Perfume Directory

Douro Eau de Portugal / Lords (1985)
by Penhaligon's

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Douro Eau de Portugal / Lords information

Year of Launch1985
GenderMasculine
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 133 votes)

People and companies

HousePenhaligon's
Parent CompanyPuig Beauty & Fashion Group
Parent Company at launchSheila Pickles

About Douro Eau de Portugal / Lords

Douro Eau de Portugal / Lords is a masculine fragrance by Penhaligon's. The scent was launched in 1985

Douro Eau de Portugal / Lords fragrance notes

  1. Top Notes
  2. Heart Notes
  3. Base notes

Reviews of Douro Eau de Portugal / Lords

Douro Eau de Portugal (1911) has had a storied and tumultuous history, and like many a Creed scent from times before their opening to the public, Douro is claimed to have once been a bespoke commissioned fragrance for a member of high society. Penhaligon's usually has documentation to support the existence of their ressurected past works, so I won't push the skepticism too hard, but the smell of Douro does suspiciously fit more with the style current of it's 1978 reintroduction than it's claimed 1911 origin. Percy Croft was the purported original commissioner back at the turn of the 20th century, and the Croft port dynasty turned 300 in 1978 when Douro was first presented by Sheila Pickles as a fragrance for exclusive use by the family. Eventually, it was released to the public in 1985 as "Lords", and went under a series of name changes (Douro in 2004, "Eau de Portugal" in 2009) until it's present compound name was used. Douro is an aromatic citrus chypre at it's core, with the cistus labadanum flower as a major theme, and fits within the pantheon of men's chypres made in the 50's through 80's. Fans of classics like Yves Saint Laurent Pour Homme (1971), Monsieur de Givenchy (1959), or even lesser-known varieties like Gianfranco Ferré for Man (1986) should take note of Douro's amazing herbal citrus top and crisp oakmoss finish. Douro is really good, and objectively well-composed, but doesn't feel as old as it claims to be, nor stands out much from the crowd of the category in which it's placed, dragging it down a few pegs from where it could have otherwise been.

Douro Eau de Portugal opens much like one would expect from the best mid-century aromatic citrus chypres marketed to men, with lemon, lime, lavender, geranium, basil, and bergamot. Sweet manadarin keeps Douro from going into bitter citrus overload, and the heart furthers the classic theme with two florals commonly found in these kind of creations. Michael Pickthall, who was the perfumer behind a lot of the Sheila Pickles-era scents by Penhaligon's, was certainly not alive in 1911, but his vision of this genre of masculine fragrance is outstanding. Neroli and a dominant muguet offer a very cologne-like segue into the classic chypre base of oakmoss, sandalwood, musk, and a heap of labadanum, leaving a crisp mature men's finish most vintage lovers will appreciate. The huge citrus lavender/geranium top with it's 4-way blend dominates long enough that the significantly simpler neroli and muguet floral heart can sort of lean against it and blend into it, creating the kind of semi-meaty accord tarragon usually affords, and here is but a ghost note. The spiky English lavender used, which also reminds me of MEM Wind Drift (1970), creates a slight metallic ring that hearkens to the much-later Penhaligon's Sartorial (2010), which itself was composed by the dubious Bertrand Duchafour, and might have in part been a nod to Douro's tailored gentlemanly demeanor. Sillage and longevity are good for a Penhaligon's eau de toilette, but average when compared to everyone else, with better usability in summer or indoors than in colder climates; I guess "Eau de Portugal" says it all in regards to what climate inspired this and the relative temperatures for which it's best-suited. The oakmoss here might let you get away with autumn use too, assuming you live in a temperate area.

Douro doesn't need fancy custom captives and aromachemical magic to make it's wearer smell properly groomed and structured, which for some might make it a superior fragrance to the later Sartorial, but since one is a chypre, and one a fougère (respectively), I find them wholly incomparable outside the few similar notes they share, and there's just a level of Penhaligon's intertextuality between them despite the lack of an intentional house note. I'm such a sucker for masuline chypres that I'm inclined to favor this one above all other Penhaligon's I've smelled, but the cold hard truth is its main draw to me is that it's similar to things I ultimately find better in this genre. Douro walks the same walk and talks the same talk as an "unvaulted" Creed with its "originally from 19XX but never mind it's actually composed by Y in Z year" gimmick, which deducts some points for a seemingly retroactive pedigree cash-in. This doesn't stop me from liking what Creeds I've sniffed, so likewise it won't stop me here, but it's a bit of ham-fisted historical bluster worth pointing out. If you look past the smoke and mirrors, Douro is a really freakin' good aromatic citrus chypre from the niche barbershop masters, worth every penny for fans of this genre that only suffers from "if you like X then you'll like this" syndrome. Seriously though, when has that ever actually stopped a lover of vintage perfumes from making a purchase? Don't answer that. Good for office or casual use, Douro is Penhaligon's at what they do best: making you smell exceedingly well-kept.
16th August, 2018 (last edited: 17th August, 2018)
The opening smells like lemon lime Kool-Aid. It's as bright and cheery as the beginning of summer vacation, after a long winter of school work and indoors. I've only worn it twice so far, but this is a wonderful, fresh fragrance that could use a little boost with regards to longevity and sillage, but that doesn't lessen my enjoyment of Douro. I like it well enough to invest in a back-up bottle.
29th April, 2018
In the world of the niche fragrances with huge impressions, this scent would get lost. For me, after Blenheim Bouquet, it is quintessentially Penhaligons and very British - clean, groomed, of the barbershop type of scent. But more than that, it is the only scent that I buy and wear because it reminds me of someone. Not a lover or something so romantic - but the partner of a close friend who I find to be an inspirational British gentleman. Maybe its a 'Bro-mance' but this gentleman from Dublin is a man of creativity and style, at once a bloke and a gentleman, and someone I genuinely admire (not to mention very handsome with an Irish intensity.) Fresh, clean, appropriate for almost any occasion, it is not the first scent I recommend but I really should. For anyone who wants to project a dignified, confident aura, this is it. Does that sound boring? I don't mean it to be. The gentleman who inspired me to purchase this is anything but.
01st February, 2018
Douro is another nice scent from Penhaligons that unfortunately has terrible performance. The opening smells very similar to Caron's Pour un Homme without the later's prominent vanilla note. It's a tart, aromatic citrus and lavender accord that has a retro feel to it. The opening, while nice, doesn't last more than 30 minutes, then fades to a scent very similar to the dry down stage in Sartorial. On me, Douro was a skin scent after an hour, and gone completely at 3 hours. Penhaligons has some terrific scents but many simply don't offer great performance. Sartorial, Endymion and Bayolea are in my rotation because they are unique, smell great and offer adequate performance. Since is fairly similar to Sartorial, and I own and love wearing Caron PuH, Douro for me is pointless. I'll give it a neutral for the pleasant fragrance in the short time it lasted.
27th October, 2017
An old school fragrance with a clean soapy smell. As others below have put it, it "conjures up images of public schools, stately homes and cricket whites" and "could have come from Bertie Wooster's very own bathroom". Soaps with this kind of smell include Cussons Imperial Leather in England, Speick (Germany) and Savon Fougere by Roger and Gallet, France. It is indeed a traditional fougere, with lots of lavender underscored by oakmoss and also some lily of the valley reinforcing the 'clean' quality. I would choose Duoro when donning my Harris Tweed Jacket to attend a classic car rally.
29th February, 2016
I've been looking for a fantastically fresh every day scent, and this is it for me. It opens with a blast of lemon and settles on a very clean finish that is beautifully sophisticated.

I'm very new to the world of higher end fragrances - every cologne I've ever bought has been a typical department store purchase. I recently picked up a few Penhaligon's fragrances and all I can say is I'm looking to buy many more.

I would describe them as sophisticated and complex, distinct and refined, yet very familiar and intriguing.
19th April, 2014

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