Babylon is a quite a “new and now” launch by Penhaligon’s, a Harrods’
exclusive till January 2021, but I was lucky enough to secure some and
am wearing it right now to better grasp its messages. By no means
revolutionary, this spicy oriental feels like the polished woods of
Duchaufour’s compositions that have made an indelible impression to the
world of upscale perfumery. Cypriol oil (known also as nagarmotha in
southeastern Asia) dominates. You might recognize it from the oddly and
unjustly doomed Magnifique by Lancome (2008) or from the critically acclaimed Timbuktu by L’Artisan Parfumeur (2004). In Babylon it’s
sweetened and caressed in warm, soft milky notes and vanilla, with an
undertone of spices, of which saffron gives a subtle iodine touch. It’s
evocative of autumnal joys and middle-eastern images.
Housed in Penhaligon’s distinctive ribbon-wrapped glass flacon, and full of saturated tones of warm red, teal and gold, the till now obscure Babylon eau de parfum enters the scene in big strides. It takes inspiration from Eastern spices to create an oriental scent, part of the Trade Routes Collection inspired by popular stop-overs on the Silk Route.
This is probably thought of as part of a grander plan of the company owning the brand; reaching out to people who shop for gifts at luxury stop-overs to and from the Emirates and/or other luxurious destinations. There the airport boutiques are decked to the nines in gold and gilt. The collection has therefore “Arabian perfumery style” written all over it. Halfeti was one I reviewed in the past and I like it, but I think Babylon is even more to my style.
I would have liked it to be more conceptual, as the potential is there for sure, but the execution is nevertheless flawless.Babylon eau de parfum is delicious and persistent and is felt like a confident aura rising from the skin. It possesses that alluring quality that Ambre Narguile (Hermessences) and Spicebomb Extreme (Viktor & Rolf) also exude, particularly that smoky warmth, beckoning you closer to better fill your receptive olfactory organ with the evaporating goodness.
The beautiful whiskey-like color of the liquid is darker than shown in pictures and beautifully matches the scent; it’s as if you’re led to take a sip of a rich liquor and get intoxicated, while reading an oriental cylindric seal depicting the lord god Marduc.