Perfume Directory

Quercus (1996)
by Penhaligon's

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Quercus information

Year of Launch1996
GenderShared / Unisex
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 146 votes)

People and companies

HousePenhaligon's
PerfumerChristian Provenzano
Parent CompanyPuig Beauty & Fashion Group
Parent Company at launchThe Limited

About Quercus

Quercus is a shared / unisex perfume by Penhaligon's. The scent was launched in 1996 and the fragrance was created by perfumer Christian Provenzano

Quercus fragrance notes

Reviews of Quercus

I feel like Quercus had a similar goal in mind as that of the later Zizonia (2001), and that was to show the world that Penhaligon's could still make them "like they used to" in regards to composing in the spirit of it's back-catalog of late 19th and early 20th century fragrances made by William Penhaligon himself. The "old pennies" were all very dry, very proper English barbershop smells, ranging from the dandy civeted rose and sandalwood of Hammam Bouquet (1872), stark lemon, pine, pepper, and musk wake-up call of Blenheim Bouquet (1902), to the anglicized Fougère Royale (1882) that was Penhaligon's English Fern (1911). Quercus seeks to be a successor to the oeuvre of William Penhaligon, as crafted by one Christian Provenzano, and to a strong degree it does complete that task. My only question is why do this? Penhaligon's still makes most of it's classic catalog, and although painfully traditional recreations of a lost art are always nice from an academic interest perspective, Quercus doesn't really add to the legacy in any way, and is not only an unnecessary exercise, but boringly redundant like the shot-for-shot remake of Hitchcock's Psycho in the 1990's. Now I'm not saying Quercus is an embarrassing overreach in the same way Vince Vaughn's portrayal of Norman Bates was, as it manages to actually stay in control of what it presents as it dries down, but again, why was this thought to be something worth adding to the catalog?

The fundamental thing about Quercus is it riffs off of eau de cologne styles, but not with the neroli-filled accuracy of Penhaligon's own Castille (1998), which would follow only 2 short years after this, but instead Quercus fuses the cologne vibe with English austerity and dryness, with an oakmoss and musk base that form the the only (slightly) redeeming part of the scent. Quercus itself means "oak" so I can see the necessity to have oakmoss in the base, but once the citrus, dusty floral heart, and cardamom finish, you end up with a Victorian proxy for cK One (1994). I mean, if steam punk cK sounds like your bag, this might have you written all over it, and indeed an untapped niche market awaits. The scent opens with bergamot, lemon, lime, and mandarin, the latter of which stands in for a normal cologne's neroli, which is why this is missing any soapy sweetness, remaining tart and juicy instead. Jasmine and muguet come alongside cardamom plus something else white and floral in tone I can't make out, eventually burning through the citrus in only an hour. What's left is a quite right British barbershop base of sandalwood, oakmoss, amber, and musk, with a shot of grassy galbanum keeping the finish from getting round and pillowy like cK One. Quercus is the humorless unisex fragrance alternative for folks who want to avoid seeming hip in their choice of androgynous scent. Another way to look at it is Quercus achieves a warm scratchy wood finish the natural way, rather than with norlimbanol.

I don't hate Quercus, but I also don't particularly care for it. Even if this stuff had been sold alongside Hammam or Blenheim Bouquet in the old days, I doubt many would have reached for it because it's effectively a flash of juicy citrus, then a dry floral woodsy musk that is neither floral enough for the high street dandies nor musky enough for the back-alley fops, as both had better options even then, meaning this would move off shelves only if better choices were out of stock. What Quercus comes off to me as, is a lazy cross-section of Penhaligon's early styles in a bottle: it starts like a cologne, then transitions to a floral, before ending in fougère notes, but not even good ones because the stuff never fully commits to the style it's paying homage to in each phase before entering the next, drying down to the half-hearted oakmoss base that is the true face of the fragrance. Pleasant, but boringly dry and cut with too much ambiguity, Quercus is not the representation of oak its name paints it to be, nor one that should be bothered with outside the Penhaligon's dedicated fanbase, who are the folks wearing this most. I'd wear it if given to me, but considering there are so many better options within the house's own lines alone, this is more of a B-side meant as passable catalog filler which I'd barely reach for even if received as a gift, meaning it's an "oh I might as well" choice I'd rather not feel obligated to make. Definitely sample this before passing your own judgment though, as you might find this to be enjoyable despite where I stand with it.
31st July, 2018
I have several Penhaligon scents. The only thing I can say that sums it up well...

After a long day in the sun on the beach, skin is sun kissed, hair maybe a touch more blond from the salt water and sun.... you take a shower, shave, get dressed in comfortable casual clothing to go out for dinner... Sun is still out, people are still enjoying the beach or pool, but you are satisfied that you took in more than enough of the day to feel accomplished for relazing.. . Spray Quercus on and it completes the look at feel of a wonderfully perfect day.
16th September, 2016
I think Penhaligons developed this cologne to fit in with the other new scents in 1996.. Very safe citrus and antique shop wooden furniture smell that doesn't project or last..ok I suppose as a day to day fragrance it's ok but it's never going to excite anyone. Quercus is almost useless in today's society. Far better citrus based colognes out there that excite and project. Penhaligons have some excellent alternatives in their range including castille and blonhiem bouquet and many more.
21st June, 2016
Quercus seems to be aiming to be the scent of the office-going median man (if such a creature still exists) – it is crisp (the starched white shirt), energetic (‘can do’ attitude) and unobtrusive (‘what? you didn’t notice the hours I spent trimming my stubble to an acceptable degree of averageness?’). Not a perfume to really pay attention to but good to have in the background of a busy day.
Aside from that predominant impression of crispness there is little else to bite into – this is a decent lemon-and-lime cologne type offering on a sweet and foamy musk base. I could twist my nose trying to pick out more notes, but hardly see the point if they are not much in evidence.
Maybe they were going for the notion of being ‘sturdy as an oak’ in calling it Quercus, because there’s little here by way of woody notes.
Wears light and bright, with the musks seemingly hanging on for eternity.
19th October, 2015
Genre: Citrus

Quercus has bright, tangy citrus top notes surrounded by a very cool barbershop lavender in a classic men’s cologne opening, which it never travels very far from. Some resinous woods lend structure, and an occasional floral note flits by, but Quercus is a very simple citrus formula. It’s tart and it’s uplifting, but it’s also relatively weak, short-lived, and ordinary. What this has to do with oak (genus Quercus) is beyond me. If you actually want oak, get Chêne.
24th June, 2014
Very very close to Chrome and CKone, Quercus is made from a natural smelling blend of herbs that is infinitely more refined than either CKone or Chrome. However, despite that being the case, to me Chrome is the better fragrance to actually buy - being much cheaper and lasting much longer. Nice smell but perhaps not worth it when you can buy Chrome or CKone for pennies.
18th January, 2014 (last edited: 28th March, 2014)

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QUERCUS by Penhaligon's London 1.7 OZ COLOGNE SPRAY NEW in Box for Women

$48.71
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Penhaligon's Quercus Eau de Cologne Unisex 50 ml | cod. B16434 US

$99.00
End Date: Monday Jan-21-2019 5:17:24 PST
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PENHALIGON'S QUERCUS by Penhaligon's - 258415

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PENHALIGON'S QUERCUS by Penhaligon's - 231242

$100.63
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Penhaligon's Quercus For Unisex Cologne Spray 3.4 oz by Penhaligon's FGN-231242

$95.73
End Date: Tuesday Jan-22-2019 1:40:40 PST
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Penhaligon's Quercus by Penhaligon's Cologne Spray 3.4 oz Tester

$71.39
End Date: Tuesday Jan-22-2019 15:36:05 PST
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New Penhaligon's QUERCUS cologne 5ml / 0.17oz miniature mini

$18.00
End Date: Tuesday Jan-22-2019 19:27:49 PST
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Quercus by Penhaligon's London for Women 3.4 oz EDC Spray (Tester) Brand New

$85.00
End Date: Tuesday Jan-22-2019 21:33:36 PST
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Penhaligon's Quercus Perfume 3.4 oz EDC Spray Tester Unisex

$76.85
End Date: Thursday Jan-24-2019 4:30:08 PST
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Quercus 3.4 Oz Eau De Cologne Spray By Penhaligon'S Perfume For Women (Unisex)

$120.00
End Date: Friday Jan-25-2019 1:06:40 PST
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Quercus by Penhaligon's Eau De Cologne Spray (Unisex) 3.4 oz

$108.35
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Quercus by Penhaligon's Eau De Cologne Spray (Unisex Tester) 3.4 oz

$80.60
End Date: Friday Jan-25-2019 2:24:43 PST
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Quercus Eau De Cologne Spray (Unisex) By Penhaligon's for Men 3.4 oz

$125.00
End Date: Friday Jan-25-2019 3:36:24 PST
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Quercus Eau De Cologne Spray (Unisex) By Penhaligon's for Men 1.7 oz

$85.00
End Date: Friday Jan-25-2019 3:39:24 PST
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PENHALIGON'S QUERCUS by Penhaligon's COLOGNE SPRAY 1.7 OZ

$86.78
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