I tried this in a sample originally - and can only concluded that time and treatment had worn off the top notes.
There's a reasonable scent under there somewhere. The problem is that the top note - and its a really nasty chemical top note - persists.
I tried wearing it overnight - to see if the top note wears off - it does, but settles into a really grubby dusty smell.
Misunderstood geranium leaf bomb.
This opens with a harsh pine disinfectant smell that feels synthetic. However, that synthetic green minty smell is actually the geranium leaf note, which is used in abundance but mostly burns off after 20-30 minutes. What is left is a nice fougere with a minty background worthy of a thumbs up. However, those first few minutes are hard to forgive, so it is a neutral from me.
In about 1990, newly arrived in London (I moved back North again years later), a friend took me into the Penhaligons shop and offered to buy me any fragrance I liked. I didn't try any of them (duh...) but went for this one as I've always been attracted to green, mossy, herby scents (I wore Grey Flannel at the time and still do now). All I can say is that I found this really unpleasant, harsh and bitter. I later read a review once where someone described it as the poisonous, Victorian, rank potion that Dr Jekyll took before he turned into Mr Hyde, and that sums up how I remember it. The memory has lasted 25 years, and not in a good way.
I'm an amateur, so I feel a bit uncomfortable about writing negative reviews, but my opinion on this stands. for me, it was awful. Sorry....
English Fern introduces itself with a burst of spices and lavender, sweetened by fruit notes that I cannot identify. The lavender soon begins to recede, leaving room for a very distinct licorice/anise note and some barbershop soap to blend with the remaining brisk spices. English Fern settles into a conventional spicy “absinthe” tinted fougère, not far removed from the grand old Crown Fougère, but less complex and less nuanced. The scent remains linear for most of its duration, before fading into a sweet vanillic woody drydown. This is a very pleasant, conservative fougère – the kind of scent that one can wear to the office or to dinner with no fear of offending anybody. In this respect it strikes me as distinctly “English,” which is to say that it is proper, refined, and elegantly traditional. It may not be exciting, but it’s a solid representative of its type, and highly versatile to boot.
Starts off with a really sharp fern scent; just a lot of green. Then it moves down into a very soapy plastic smell, while retaining it's greenness. Once it all settles down, it smells like Pinaud Clubman talc powder. Very dry and old fashioned. A good barbershop scent that takes me about half an hour to tolerate. Even then, it's only a 4 out of 5. I'm not sure what it is that keeps it from being perfect instead of only above average, but it is not a bad office scent and would make for a relatively safe blind buy.