Amaranthine – Penhaligon’s

I bought a bottle of Amaranthine of eBay recently for an absolute steal! I couldn’t turn it down.
I had tried this once on paper and remember distinctly a bizarre banana-ry ylang vibe that was intriguing, but I was put off by the brand entirely. However, I’d always thought on and off about Amaranthine reminding myself I need to sample it properly… well… now I have a bottle :) Here’s what I make of it…


Amaranthine opens with pink pepper, a touch of citrus, a spiky and slightly abrasive clove note along with pungent banana leaf. The banana leaf smells soiled – slightly rotten as it always does (on the rare occasions I’ve smelt banana in a perfume that is…). It’s banana-ry, and green, smelling a touch like a dustbin, but is quickly almost overpowered by a soft floral (freesia mainly). I don’t really get along with freesia in a fragrance, but it’s paired with an interesting combination of notes – smelling quaint and a little old fashioned, partnered with this abstract tropical vibe. The listed green tea and cardamom give off a merely aquatic, herbaceous vibe – not at all what I imagined – slightly overwhelmed by the other unusual notes in the opening.

A touch of ylang and carnation join in, along with a little indolic jasmine and rose – the florals smell dated, but again – the clove and banana make the floral accord abstract and a little unsettling.
The clove spice settles a touch, and is joined with cumin – not overpowering, but definitely there – which again, get’s even more unsettling as the fragrance begins to turn heavily lactonic.

OK so I keep describing it as unsettling… the thing is – Amaranthine verges on repulsive for me, whilst being light on the skin and when listed on paper (in structure) – should be an easy wear. Basically it goes through a rough patch in its heart – smelling a little rotted, a little sour, and very old-school “flower-y”. The pink pepper I hate, so enjoy it more once the spice has settled a touch – which gives in to a more “snappy” greenery that smells both crisp, and sappy… does this make any sense?

The lactonic accord gets stronger in the drydown until it almost dominates. Vanilla sweetens the fragrance underneath along with the softest of woods and a touch of veitver. Listed is a “condensed milk” accord, and it adds a creamy, sourness to the sweeter vanilla – the florals getting more and more lactonic and unidentifiable as it goes on. The banana leaf sticks around longer than expected, but in no time at all, Amaranthine is a skin scent – a milk-y vanilla with just a touch of skin-like spice and a cleaner floral. It sounds pretty rancid I know… it is, but it’s enjoyable to wear and in time, I do find it easy. It’s interesting for sure, and it’s subtlety both lets it down, and thankfully enhances it by making it easier for me to enjoy. It clings to the skin in the late drydown as a milky skin scent with little throw – perfect for hot days when I don’t want anything too overpowering, but still a challenge for me to wear – happy to have it in the collection! – I say that through a gritted smile.

Amaranthine 100ml EDP Penhaligon’s – £105

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18 thoughts on “Amaranthine – Penhaligon’s

  1. Like the Scented Hound, I will also pass. I had a sample of this and I have to say that it was not quite a scrubber, but it came pretty close. “Dirty panties in the jungle” is what I wrote in my notes. I just really, really, really, really did not like it.

    • Hahaha! I really didn’t want to be the sort of person who guys along with the “hype” and says this is dirty – but it’s dirty in a way like no other I’ve smelt. Milky/dirty. I guess Bosque is milky dirty a little bit :/ But this is more sour milk. Strange. I do like it though that’s the thing! It’s fun to wear, and it’s not utterly repulsive haha, I have a similar experience when wearing Rose Rebelle/100% Love – that smells like sweaty feet and trifle :’) Bang on description there haha.

      • If you can pull it off, I say go for it! Before trying it, I had heard a lot of really good things about it: that it was challenging, but worth it. Alas, it’s not for me! But I am very pleased that you scored yourself a bottle.

        Have never really clicked with anything in the line. I suppose if I was going to choose one it would be Sartorial.

      • Sartorial is a close second for me too. The line’s totally unappealing isn’t it. But yeh, was glad to find this – 50ml EDP for £14 ;) can’t say no to that. But yeh, really enjoying it, in a very perverse way.

      • You cannot beat that at all. What a steal!

        Speaking of the rest of the line, I can say that for me, given the choice between wearing Amaranthine and Bluebell, I will pick Amaranthine any day.

      • I still haven’t got my nose on the infamous Bluebell – I hope I LOVE IT hahaha.

      • Um . . . well, if you do get around to trying Bluebell, I think that your review will be super entertaining :-)

  2. Ines says:

    I have a strange relationship with Amaranthine. I really like it in theory, but like you said, it verges on nauseating whilst I’m wearing it. And then I’m forced to smell it and smell it just to check if I’m imagining things or it’s true. :)

  3. lucasai says:

    It was one of the perfumes I tried during the last perfume workshop I went to. It was rather nice, but nothing hat I would need a bottle of.

  4. laniersmith says:

    ahh pitty, I was hoping for a huge love affair…. give it 20 years and try it again. Yes I can understand buying something like this just for the bargain…mine was a 50 ml bottle of Tom Ford Extream that was miss marked at $17 when in fact it should have been marked at $125! I loved going on this journey with you Freddy.

  5. Vanessa says:

    Loved your review, which captured the utter weirdness of this one. I must say I liked it a lot to start with, and bought a bottle on the spot. I considered it to be the top launch of 2009 (yes indeedy!), but now, like Ines, I blow hot and cold with it, and find it alluring and repellent in equal measure. Ever the flittersniffer, what can I say?

    • Ah Vanessa I had no idea you loved this one. Top of 2009?! That is a big title. Still – it is VERY nice at times, and gross at others. I love that – I am like that with 100% Love, M/Mink, Indigo, Miel de Bois, Vierges et Toreros…. but Amaranthine has the most subtle disturbance out of those. I guess I like to be grossed out when I wear something from time to time.
      Do you still wear this much?

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