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Tuesday 1 November 2011

Adventures in Gin: Penhaligon's Juniper Sling perfume

Gin can be a bit of a gag around Domestic Sluttery Towers; that we drink, bathe and live in it, that we can recommend our top 10 gins without turning a hair, that a week lived is not really a week at all unless something clear and elegant in a glass has graced it, that anything juniper-based will be gone in 10-15 minutes.

So I can't quite believe I've been testing a gin-based product for six weeks (and I doubt the PR can either - sorry ducks.) But this is because it's a GIN PERFUME. Is that not brilliant? Not literally, Penhaligon's Juniper Sling is based on the idea and scent of gin so you get the inspiration behind it - the blurb, rather wonderfully describes it thus:
A beloved and iconic tipple has been transformed into a complex and compulsive skin scent. Apply liberally and drink in.

Perfume is such an incredibly subjective thing that it seemed rather pointless to dismiss one as lovingly created as simply by having a few whiffs and wearing it out.

Rather than just have a sniff and go yea, or nay, I wanted to test it on as many people as possible, gin afficionados or not, to get a common consensus. Also, this is not a cheap scent. The 50ml eau de toilette is £78 and the 100ml eau de toilette is £110. That's a price that deserves respect, as well as a small measure of fear.

I had been given a Penhaligon's atomiser (£16) filled with eau de toilette to test. After my initial screeches of joy, my first thoughts were wintry Narnia forests and a massive whack of black pepper. This scent wears very differently on people. On me, it settled into a stirring pine (not the Harpic variety) while on Siany it was very hot and peppery. I tried it on several men to wear and it works very nicely as a unisex scent.

To get a professional gin-drinker's opinion, I headed down to the marvellous Platform at London Bridge, where I was planning on having a catch-up gin with my friend Sara. I tried it on Kim the barman, who accepted a spray on the wrist and spent the evening conferring with the staff. They decided it didn't smell remotely gin-like, but enjoyed the peppery tones.

On the other hand, the amateur gin drinkers I polled loved it. I was genuinely surprised by how many people loved this perfume. I mean properly got excited by it rather than just going "Oh. Well that's nice." Over the course of a month I waved my wrist under the noses of about 50 people and spritzed the wrists of about 20 of same. I'd say 9/10 people thought it definitely smelled of gin and one of my colleagues was aghast at the idea of wearing it at all. "You'd smell like a raving alco."

Ok, it's suggestive but definitely not *that* suggestive. It's certainly not the same as dabbing yourself in a bottle of Tanq 10, but Juniper Sling certainly evokes a crisp g&t with a rather bewitching story on the side.

My main problem with a perfume this costly is that it doesn't come as an eau de parfum. One spritz of the EDT lasts about two hours, and you really want those Narnia tones to settle into your skin rather than prance back off into the wardrobe.

Penhaligon's Juniper Sling - 100ml eau de toilette (£110), 50ml eau de toilette (£78)

If you want to do something with gin RIGHT NOW (or at least, on Saturday 5 November) The Forge in Camden is hosting a gin-making workshop at 5pm.


  1. There's just something about it, isn't there? I didn't like the first whiff, I had. But then, couldn't stop sniffing my wrist. Or yours, for that matter. It definitely smelled better on you.

  2. I'm ridiculously excited about this product, I'm hoping it'll complete my gin-eric look. would it hide my perma gin o'clock odour, well?

  3. I really like the smell of juniper, so I am going to go to Penhaligon's and sample this a couple of times. Do you know if they are going to do it as bath stuff? I find from there if I am afraid of the prices of the scent, buying soap/cream/bath stuff/bodywash is a good compromise.

  4. This is a brilliant review. Not least because it's taught me the difference between eau de toilette and eau de parfum (I am a perfume novice).

  5. Amazing!

    @Elsie Sadly, once it starts seeping out of the pores there's nothing for it but a shower and several days sobriety

    @Lisa-Marie I'll get back to you on that, nothing in the shop at the moment but I've asked the Penhaligon's troops

  6. I love this scent. Frugal tip: if you pick up those scented ribbons they have outside they shop and tuck them in your bra the smell seems to last all day...!

  7. Gin-scented tits. Not sure if that's the best of worst thing ever, but I am enjoying the concept.

  8. I approve, and worry, about all of this.


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