This stuff is brilliant! On first spray, the topnotes are complicated and should be a mess, but somehow combine into something transcendent. It's bright and citric like a traditional eau, but also deep green and spicy like a powerhouse chypre, but also a touch modern with pepper and leather.
Walking down the street, I'm surrounded by spiced oranges mixed with lavender and sage. Meanwhile, smelled up close, a nice lavender-smeared sandalwood comes in and fills in all the cracks, creating the complicated but cohesive smell that Sandringham keeps going most of the day. My best description is that it's like an especially good woody powerhouse scent, but with a sanalwood-heavy classic "oriental" amber along the lines of Coromandel sandwiched between the spicy green topnotes and the leathery mossy base.
If Clive Christian has the recipe for this, I could totally imagine paying those sorts of prices for something of this complexity and magnitude. But it's doubtful that this could be resurrected without Mysore sandalwood and real bergamot oil, so I guess it's destined to be a museum-quality obscurity. Smell it if you can...
A delightful lavender-neroli mix opens this fragrance, soon to be joined by a floral note in the drydown. At this stage lily-of-the-valley is dominant. This is a floral that is never sweet; on the contrary, it has a herbal-harsh undertone on my skin. This is developed further in the bae, where moss joins woody notes; I get a whiff of pine. Very good projection and silage for the first six hours; I get a superb longevity of over eleven hours in total. A classic masterpiece. 4.5/5.
Sandringham is the Edwardian British masculine floral personified. It sits poignantly among other greats such as Dukes of Pall Mall Cotswold, Dunhill for Men, Floris no. 89, and even Hammam Bouquet. Sandringham features a realistic--likely natural--muguet note (lily) which is tempered by spices, woods, and musks to keep it safely masculine. Sandringham is an Edwardian dandy's scent (blast that it doesn't have an animalic element though) built around quality ingredients and traditional craft. We can only pray that Clive Christian chooses not to renew his trademark over Crown Perfumery when it expires in 2016 and that someone will revive these lost gems.
On me, this is a powerful, aromatic mossy-herbal scent. The citrus and floral escape me, or disappear instantly. The herbal notes are very interesting. I detect thyme in abundance, and also perhaps marjoram, mint and/or rosemary. There are supposed to be “sweet woody notes” but I find they are very minor, compared to the assertive and slightly sweet herbal notes. I appreciate herbal scents, and I enjoy this one. But for me, it is so assertive that I must apply lightly. I find it really gains in intensity in the drydown. It definitely has an old-school vibe.
As is often the case with fragrances with strong wood notes, I don’t pick up any opening citrus except that there’s a fresh sharpness to the pine in the opening accord that most likely is attributable to citrus notes. The opening I perceive is a unique wood / lavender accord: Unique in the sense that it is not at all mass market or plebian: It has a blue-blooded air about it. It, in fact, is as snobbish in its use of wood, moss, and lavender as Penhaligan’s Blenheim Bouquet is in BB’s use of citrus, lavender, and pine. This wood / moss accord in Sandringham is not what I would call refined or sophisticated — it’s more rustic and demanding. It’s a unique accord that obliges respect while it flaunts attitude — a self-assured panache incorporated into a potent streak of well-rehearsed aloofness. Of course these attitude notes have a certain country elegance about them, but there is more attitude than style. Sandringham is fairly linear and there is basically only one wood / moss accord and that particular accord accomplishes everything. It is as tenacious as it is as imposing. There is no letup for hours — except for the gradual reduction of its swagger as time goes by. Woods are my favorite category of fragrance, but Sandringham is so much more than an excellent wood scent: It is an arch-alpha male personality. (Edit of 24 April 2007 review.)
Dirty doings in the library! Has our gent brought in a lady of questionable background? To me, Sandringham is like a member of the upper crust slumming in his own heavily wood-paneled manor. This is most bitter of all the Crowns, topping Eau de Quinine or even the face-slapping Esterhazy. Do I detect quinine amidst the herbs and wood? There is definitely a non-citrus bitter component that performs a great balancing act with the sweetness.
I love to occasionally wear Sandringham for a bit of shock value. On a woman, it's twice as in-your-face as on a man.