Ellenisia by Steve de Mercado for Penhaligons 2005


Post by Gabriella


Hello perfume lovers!

It’s often said that happiness comes when reality beats expectations. This can happen as much in the perfume world as anywhere else, especially now when we’re faced with rave blog reviews or when there’s a new release by one of our favourite brands or perfumers.

Today I want to talk about a beautiful perfume that has fallen short for me, not because it is not good – quite the opposite – but because I have built up my expectations about it over several years, actually having it and wearing it doesn’t match those expectations. That scent is Ellensia by Penhaligon’s.

Ellenisia by Penhaligons 2005

Ellenisia by Steve de Mercado

Ellenisia Penhaligon`s FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica lists these following accords:
Top: Mandarin orange, violet leaf
Middle: Jasmine, gardenia, rose, tuberose
Base: Plum, vanilla

The weight of expectations for poor old Ellenisia was built up a long time ago. At the earliest stages of my perfume wanderings, when I was skulking round the perfume boards on Makeupalley, board members were raving about it as the most gorgeous white floral. As the perfume was unobtainable in Australia back then, it became even more coveted and desirable to me. My desire only grew when people said it was a better version of Chanel Gardenia.

Time went on and then Penhaligon’s made an appearance at our local department store but a bottle was way beyond my budget. I’d go in often and spritz some Ellenisia on a blotter to get my fix of the fume and delight in the sensual, heady but very playful gardenia and tuberose mix.

Ellenisia Penhaligon`s Toorop_Dame_in_wit WikipediaPhoto Stolen Wikipedia

This happened for a while, until of course, other perfumed delights came my way and Ellenisia was temporarily forgotten.

Fast forward to last year. I had just moved to Melbourne and I am out of work. Again, a bottle of Penhaligon’s is too expensive and out of my reach. Again, I covet it more than anything.

A couple of months ago, I finally pull the trigger. After more than a decade, the object of my rapture is finally in my hot little hands and I can’t wait to wear it. I am carefully unwrapping the cellophane from the pink cardboard box and lifting the little glass cap that sits so prettily atop a pink ribbon, I press the atomiser and….nothing. For sure, Ellenisia was pretty, it was the same gorgeous mix of gardenia and tuberose, given depth by the mandarin and plum but not too sweet, thanks to the greenness of the violet leaf. It was nice, but it didn’t rock my world like it had in my head time and time again. Mr M says I smell pretty and I do, but I can’t help feeling something’s missing. I’ve ruined my own perfect scent, I have built it up too much in my mind, building it up and up and up that it can’t help but fall short. Hopefully, as I continue to wear it, my expectations will fade to the background and the beauty that is this gorgeous white floral will come to the fore, unencumbered by the prospects in my mind.

Ellenisia Penhaligon`s Statue PixabayPhoto Stolen Pixabay

Further reading: EauMG and Mimi Froufrou
Libertine Parfumerie has $239/100ml
Luckyscent has $4/0.7ml

Have you ruined a perfectly gorgeous scent through the weight of your expectations? Conversely, what perfumes have you set the bar really low for that have subsequently rocked your world?

With much love till next time.

M x

14 thoughts on “Ellenisia by Steve de Mercado for Penhaligons 2005

  1. Hey there Madeleine,
    It sounds lovely. Isn’t it weird how much we want stuff, so desperately, our life will be complete when……
    This is the last bottle I’ll ever need because this is what I’ll wear almost every day….
    Portia xx


  2. Hi Madeleine,
    Quite honestly I set the bar pretty low for just about every fragrance I buy, simply because the majority of my purchases are cheap, blind FBs from the discount bins. That being said, rarely have I been disappointed 🙂 There have been a few scrubbers, though. I imagine that after you use Ellenisia for awhile she will grow on you. I find that I really like and often love most of what I’ve tried by Steve DeMercado.
    Azar xx


  3. Ah, but Madeleine, have you not considered that it might possibly be that Ellenisia has been reformulated since you last wore it? Perhaps it really did used to be that wonderful but in reincarnation it has lost some of its beauty.

    Having said that, though, I am constantly expecting that the next purchase will be my all time great favourite and nothing can live up to that expectation!


  4. Sometimes I think it’s better when perfumes fall short of my expectations because it often saves me money. I have had the disappointment of buying a perfume that when I sampled it I thought it was fabulous but then when the time came and I bought a bottle it was a letdown. I think I agree with Jillie about the possible reformulation.


  5. Hello Madeleine,

    Sometimes I enjoy smelling pretty, and for that Ellenisia is just the ticket. It doesn’t rock my world either, but for mine it’s often the perfect pretty one. Not the least twee. (Violetta is exceptionally pretty also. But it’s definitely twee.)

    It was an expensive purchase, and I hope that in time it will delight you in a way no less than before, just different.

    Oh, and I’ve experienced similar disappointment Madeleine, only to find that the fragrance blooms in a different season. On my skin, Ellenisia opens up gloriously with heat. I wear it at the height of our Aussie summer.



  6. Hi Madeleine, I fell in love with Ellenisia when I first smelt it some time in 2007. But I think it’s rather bland and boring now. The market for white florals has gotten bigger, my nose is more sophisticated and my taste has evolved.

    A lot of the Serge Lutens exclusifs have been major expectation-filled disappointment.


  7. i second the reformulation idea.it was the first thing that popped into my head.the second thing that occurred to me is a badly stored bottle in the shop and thirdly is the possibility of it working better in certain weather.if all those don’t check out then blame expectations :)oh, also health really changes smell perception .perfume is so amazingly fickle.one day things smell like the most gorgeous thing ever on me and a week later they can smell all kinds of unbalanced and wrong.


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