Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Review: Penhaligon's Bluebell Bath Oil

Disclosure:  This was a PR sample.

Penhaligon's is classically British, luxurious and understated, and for me at least, one of those brands I'd heard of, but never really tried.  When Sarah and I received a bottle of their Bluebell bath oil, I jumped at the chance to test it, being the bath fiend that I am.

Bluebell is a fragrance intended to evoke the scent of bluebell filled woods.  Penhaligon's say:

Tremendously evocative of wet earth, moss and rain, it softly detonates across your scent receptors and instantly transports you to the woodland, surrounded by dripping leaves, skin tingling with spring.

And indeed, that's a very accurate description.  Despite having no memories of ever playing in a bluebell wood, this smells precisely as I expect a bluebell wood to smell - gently, softly floral, with an earthy undertone.  This fragrance is utterly unique, and utterly timeless - it doesn't smell stereotypically over flowery and old lady, nor is it a modern, defined fragrance.  I think that most people, regardless of age or fragrance preference, would find it rather pleasant.

Pouring a little bit into a full bath of warm water causes this fragrance to fill the bathroom, but not so much that it's overpowering.  The oil emulsifies a little in the water, melting away to make the bathwater feel soft and luxurious, but not overtly oily.  While it does make the skin feel soft, the main draw is that gorgeous scent, which makes for a very tranquil bath.  That tranquillity isn't spoilt by the oil leaving a residue on the bathtub; this washes away cleanly.

The packaging is absolutely lovely, although not the most practical thing in the world.  The be-ribboned retro glass bottle with its stopper look very smart in my bathroom, but the ribbon trim gets dampened with oil very easily, and the wide mouth of the bottle makes it difficult to control exactly how much oil is splashed into the bath.  And given that a bottle of this glorious stuff costs £35, it's not really something you want to be sprinkling in the bath liberally.  For your £35, you get 200ml of oil - which, compared to an Aromatherapy Associates oil at 55ml, is quite generous; but this is still a spendy product.  

I really, really love this oil.  I know I say that about most bath oils - but the scent of this just takes me into a very tranquil place.  It'd be a lovely thing to receive as a gift, and its timelessness makes it appropriate for a wide variety of ages.  Spendy or not - I will be buying more when the bottle runs dry.

If you'd like to try it for yourself, you can buy it from Penhaligon's website, where it will cost you £35 for 200ml, or in one of Penhaligon's stores or concessions.  They even have an outlet at Bicester - I'll definitely be stopping in next time I'm there!


  1. Very decadent! I've just been on their website and I want everything...

    Not ususally a fan of bath oils as I find they can leave a slck of oil down my back as well as around the bath. If the bath is residue free can I assume my back will be too?

  2. Oh yes - my skin felt nothing but smooth post-bath, not at all slimy or slick.

  3. Thank you - its gone on the christmas list, as well as the Lavendula version!

  4. Oh my god that bottle is just so insanely beautiful! I want some just to keep on a shelf and look at!


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