Positive Reviews of Sartorial by Penhaligon's

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    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fougère style, an idea honed to a fine point in scents like Azzaro pour Homme, Tuscany per Uomo, and Tsar, then largely superseded by the tide of lighter, less serious, fruity-aquatic fougères that followed the success of Cool Water in the late 1980s and 1990s.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.

    02 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

    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.

    04 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. "

    19 September, 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.

    09 January, 2013

    Francop's avatar

    Spain Spain

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

    Thumbs up!

    08 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.

    27 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.

    12 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

    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.

    07 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.

    09 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.

    26 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.

    03 December, 2011 (Last Edited: 26 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.

    25 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.

    23 November, 2011 (Last Edited: 13 December, 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.


    22 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.

    27 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?...

    05 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.

    28 July, 2011

    JackTwist's avatar

    United States United States

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    This is a perfectly decent chypre, not a fougere. It is quite tweedy, very crisp, the oakmoss and lavender blend very nicely. One thing they have avoided here is not to overdo it and assault you with overly strong green notes, which usually turn me off to this type of cologne. It reminded me most of Caswell Massey's Greenbriar - a classic for its type but to the nose as the Caswell version is.

    Certainly for this type of cologne it is long lasting, true to its note family and long lasting. A winner in my book.

    05 July, 2011 (Last Edited: 13 July, 2011)

    JaimeB's avatar

    United States United States

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    Quite unusual for a fougère, though recognizable as such. It has a lot of spicy notes, and some florals (cyclamen, lavender, neroli), but lots of woods and 'effects' (by which I guess are meant accords or bases). First sniff is kind of barbershop-like, but later, the more modern aspects come out, supplementing the earlier impression without negating it or taking over from it completely. The resiny and woody notes come in gradually, starting from the very beginning, it seems. What doesn't seem evident are the aldehydes; the sort of waxy and slightly floral effect one expects from these doesn't seem to materialize, unless it is missed in the early rush of top notes. The overall effect seems spare, a bit angular and no-nonsense, but in an elegant mode nevertheless. Some might call this invigorating; that would certainly be justifiable, but the best overall descriptions to me would be 'modern' and 'atmospheric.'

    22 March, 2011

    mrcologneguy's avatar

    United States United States

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    It's supposed to tell a story via intricate layers of fragrance. Well, here's the story: once there was a cute, flirty salesgirl behind a fragrance counter. A guy said, "Hi, what's new?" Later, he woke up with an $80 credit card bill, and a tiny bottle of Sartorial.

    It's lovely stuff. Refined, and it always makes you feel well-dressed. Hence, the name. Very strong, lasts all day. Recommended for men who want to feel sophisticated and dressed-up.

    15 March, 2011

    Lc1963's avatar



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    This is a wonderful fragrance. It may not work for some but do yourself a favor and try it on. Spraying the fragrance on paper does not do it justice and allow it to dry down.

    10th March, 2011

    Grottola's avatar

    United States United States

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    Sartorial is a GREAT modern fougère. Fresh, clean and conserved with leather, oakmoss, a noticeable coumarin note, and tonka. It also has a lot of musk. Debonaire and well-tailored but by no means stuffy at all. A little pricey but worth it IMO - lasts all day and smells very classy.

    06 March, 2011 (Last Edited: 26 April, 2011)

    alfarom's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    Ok, yes, I love Bertrand Duchaufour's creations but besides that I think Sartorial is a great scent. (Deservedly) ambitious and complex as an "architectural structure"! A perfect union between classic and modern. A traditional fougere with a retrò feel always balanced by an hyper modern allure given by the "effects" notes (beeswax, metal, old wood). I'd say this one is more a sensation than a real perfume and that's why I love it.

    As I previously said is quite complex but so well executed to become a perfect everyday's fragrance for anyone into modern classicism.Sillage is good, lasting power not much (4-5 hours on my skin) but I still firmly believe this one to be highly recommendable.

    04 March, 2011 (Last Edited: 04 August, 2011)

    neal's avatar

    United States United States

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    As Off-Scenter mentions, Sartorial is an unabashed throwback. I have always thought that in it's time, Brut was one of the most masculine fragrances made. I was constantly on the prowl for a vintage bottle of Brut in hopes of somehow recapturing that magic. Today, Brut would be obviously dated and brash but somehow Sartorial for me captures the essence of that 70's magical juice and brings it into the 2010's. Best new release of 2010, IMHO.

    02 March, 2011

    JonB's avatar

    United States United States

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    Sartorial would be very difficult to describe in words; you will need to sample it for yourself. This is a non-standard fragrance that will probably garner plenty of negatives, but I love it.

    14 February, 2011

    orrisboy's avatar

    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    I was lucky enough to sample Sartorial at the early stages of development and now it has arrived, like Hermes leather, Catherine Deneuve and friendship; it has evolved beautifully into something almost perfect, as if it has always been there. It is autumn here in Edinburgh, the air is chilling, and the streets darkening, shadows guttering as I walk home. The city always feels more haunted at this time of the year than at any other, the beautiful Georgian architecture flickering with memories of past betrayals, proud love and bitter desire. It can be a brutal raw elemental city, but its heart is soft and warm, with a steady beat, liquid and emotive. Each night I walk home through the shifting streets, I think how appropriate this scent is for right now......waxy with honeyed tones and gentle velvet warmth, for nights when events seem large and insurmountable, but then you realise the scale of things and your priorities. Simple things will warm you; simple things will make you smile. The sudden familiarity of scent on a scarf, the fall of a strap from a shoulder, the unbuttoning of a shirt, an eye catching an eye as you cross the street. And your heated smile as you head home.....

    Bertrand Duchaufour has honed and smoothed Sartorial beautifully with olfactory dexterity and alchemical sleight of hand. It is an extraordinary experience, the scented re-creation of a Savile Row cutting room. The ozonics fizzing away as the scent opens are not aquatics but steam notes to represent traditional cloth being pressed. There are chalk and dust notes bedded through the lavender and oakmoss. 'Old wood' effects for old tobacco-stained cabinetry, machine oil and metallic scissor effects with tints of old paper patterns captured in the weird vanillic drydown. The most beautiful note is the beeswax running through it, sweet, animalic and moreish. They use blocks of wax in traditional cutting rooms to coat the threads before stitching. This melts so well into the violet, geranium and classic fougère notes. I found it thrillingly melancholy, muted and hauntingly grey, full of autumnal power, like wearing a bespoke suit home in the damp air of a dark city night, one's mind bubbling with worries and the prospect perhaps of love and light at home.

    19 October, 2010

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