Review | Penhaligon’s Juniper Sling Eau de Toilette

An intriguing olfactive creation from the English perfume house well-known for producing fragrances with a British vibe, Penhaligon’s Juniper Sling was inspired by the botanical ingredients in London Dry Gin.

A unisex fragrance, it celebrates the Roaring Twenties of London and the blithe post-war spirit of the Bright Young Things. (Across the Atlantic, the female counterparts were known as ‘flappers’.)

The packaging of this spirited fragrance is as much of a draw as the jus itself. Textured for tactility, the simple over-sized aqua box is adorned with silver foil for a luxurious feel. Reflective of the 1920s, it is also printed with an Art Deco-influenced motif.

Like a gin cocktail, the chic flaçon sparkles in the light and is imbued with a touch of decadence characteristic of that era.

According to the design company of the fragrance, the use of real metal features was inspired by classic decanter labels, lending authenticity to its appearance, while emphasising the gin-spiration of the scent. The metal accents (hell to photograph!) give the bottle a contemporary feel, despite the time-specific concept.

I’m particularly fond of the chic metal bow-tie, a departure from the fabric bows of the brand’s family of scents.

The scent, distilled:

For enigmatic boys and girls, Juniper Sling is a crisp cocktail shot of gin with the freshness of juniper, cool measures of angelica and brandy and a beating libertine heart of black pepper, cardamom, soft leather and orris. A gourmand base of brown sugar, black cherry and amber add sensuality to the scent.

Transforming the atmospheric tipple from drink to fragrance is Olivier Cresp, the man behind several popular scents (Angel by Thierry Mugler is one) and the recipient of the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres award.

On my skin, this heady concoction opens with a crisp – almost effervescent – citrus-laced herbaceous note with a smooth icy edge reminiscent of a cool gin. The aromatic beginning traverses into a richly smokey warmer heart, the spices coming forth. It then slowly settles into an indolent sweetness that is less gourmand than it is musky – a leathery-liquorice dry-down, if you will; underscored by a strong peppery accent.

The alcoholic and nicotine undertones, while not dizzily intoxicating, are distinctly present.

Undeniably complex, this scent is a mystery of discovery for me and sits apart from my friendly florals. It reminds me of bad boys, cigarettes…and a distant wayward past. ;)

It’s a conspicuous fragrance and one that I need to be in the right mood to wear. It veers masculine in my personal range of scents and for a period of time, I was somewhat resistant to it because it was just too overwhelming for me, tonally. I’d actually received my preview sample less than 6 months after I’d given birth – perhaps my strong maternal disposition then instinctively rejected its dusky connotations.

I’ve since grown to like it more and will wear it on days when I wish to express strength of character (ah, to be gutsy like the plucky flapper girl!) or when I would like to smell a little enigmatic.

I keep reading about how short-lived this fragrance is but my press piece lasts fairly long on me and lingers for a spell in my hair.

You might not be able to slake your thirst with Juniper Sling but you can be enveloped in its inebriating charm, if you’re given to its spirituous notes.

In Singapore, this scent retails at S$205 (50 ml) and S$290 (100 ml), and can be found at the Penhaligon’s store located at Ion Orchard.

Image and video source: Penhaligon’s


  • mShiyun says:

    Hi Mag,

    Loved your review, you are spot-on in terms of describing the fragrance. I agree that this fragrance is one for a special mood – one where you feel sensuous, daring and adventurous!

    This is my absolute favourite perfume of all time – time to stock up on a second bottle soon, since it’s LE!

    • makeupmag says:

      Hi m Shiyun,

      Thank you! This is quite an unusual scent and I don’t think everyone can carry it off. Yes, better buy it before it’s gone! Have you tried Peoneve yet? It’s so feminine and easy to wear, compared to this one.

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