Last night we had our encounter with the “supermoon”, the brightest and biggest moon appearance for God knows how long, a lifetime?
I guess that depends now doesn’t it?
But nevertheless it feels like the moon has had a celebrity moment, burning so brightly, powerfully, almost too beautifully.
Like a pair of bodyguards, the cold wind blew and the clouds wrapped tightly around her, trying to shield the diva from her admirers. Even through the clouds though, she had that pull, that magnetism, she was divine and we flocked to witness her divinity. Of course, she’s actually the same humble moon that waxes and wanes in the sky each night – we mark time passing by her movements, simple and predictable.
Read any review of Penhaligon’s perfume Luna, though, and chances are you’ll be treated to an indulgent dip into the moon myth that inspired the scent – of the goddess Luna who was so enraptured by her mortal lover that she had him placed in an eternal slumber so that she could gaze forever on his pretty face unmarked by the ravages of time (and even dip from the sky to consort with his slumbering form, I kid you not).
Luna, the night sky’s bright charioteer, trapped genie-like into a bottle tied with gossamer ribbon. Imagine that. A flacon not just of oils and essences, but the moon’s magical, sparkling essence. The idea of translating such a tale as this into a scent is pretty damn appealing, right?
But how, exactly, would it smell? Every storyteller has their lens and Luna is seen through a particularly British one. She is the elegant offering from iconic British house Penhaligon’s, who have been serving the British royal family since Queen Vic’s time. (William Penhaligon’s debut release in 1872 was inspired by the exotic scents of the hamman and the house has continued to apply a distinctly restrained English approach to the most romantic of notions.)
In Luna, it’s very easy to sense the story unfolding. The opening is a sparkling cool shimmer of citrus: bergamot, orange, lemon, not at all candied or syrupy but uncannily like that first glimpse of the moon rising over a glittering sea, light and chill but invigorating, attention-grabbing without a doubt. The beautiful rose notes of Luna soften that original sparkle into a swoon, coiled with jasmine, but the classically pretty and feminine is played against the herbal, fresh, somewhat masculine notes of juniper and fir.
These are elements that – to me – give the scent its mystical/mythical quality, transporting the scene from an English country garden to an Aegean cliff top. They seem to dance on the skin for an age, an eternity almost. Is this the gaze between Luna and her slumbering lover? Aquatic, musky ambergris, just like a setting of moonlit, rocky shore, provides the base-notes for the moon’s visit to earth, our mythical couple rolling about on the dark sand.
OK yes, this is my fantasy and I’m laying it on pretty thick but truly, there is such a strong and beautiful narrative to Luna. The fact that it’s Penhaligon’s means that while my story might be melodramatic, the scent itself is perfectly balanced and endlessly intriguing, worthy of legend.
Panhaligon’s Luna, $299 from Libertine Parfumerie.