Penhaligon’s + Meadham Kirchhoff Tralala ~ fragrance review

Barbara Stanwyck and Joan Crawford

With this money I can get away from you. From you and your chickens and your pies and your kitchens and everything that smells of grease. I can get away from this shack with its cheap furniture. And this town and its dollar days, and its women that wear uniforms and its men that wear overalls…. You think just because you made a little money you can get a new hairdo and some expensive clothes and turn yourself into a lady. But you can’t, because you’ll never be anything but a common frump whose father lived over a grocery store and whose mother took in washing. With this money, I can get away from every rotten, stinking thing that makes me think of this place or you!


What could be uglier, more ruthless (and perversely “fun” — for an audience) than dialogue like this from the movie Mildred Pierce starring Joan Crawford. These words are spoken to Mildred (Crawford) by her hateful/ungrateful daughter, Veda.

Perfume fanatics, when sniffing a fragrance, “see” things, remember people, places, animals, plants…even if what we’re sniffing is awful, or banal. Sometimes, a perfume provides a complex scenario for me…it “clicks” — with a painting, an event, or in this case, films.

When I first wore Penhaligon’s + Meadham Kirchhoff Tralala,1 a woman from the so-called Golden Age of Hollywood came to mind…

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Penhaligon’s Iris Prima ~ perfume review

Penhaligon's Iris Prima Spirit of the Ballet

Iris Prima launched last fall, one of two 2013 fragrances from British niche house Penhaligon’s (the other was Vaara). I’m always happy to see a new iris, especially a unisex one. Iris Prima, like Vaara, has a great backstory: it was developed in collaboration with, and inspired by, the English National Ballet, and the tag line is “The spirit of the ballet. Bottled.” This of course made for all sorts of ballet-related promotional activities, including the lovely “ballet flash mob” at Saks in San Francisco and the liberal use of ballet shoes for displays (see here and here).

That said, Penhaligon’s is admittedly not one of my favorite perfume houses. Other than Vaara, which I was lukewarm about, the only other Penhaligon’s scent I’ve ever reviewed was Lily & Spice, which I was, likewise, lukewarm about, and the only Penhaligon’s fragrance that has ever made my buy list was perfumer Olivia Giacobetti’s brilliant spice-fest Elixir

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