ONE ON ONE WITH PENHALIGON'S CEO SARAH ROTHERAM

By The Beauty Hub  |  September 15th, 2013  |  Editors Pick,Interviews,News,Newsletter Headline


Since becoming CEO of Penhaligon’s & L’Artisan Parfumeur, Sarah Rotheram has been credited for the company’s record-breaking growth and launching of new and innovative products which have been the talk of the perfume industry.

Passionate about artistry and craftsmanship, we caught up with Sarah at the launch of Varaa for Penhaligon’s in Dubai Mall to find out more about the fragrance that is fit for a Maharaja.

Some of Penhaligon’s fragrances have been selling for around 130 years. Have you stayed true to the compositions or have you changed some to reflect modern times?

Staying true to the tradition of Penhaligons, our passion is to carry on his incredible legacy of creative and innovative perfumery, challenging the traditions of the art and seeking new ways to interpret them. Linking Penhaligon’s past and future, our series of archive scents from as far back as 1927 are reinterpreted for the modern fragrance connoisseur.

I understand Vaara was a personal commission by the His Highness the Maharaja? 

Vaara started life as a private commission for His Royal Highness Maharaja Gaj Singh II, who desired a personal fragrance that reflected his deep love and family connection with Jodphur. Named for his granddaughter, Vaara offers a unique glimpse into the scented life of a Maharaja.

The fragrance begins with a delicious blend of coriander and carrot seeds, creamy saffron and juicy quince. The heart of Vaara belongs to the gardens of Balsamand, the Maharaja’s summer palace, with two glorious roses blended elegantly with a billowing white note of Indian magnolia, a touch of freesia and a whisper of iris. The fragrance settles into a luscious combination of honey, white musks and resins dripping over an aromatic base of tonka, cedarwood and sandalwood.

Weather certainly affects the smell of a fragrance when applied, where did Master Perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour work on this project?

Bertrand our rock n roll perfumer travelled to Jodhpur to explore the life of a Maharaja; visiting historic forts, family palaces, exotic gardens and bustling city markets. His journey provided him with an abundance of inspiration for the fragrance and the end result, Vaara, cleverly captures the spirit of this fascinating part of India.

As a niche brand what is next on the cards for Penhaligon’s?

We have introduced elegant accessories to our brand that include crystal atomisers and decanters, lacquer and marquetry boxes that have been hand made in Italy for the aid of travel, to adorn an outfit, or to organise a dressing table. Our selection is carefully curated, brought to you from makers justly acknowledged as masters of their craft.

L’Artisan’s Explosions d’Emotions is a new collection of three fragrances. Tell us a bit more about them?

Amour Nocturne – the intimacy of the night
Live a moment of sublime intimacy. Cedar, surrounded by soothing notes of hot milk and caramel, gives way to a powerful burst of gunpowder, and orchid. An explosion of love, beyond time and place.

Déliria – exhilaration of the senses
Prepare to be thrilled. Déliria is the fantastic contrast between metallic, rhum and gourmand notes of toffee apple and candy floss. Top and base notes lose themselves in the heart of the fragrance in a dizzying cloud.

Skin on Skin – a wanton embrace
Skin on Skin awakens our animalistic instincts to touch, to get closer, to smell. It merges a sensual iris with a suede, velvet leather. The intertwining of saffron, whisky, lavender and rose, melts into musks and skin effects. A carnal creation to be used without moderation.

Amour Nocturne features notes of milk, caramel, gunpowder, cedarwood and orchid. An interesting combination. The use of gunpowder in a fragrance would be a first for me.

Gunpowder is quite unusual but what Bertrand Duchaufour was looking for was a powerful burst and explosion of intimacy and love.

What are currently your fasted growing markets?

Our unique approach to perfumery has attracted a new audience to our brands, both in our home markets and internationally. Our teams are driving the business into new global markets including East Asia and Greater China, while expansion in Europe and North America continues.

For more information visit Penhaligon’s & L’Artisan Parfumeur. Fragrances can be purchased at their store in Dubai Mall.


The Beauty Hub is an interactive online community and marketing platform for the beauty industry and their consumers in the Middle East.

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