorous, Prestigious, Peerless… Guerlain.


Perfume History: The Boom of the Fragrance Industry Started in the 20th Century

We already established that in the end of the 18th century and throughout the 19th century, perfume was merely a single-flower fragrance. Designer perfumes created as the result of a more complex recipe were considered too expensive and rather hard to get, they were merely a gift for the wealthy aristocrats. The most popular flower fragrances came from delicate flowers like rose, violet, lily of the valley or lilac.

Scents composed of floral bouquets were introduced towards the end of the first decade of the 1900s- as mass production on some of the biggest perfumes was started. This mass scale extension of the perfume industry came as a result of recent chemical discoveries, when compounds were found to bind the floral notes together. This made perfumes much cheaper, as well, compared to the exorbitant prices design would take before the 20th century. These new discovery in chemistry actually revolutionized the industry, also allowing abstract fragrance creation, things which had no relation to a single floral note. This allowed the creation of overtones and new synthetical notes which greatly changed the way people looked at perfume.

In 1921, famous couture artist Gabrielle Channel launched her own brand perfume. Created by Ernest Beaux, this was the 5th in a line of perfumes the designer presented Madame Chanel. Hence the legendary name no.5… a perfume that never ceased to make victims throughout history. Even today, when talking about perfume masterpieces, experts will unmistakably quote Chanel no.5 as the perfect accessory to a sophisticated and elegant lady. In fact, Ernest Beaux was the first creator ever to introduce the use of aldehydes in his perfume creations. Chanel no.5 was the first completely synthetic mass- market fragrance.

Only nine years after the creation of Chanel, the world of perfume saw the arrival of a new family of fragrances: the leathery perfumes.  Florals returned with a vengeance as well, with the emergence of more French perfume houses creating masterpiece after masterpiece- Jean Patou’s Joy created in 1935, Caron’s Fleurs de Rocaille in 1933.

Chanel’s example was soon followed by other world famous designers who started creating an assorting line of perfumes: from Christian Dior to Jacques Fath, from Pierre Balmain to Nina Ricci. And thus started the boom of the perfume industry…

The world of fragrance today is one full of joy for the senses: everything is being created for all tastes and budgets. Today’s perfumes are made by perfume experts trained in the aesthetic traditions of renaissance: they spend years in apprenticeship, learning everything that is to know about floral accords, amber notes, musk receptor antagonists and the molecular binding affinities of floral receptor proteins.

The art of perfumery started as a divine science used to conciliate the gods. Today, it has lost some of its mystical values but it has been opened to the masses. Everyone has access to these sublime creations today, and due to this fact, we live in a more flavorful world now, one where memories of the Paradise flowers is no longer a memory.

A Scent History: The 18th Century and the Grasse Tradition

If there ever was Golden Age of perfume creation, especially for the European world, then the 18th century can be considered it.

In 18th century France, perfume art was one of the most important and many of the world respected recipes were born here. Generally, during that time, perfumes fell into two categories: floral and musky. Floral scents of the time were created using blooms from roses, jasmines and orange flower, distilled into water.  The obtained scents were quite close to the note range perfume designers use today. As for musks, they were usually animal- based and they were considered more masculine.  As a social aspect, perfume served as a popular odor equalizer in the merchant and noble classes, this, in an age where bathing practices were dubious, to say the least.  Another note about 18th century perfumery is that masculine and feminine fragrances were hardly distinguishable during those times.  A man might wear a wash of rose water to fresh his skin while a lady might don a heady amber toilet for a candle-lit dance.

As for recipes, they were considered state secrets and well guarded treasures. Some perfumes were as simple as distilling the scent of a single popular bloom, one of the most popular was rose water. Other perfumes would use a sometimes very rare and exhaustive list, including a process that was considered very troublesome. These more complex perfumes would be more popular among the noble class.

Grasse- the World Capital of Perfume

Throughout the Middle Ages, Grasse became famous for its tanners, the softness of its leather and the quality of the savoir-faire of its artisans had just one flaw, an odor from the hides that could make one ill. It was the perfume artist Gallimard who had the idea of scenting the leather products. The result: a famous pair of perfumed gloves he sent as a gift to Catherine de Medici. The fashion was launched and this innovation would contribute years later to the recognition by the court in 1614 of the new guild of “glover-perfumers”. Perfumery did not cease to develop but it was during the modern period that it took on great importance.

Perfume design grew and developed around the work of three famous competitors’ houses: Gallimard, Mollinard and Fragonard. It was in Grasse that the cold enfleurage process developed- permitting the  extraction of the most delicate flowers like citrus blossom, jasmine or tuberose.

The city blossomed from a commercial point of view, around the beautiful art of perfumery, as the relentless work of these three designers’ businesses created more business and artisanal activity for corkmakers, glassmakers, boilermakers, transporters.

The 19th and the 20th century signaled the progressive industrialization of the trades, in particular for extraction, now via volatile solvents patented in 1894 by the industrialist Léon Chrisis or later, organic synthesis made possible synthetic products of which the mythical Chanel No 5 is the finest example.

Towards the end of the 19th century, perfume creation in Grasse was at its peak.  The big French houses like Rochas, Dior and Chanel would even own their own fields of flowers in the area.

Is Perfume an Art? Short Introduction to a Scent History

Classicism, romanticism, expressionism: for art lovers, these are very familiar terms that describe movements of art.  But are they applied to perfume as well?

We have Mozart for the ears, Van Gogh for the eyes and Dior for the nose. Why is then perfume making not traditionally recognized as an art form? Art historians aren’t listing perfume history in their books, nor are they documenting the traditional houses and schools. Even nowadays, the western world considers perfume a consumer’s good, something that is manufactured and sold for mass consumption, just like food, drinks or cleaning products.

We believe that, in spite of the art historians’ ignorance of the matter, perfume making can be considered an art form. Like many applied arts, perfume making expresses ideas and feelings. The activity in itself demands creativity, knowledge and a refined sense of beauty. A perfume creator is an artisan and the work coming out of his imagination and senses is not only unique, but also structured in such a way that it resembles a musical creation.

While this can be debated for hours on end, let us focus our next blogging attempts to detailing the history of this beautiful art. From the Ancient Egyptians to today’s classic perfume houses, we will attempt a time travel event that will touch upon the most important moments in the art of perfumery.

Short introduction

The concept of perfume is thousands of years old. The term itself comes from the Latin per fume “through smoke” referencing the idea that scented oils were first used to be burned . The burning of incense and aromatic herbs was used in religious services, and some of the first notes were aromatic gums, frankincense and myrrh, gathered from trees. The Egyptians were the first to incorporate perfume into their culture followed by the ancient Chinese, Hindus, Israelites, Carthaginians, Arabs, Greeks, and Romans. The earliest use of perfume bottles is Egyptian and dates to around 1000 BC. The Egyptians invented glass and perfume bottles were one of the first common uses for glass.

The Egyptians

The first historical account of perfume use is during the rule of Queen Sheba. Egyptians at the time were using perfume as part of their religious culture. Incense was used for embalming the dead, making it an integral part of the Egyptian life.

The scent that has traveled to us through centuries was called the kyphi and according to historians, this was the odor that was released into the air when the tomb of  Tutankhamen was opened. Surviving through so many centuries, this perfume proved the fact that the Egyptians’ art for creating scent was actually well advanced and their methods are probably lost forever in time. This also explains why perfume was considered more expensive and precious than gold and diamonds, during those times.

Egyptians are also credited as being the first to anoint their bodies with scents of cinnamon and honey. Later in their development, they started distilling scents from the flowers of lilies and other exotic flowers brought from India, Palestine or Persia. Even during their times, perfume was reserved exclusively for the wealthy and influential figures in the Egyptian society.