Perfume

Perfume Shrine: Penhaligon’s The inimitable William Penhaligon: fragrance review

 Many of the original scents created by William Penhaligon were modernized and re-introduced as part of the Anthology Collection. The company maintains its commitment to fine, traditional perfume ingredients and techniques. The bottles for Penhaligon’s scents are based on William Penhaligon’s original design—clear glass and adorned with a ribbon.

This emblematic heritage is of course something most niche brands, even those proclaiming historical roots, cannot match. It was therefore expected that the company would sooner or later reference the patriarch himself. And so they did, with the newest fragrance, The Inimitable William Penhaligon.

With an above-average lasting power but a rather moderate sillage, the spicy-woody scent of The Inimitable William Penhaligon captures easily one’s affections, as it’s agreeable by most. For that reason it might seem a bit tame, for those expecting something flamboyant and domineering. Nevertheless, true to form, the scents of the aristocracy itself have never been very loud, as there is no raison d’être for them to be; their calling card is their, well, actual calling card.

The actual scent of The Inimitable William Penhaligon is well-mannered, sociable, milky with its lactonic heart of sandalwood and fig, and the more it stays on, the more pronounced this serene milkiness becomes. If I were to use one word it would be snugly. What I find most interesting is an unexpected green-milky slice in the middle, like that of a fig leaf erupting amidst the vetiver, with the sandalwood’s soft qualities soon emerging over the greenness.

The company insists on calling it a vetiver scent, first and foremost, and the deep green liquid inside the bottle might indeed account for expectations of a bracing, pungent scent. But let me assure you this might ease its way into Vetivers for Vetiver-phobics effortlessly, as it lacks the dirty inclinations of vetiver oil and instead opts for a bright, bittersweet opening that quickly segues into the plush of the salon. There is also no discernible incense for the incense-phobics, so approach comfortably, as if you were to be greeted into a cedarwood-clad boutique. Mellow, soft, and silky, really.

Comfortable, sweetish on the drydown, and warm, The Inimitable William Penhaligon could easily be snatched out of the hands of your beloved man and sprayed with gusto onto yourself, dear female reader. Yes, most brands advertise as unisex these days, but it’s not always the case; this one is effortlessly borrowed by either sex and projects quite classy at all times.

Related reading on PerfumeShrine: 

Penhaligon’s fragrances reviews & news

Lactonic scents: what does it even mean?

Perfumery Material Fig: Between Green Woody and Succulent

Top Vetiver Fragrances


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