Reviews of Sartorial by Penhaligon's

    Find out more about Sartorial by Penhaligon's in the Basenotes Fragrance Directory


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    mattandhiscat's avatar



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    I wonder if penhaligons description of this fragrance has influenced my judgement but i honestly smell clean linen and engine oil, now this may sound an odd combination and one that shouldn't work but it does..This scent grew on me and by the third time I wore it i was utterly convinced that this is a superb fragrance. I usually like citrus fragrances like trumpers gft but this is a great alternative, I really like the waxy pepper dry down too...a modern classic from penhaligons

    15th November, 2014

    Sir's avatar



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    I set out to buy Endymion from Penhaligon's and took the chance to sample another couple of fragrances from their collection. Sartorial stood out as different but classic. I completely get what they are trying to achieve with this scent. While the idea of evoking the tailor's workroom may not sound like the basis for a great scent, Penhaligon's have managed to do that expertly while producing a very nice fragrance.

    Some people may buy Penhaligon's fragrances in the spirit of their marketing. Judging by their boxes, bottles, imagery, even the scent itself, it might be easy to think that you have bought a little piece of English heritage. In reality, they are as guilty as the next of inventing a back story to fit their needs. The modern reincarnation of the Penhaligon's name is no more dated back to 1870 than I am Queen Victoria!

    Leaving the marketing aside, Sartorial by Penhaligon's is a classic men's fragrance well worth a try. The only down side is, although longevity is better than other Penhaligon's fragrances, it doesn't last more than a couple of hours.

    26th October, 2014

    Way Off Scenter's avatar

    United States United States

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    Genre: Fougère

    Whether it’s Edmond Roudnitska’s clever twist on eau de Cologne in Eau Sauvage or Francis Kurkdjian’s gloss on the classic chypre structure in Enlévement au Sérail, reinterpreting a traditional formula presents an ideal opportunity for talented contemporary perfumers to showcase their powers of invention. In Sartorial, Bertrand Duchaufour takes on the time-tested aromatic fougère style, an idea honed to a fine point in scents like Azzaro pour Homme, Tuscany per Uomo, and Tsar, then largely superseded by the tide of lighter, less serious, fruity-aquatic fougères that followed the success of Cool Water in the late 1980s and 1990s.

    Sartorial is an unabashed throwback, with all the gravity and substance of its classical antecedents, filtered through the sensibilities that brought us Avignon, Timbuktu, Dzongkha, and Paestum Rose. The result is a serious composition that tempers the traditional barbershop associations of citrus, lavender, and tonka bean (coumarin) with the occasional 21st century embellishment. The first of these are bold ginger and black peppercorn top notes that deftly clothe the anise, bergamot and lavender opening in contemporary garb. The next, and most conspicuous to my nose, is beeswax, which emerges after roughly half an hour and grows more potent with wear. The beeswax brings a subtle and fascinating animalic warmth to what might otherwise be an overly starched and sanitary composition. As it is, the interplay of soapy and sensuous elements generates a low-key background dissonance that animates Sartorial right through its drydown.

    In keeping with its traditional aromatic fougère roots, Sartorial is a dense, potent, and lasting composition. It doesn’t take much to make an impact, and a single application lasts me all day long. My only reservation is whether Sartorial truly offers more than predecessors like Tuscany and Azzaro pour Homme, which match it closely in style and quality, but at a mere fraction of the price.

    02nd July, 2014

    UKisGR8's avatar

    United States United States

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    Big thumbs up. Penhaligon's packaging and presentation is great as usual and the juice that is inside the bottle matches. I've heard the comparisons of Sartorial to Brut. Eh, I kind of see it but Brut wishes it were Sartorial. Sartorial is mature, complex and develops nicely on the skin. I've heard Penhaligon's fragrances don't have much longevity, but I got almost 6 hours with one spray to the wrist during sampling. It does stay close to the skin as it develops but I'd rather be discovered than noticed as the old saying rings true... At least for me.

    The development of this fragrance holds up to online reviews I've read and watched. A lot going on here but it's all great. Slightly sweet, the smell of starch and an iron... The steam, the beeswax... It's all there plus more and amazingly, it all makes sense.

    Find a sample. Get your nose on Sartorial and sniff it out.

    01st May, 2014

    Locus Solus's avatar

    Scotland Scotland

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    Generic (English)man. Will make the wearer blend right in to the office crowd.

    03rd December, 2013 (Last Edited: 07th December, 2013)

    sjg3839's avatar

    United States United States

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    You would think with all the notes in this one, it would be a total disaster. Wrong! This has that barbershop vibe to it and I will have to get this one in the collection. Very mature and classic smelling fragrance. More suited for the fall and winter months.

    04th November, 2013

    foetidus's avatar

    United States United States

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    More retro than modern.

    I approached Sartorial without expecting much because its pyramid lists my two most disliked notes: violet leaf, and leather. The opening is delightful – aldehydes and ozonics – done well – classy. The pyramid mentions a metallic effect, ok, possibly I am getting a slight tinge of headache. I don’t smell the violet leaf nor the neroli nor spices listed, except to say that the aldehydes and ozonics and metallics are definitely grounded in a light but solid, organic, warm texture. I really do like this… not only do I like the smell of this accord on the skin, but the sillage is delightfully warm and fresh.

    It bogs down in the middle level. I don’t find the leather any kind of annoying, but it does take the character out of beeswax and florals – it just kind of bores things down and creates a generic texture accord that contains a minimum of interesting things happening.

    With the drydown Sartorial perks up a little – that programmed boredom of the middle is relieved with some variety and sweet… I don’t get much wood or even patchouli; I doubt that wood notes were meant to take a strong part in this fragrance – and I agree, it would be inconsistent for Sartorial to turn into simply another cedar base. I do get a controlled sweetness and, oddly enough, the white musk is strongly represented – I don’t often get a strong white musk. I do get a myrrh and oakmoss, and for sweet, I get honey and vanilla. In, all I truly enjoy the drydown except that it is recessive and has quite limited longevity.

    I agree with those who said that Sartorial is more retro than modern or even than combo. Granted, there is that excellent use of ozonics in the opening, but the ozonics are very strongly supported by aldehydes, which are quite retro. In structure and impact, Sartorial does remind me of Azzaro Pour Homme, as Off-Scenter had said. My skin gobbles up this fragrance… on paper I get incredible longevity, but it races off my skin, probably because the wood notes are so weak. Sillage is medium in the opening and base, but quite weak in the heart notes.

    Pros: v good opening with ozonics and aldehydes.
    Cons: Heart and base are too insignificant. "

    19th September, 2013

    Mr. W's avatar



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    Not impressed

    Nothing special, had very high hopes but.. Azzaro pour homme more seductive and elegant fragrance.

    14th September, 2013

    OdilonRedon's avatar

    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    Horrifyingly rigorous post-modern recreation of early 70s Brut and those who wore it. I was transported unwillingly back to about 1972 and the way adults smelled to me as an 8 year old: stifling aftershaves, slightly musty though recently pressed flannel suits and an impossible-to-ignore note which I can only describe as the smell of a block of alum after it has been rubbed over a fresh shaving cut. A million miles from Savile Row, but not from the easttbound District Line during the morning rush hour, when Ted Heath was prime minister.

    Neutral only for the sheer intensity of my reaction. I can't even handle this as irony, let alone on my skin.

    17th March, 2013 (Last Edited: 18th March, 2013)

    Fish's avatar

    United States United States

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    As a user of Opus 1870 and Endominion I find Sartorial an excellent addition to my growing collection from Pen. Sartorial comes across as a very refined wear that stands out above the crowd of modern EDT's for the older or mature individual. From the opening till it's completely gone, the kaleidoscope of notes come together to produce a continuing array of wonderful scent vibes one feels proud to wear.
    An excellent if not the perfect fougere for it's class.

    09th January, 2013

    Francop's avatar

    Spain Spain

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    Beautifully refined masculine aromatic fougere with excellent longevity and good sillage.

    Thumbs up!

    08th January, 2013

    wormstir's avatar



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    Sartorial is the epitome of an aromatic fougere - you can smell a whole spice rack worth of lovely dried herb smells entwined within this stuff. The herbs definately smell like essential oils too and nothing fake. This is real 'barbershop' juice, and is the perfect scent for anyone who loves the very similar Rive Gauche for men or Azzaro PH and fancies moving up to something more refined. This is the essense of a 'suited and booted' daytime fragrance.

    27th December, 2012

    's avatar



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    Smells classic and sophisticated. It has a nice barbershop vibe that makes it very masculine. Well balanced and has a decent level of sweetness. Longevity, lasting power and sillage are medium-high. Definetely worth a bottle.

    12th December, 2012

    genevascent's avatar



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    First I tried this fragrance on one of my trips to London. I gave it the skin test. Ten minutes later I thought it was nothing special. However, one hour later it became much more masculine, and one of the best scents I ever tested. So I quickly ran back to the store before it closed to purchase one bottle. The longevity of this fragrance is amazing. It lasts on skin and on clothes forever. It has got a deep and very complex combination of scents. The sales person described it as a tailor's workshop, but frankly to me it rather suggests a mix of shaved businessman, young pirate and passionate lover all in one. It's got some pretty unique nuances, and it peaks at around 2-3 hours, which makes it suitable for long dates with women/men who love masculine & powerful.

    20th November, 2012

    Buzzlepuff's avatar

    United States United States

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    Sartorial is Bertrand Duchaufour's fragrant recreation of the smells, the feel and ambiance of an old world mens tailor haberdashery. You smell the bolts of many varieties of finely woven fabric, the shoe leather polished to a dull shine, and wafts of old world fougere cologne coming from workers of the establishment. The combination of differences makes this a truly international establishment. I like it.

    The opening scent is an amberish fougere with a characteristic lavender/coumarin/oakmoss effect that warms you all over. Could be boring, but shortly after, in 10 minutes or so, the scent is taken over by a bold sauté of incense spiced woods (ginger, black pepper, oud wood, cedar, gurgham) and this multinational middle tone is stabilized with warm leather tones.

    Sartorial is a successful combination of 3 old world disciplines in fragrance styles: fougere + incense + oriental leather. If Sartorial had continued down the same old fougere path I would not have liked the result. However, the combination of seemingly different fragrance pathways has created a woven tapestry that is as good as the name "sartorial." Possibly a new world masterpiece.

    01st November, 2012

    Redbeard's avatar

    United States United States

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    Another fougere of sorts from Pen's...opens with a quiet, dry, grassy green, and includes a heavy dose of the same type of subtle florals as in Monsieur de Givenchy, as well as some slightly musty fruit. After a few minutes it starts to get sappier, and some sort of sweet spice becomes more noticeable underneath, like drinking a Dr. Pepper in damp earthy grass. The vanilla starts to show up a little later but stays restrained behind the spices. At this point I have trouble remembering the differences between this stuff, their English Fern, and Houbigant's reissued Fougere Royale, though I'm not the best judge of traditional fougeres. I like how it avoids the wintergreen-like note that usually bugs me in this group, but because they've replaced it with cola-type spices, it's a dubious victory by my tastes. Still, it manages to stay more masculine than most of their "masculine" scents, and stays old-fashioned without being too dated. I also recommend it, along with Polo Modern Reserve, as a green scent that starts out "summery" and slowly becomes heavier and more "wintery" toward the end.

    06th May, 2012

    ewabili's avatar

    Canada Canada

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    I just smelled this perfume today, I like it because it's very similar to Le Mâle by Jean Paul Gaultier (which they probably used as an inspiration), but I find that Sartorial is much more refined. Many of the notes are the same, mint, powder, lavender, spices, but it's not as sharp and the notes flow in a very mellow way. If Le Mâle is the bad boy that parties all night, then Sartorial is his dapper English brother with a day job.

    07th March, 2012

    Harvitz81's avatar



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    I won’t bother describing the notes on this one as it has everything and the kitchen sink in there. This is a classic aromatic fougere that evokes images of businessmen in suits sitting around an office hashing it out. It is a very refined and sophisticated scent that bespokes a classic British feel to it as many of Penhaligon’s offerings do. If you are a fan of the fougere genre you must check this out. Classic, refined, sophisticated and simply great stuff.

    09th February, 2012

    Jack Hunter's avatar

    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    This opens up with the smell of a steam iron going across a shirt then the lavender and violet creep in to add dimension.

    As time goes by your nose is hit by many different notes all trying to catch your attention at the same time. I can smell neroli,woods, beeswax along with the starched shirt accord.

    This fragrance is complex and unequal and I have not smelled another fragrance like it. As time goes by it gets a little more sweeter with the tonka bean and amber showing up amongst the many notes.

    As the fragrance drysdown it cannot seem to hang on to the captivating opening accord and becomes like many other fragrances with a sweet woody base. Thumbs up though.

    26th January, 2012

    dollars&scents's avatar

    United States United States

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    Sartorial by Penhaligon's - Upon application, one is treated to a remarkable, barbershop accord. This clean melange is an amalgamation of the green, mowed grass of violet leaf, the sour, orangey neroli, the mildly sweet cardamom, the spicy black pepper as well as the candied sharpness of ginger. An interesting aura of ephemeral steam as well as an errant, metallic something intrude; and aldehydes impart their laundered linen effect. Meandering to the awaiting middle, muguet-like cyclamen, sweetly green linden bloosom, as well as the freshness of lavender lovingly add their veiled, floral facets to the somewhat stuffy opening. This exquisite heart is wonderfully showered with earthy and buttery beeswax yielding a slightly carmelized blend, while hints of leather flitter about. Transitioning to the commonplace base, balsamic gurgum wood, clean oakmoss, dry cedar, fleeting driftwood, vanillic tonka bean, boggy patchouli, soapy white musk, faintly powdery amber, woody myrrh as well as some source of oiliness, all combine as the groundwork for the refreshing drydown. Albeit this composition is constructed and layered well, it is nonetheless just another barbershoppy, oldmanish fragrance, with good longevity and projection.

    08th January, 2012

    drseid's avatar

    United States United States

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    A mild thumbs up from me for Sartorial. I like its opening that really is a nice aromatic blend of citrus and spice, but then the scent calms down to a kind of barbershop fresh vibe at its heart that stays for the rest of its duration that I feel like I have smelled before. A well done scent to be sure, but a somewhat sub-par effort from a great nose like Duchaufour who has created so many truly outstanding scents. From almost anyone else I might call myself impressed with the results. 3 to 3.5 stars out of 5.

    03rd December, 2011 (Last Edited: 26th December, 2012)

    odysseusm's avatar

    Canada Canada

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    What an interesting scent! It is both extremely old-school and amazingly modern in style. It opens as a very historic fougere, with lavender, moss and hay-like vanilla notes. Then I find a very contemporary, even industrial, note of paper, steam and freshly-ironed shirts... perhaps the crackle of ozonic electricity. This adds a very clean and bracing quality to the fougere richness. Venerable wood and old leather notes work in counterpoint with an edgy metallic note to create a charming chord. This certainly suggests a location, the tailor shop but also an old library. My one reservation is a slightly more developed vanilla note than I like -- but this is a minor point. High approval for this. Very well conceived and executed.

    25th November, 2011

    Man Erg's avatar

    England England

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    I really didn't care for this at first but the whole is better than the sum of it's parts.It has a sense of intrique about it. I want to keep coming back to it as each time it wafts past my nose a new element unfolds.

    As with most of Penhaligon's scents, there is a strong powdery dry-down. This comes after the brazen beeswax/Myrrh opening blast. I smelt like a cross between a well cared for piece of wooden furniture and a cricket bat.

    The powdery dry-down does take quite a while to pass and, thankfully, the faint scent of 'cheap' patchouli joss sticks passes quickly to leave white musk and fading violets with a peppery edge. I think that this may end up being one of my Autumn/Winter mainstays.

    23rd November, 2011 (Last Edited: 13th December, 2011)

    bokaba's avatar

    United States United States

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    I've given Sartorial a lot of thought before writing this review. I initially liked it, then reviled it, and now find it rather ho-hum. After all the media surrounding this fragrance and its supposedly Victorian bespoke tailoring industry association, I hoped it would evoke that same imagery for me--unfortunately it did not. To be honest, Sartorial is nothing more than a 1970s-1980s aromatic fougere in the style of Jazz, Azzaro Pour Homme, and others juxtaposed on top a warm heart of beeswax, which is probably Sartorial's only interesting feature. Overall, I find Sartorial to be a somewhat modernized version of a macho aromatic fougere with beeswax and loads of other unappealing notes and "effects." Ginger, aldehyde, gurgum wood, ozone...all of these would have been far out of step with a true Victorian-inspired scent. Nonetheless, the beeswax heart is appealing, but the cacophonous opening and synthetic musky ambergris base (a cheap musk and ambroxan I figure) make this scent not to my taste. Perhaps the most bothersome part of Sartorial is the fact that Penhaligons took a staple genre of men's perfumery, dressed it up, and re-bottle it is some centuries old formula. If you should ever get the chance I would suggest trying the little known and discontinued Belgravia by the Dukes of Pall Mall--nearly identical, but exudes traditional English refinement, simplicity, and quality.

    10th November, 2011

    Diamondflame's avatar

    Singapore Singapore

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    Forget the hype. Forget the fougere/chypre dichotomy. Forget the grocery list of notes (I think I saw a kitchen sink note in there somewhere); they only get in the way of the SARTORIAL experience. Wearing it is like putting on your bespoke suit - yes, the one that took 3 months to perfect. You know you can wear it anytime with confidence because it's been tailored to fit you, and only you, perfectly. Sartorial evokes the crisp feel of a freshly laundered, immaculately pressed white shirt. It feels good! I don't know how Duchafour does it but this is one fragrance that lives up to the hype. I could even smell some tailor's chalk!

    Above all Sartorial is a well-made, somewhat contemporary update of a gentlemen's classic. If subtle elegance, a dignified presence, and a sense of immaculate grooming are elements of style you are after, do give this Penhaligon's a go. FBW.


    22nd October, 2011

    suburbanites's avatar

    United States United States

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    I don't know anyone still around that might recognize what a Savile Row tailor's shop would smell like, let alone turn that into a fragrance. Nonetheless, there are a couple of issues to address in Sartorial. First, is the opening is quite harsh, very metallic and ozonic, and a bit difficult to break through as it is completely dominant for the first 30-40 minutes. Second, is that I think that it's trying much too hard to be something more than it really is. Finally, despite the ingredient list longer than a box of Twinkies, this manages to still be rather linear in its transformation.

    I don't get aromatic fougere from this at all, but I feel transfixed from the opening on this as a Barbershop-like clean scent, which isn't a bad thing. That remained from the top -- where it was most overpowering -- to its base several hours later , when it became tolerable, sedated, and a bit more refreshing, and certainly more powdery in the dry-down. Again, it seemed analagous to a barbershop visit from my childhood where you open with that very strong after-shave aroma, calmed later by talcum powder. The scent is simple, clean, fairly unpretentious in the final outcome.

    So why did it take more than 24 different elements to resurrect what otherwise would be a turn-of-century, classic experience? The outcome seems too spare for the elements in the composition, many of which are beyond detection -- for instance, I don't sense wood or leather in this at all, though I'd say it was over-the-top if I noticed those as well.

    I don't dislike it, though compared to my other scents, this isn't one I'd find myself wearing much. It's not quite my personal style or profile, despite it being both jolly well-executed and jolly pricey.

    06th October, 2011

    The_Cologneist's avatar

    United States United States

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    In a nutshell: Very powdery, very woody, very musky. Usually I hate musk, but this one is very well balanced. You can tell from the get go that there is going to be a slightly animallic musk there; fortunately it dissipates. The leather note quickly shines in the middle and dominates for a while.

    Overall: A barbershop fragrance with a lot more depth. Comforting, smooth, refined. A little bit of this, and a little bit of that. Sits closer to the skin for me, after the first 20 minutes, but can last the whole day.

    27th September, 2011

    boosh's avatar

    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    My opinion at first: Very Penhaligon's - refined, sophisticated and to my nose cold and powdery. Not particularly nice, was a thumbs down and a write-off for me.

    Later: Powdery aspect is dropping to a really special twist on the old school Azzaro PH kinda vibe. This change in opinion seems to happen for me with all of this type of fragrance, including Invasion Barbare which is in the same classic-modern vein of Sartorial. The slight floral element is something new and welcomed by me as it never reduces the pure masculinity you get from this.

    It's now an interesting toss up between Sartoriale and Invasion Barbare, which is more bottle worth?...

    05th August, 2011

    LiveJazz's avatar

    United States United States

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    Yes. Brut.

    This is Brut, projected through the prism of the most modern fragrance styles, distilled with the essence of all the best that came from the "ozonic" trend, artistically molded to resemble an idealized high-end tailor's shop, and cut to a trim and stylish silhouette by Douchafour. Awesome.

    30th July, 2011

    Oproust's avatar

    United States United States

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    The first time I wore Sartorial, I thought it smelled like a very refined and much more complex version of the vintage Brut. I am very partial to aromatic fougeres and Sartorial is a very welcome addition. The list of notes in Sartorial is daunting, 24 and counting. I'm not sure what metallic effect, ozonic effect and old wood effect are, but I don't care. This stuff smells great. I won't even attempt to describe the progression of notes. Others have done that very well. And with Sartorial, Penhaligon's has done a modern, classy fougere very well. So pull your charcoal grey suit off the rack, starch your white shirt, tie your Windsor knot, shine your wing tips and spray on some Sartorial to complete the vibe.

    28th July, 2011

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