Perfume Directory

Original English Lavender / English Lavender (1873)
by Yardley


Original English Lavender / English Lavender information

Year of Launch1873
GenderShared / Unisex
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 75 votes)

People and companies

Parent CompanyLornamead
Parent Company at launchYardley

About Original English Lavender / English Lavender

Original English Lavender / English Lavender is a shared / unisex perfume by Yardley. The scent was launched in 1873

Original English Lavender / English Lavender fragrance notes

Reviews of Original English Lavender / English Lavender

Yardley has a storied history often forgotten due to mass-market sprawl the venerable English perfumer experienced in the late 20th century, leading to numerous acquisitions when the company finally tanked after 220+ years as a family-owned operation. The big one that put the perfumer on the map and earned it no less than 5 royal warrants over the years was English Lavender, a key creation that is as it sounds: a fresh scent based mostly around the lavender that grew along the English countryside. Over the years, the stuff became beloved by both men and women alike, even if after the turn of the 20th century it was marketed only to women. During Victorian times, this was just as likely to be adorning a dandy as a damsel, but after realizing that special "for men" scents were needed to bring in the larger population of less psycho-emotionally secure men existing abroad, the UK perfumers just re-dubbed this a women's perfume. At some point after the latest acquisition by Lornamead, the venerable scent was re-orchestrated entirely to finally reflect that dedicated femme direction sometime after 2012, but this ended up backfiring in it's home country of the UK, where the original was re-dubbed "Original English Lavender". Currently, the UK is the only place where the actual 1873 unisex classic is sold, outside of websites that import it, and everywhere else in the world sells only the female-aimed re-orchestrated "English Lavender". This review covers both, as they are both very similar and separated only by a few additional heart and base notes not found in the newer version to make it more airy and thus palatable to the stereotypical feminine tastes it shoots for. I think all this does is make the re-orchestration version an even better choice for before-bed use than the original, which is better day wear since it has the beefier Victorian-era proto-fougère base.

I say "proto-fougère" for English Lavender, because like Caswell-Massey Jockey Club (1840), and Trumper's Wild Fern (1877), the scent predates the namesake fragrance of Fougère Royale (1882) by a few years, but otherwise it is the classic barbershop paradigm that defines the style. The younger femme version of this does veer slightly more into chypre territory thanks to it's drier and lighter base arrangements that switch out the fougère base for Iso-E super wood note, patchouli, oakmoss, and vanilla. Otherwise, both scents have bergamot and clary sage in the opening, with the original being boosted by neroli and lavender leaf to make it more abstract and less directly-floral. The heart for both scents equally is based around lavender (the star of the show of course), eucalyptus, and geranium, which are super-classic barbershop combos by today's standard. The original scent factors in rosemary to make it a bit meatier and greener, while the newer iteration stays floral longer with jasmine, chamomile, and violet. From here, the biggest difference in transition occurs between original and new, as the original moves towards that classic tonka, musk, and sandalwood base, becoming more like a sweet, rich, comfort scent great after a shave. The newer version moves to the subtle dry vanilla, synthetic wood, and patchouli, which doesn't have nearly the same weight or projection, but helps preserve the feeling of the lavender much longer, so ironically is more like it's actual namesake than the older design. Frank Sinatra famously loved Yardley English Lavender and would never travel anywhere without the soap and fragrance on his person somewhere, so if the late "Chairman of the Board" liked it so exclusively, that's a pretty strong indicator of it's design quality, but I don't think he ever smelled the newer iteration.

If you love the calming affects of natural lavender products like stress balls, soaps, room sprays, and the like, the reform is what you want to spritz on after a shower to melt away in tranquil lavender, chamomile, and dry vanilla. If you're looking for a gender-neutral day wear scent that recalls pleasant strolls down high street in the late 19th century, and can go toe-to-toe with any of the above aforementioned classics, then the original is the preferred format, but expect insane shipping outside of the UK. I am a sucker for lavender so alongside my other stiff powdery old fougères this goes, and a bottle of the newer stuff for bedtime. It's pretty clearcut and fans of Aqua Lavanda Puig (1940) or Atkinson's English Lavender (1910) owe it to themselves to see what the hubbub is all about, since this is the one that arguably started it all (if we're talking the original stuff). Longevity is better on the older version but sillage isn't great on either one of these because they are just simple lavender-forward florals at the end of the day, and aren't meant to withstand intense cold or high heat, nor get through a grueling workday, so consider these as a before or after your main wear choice for those who like to switch out. For everyone else, carrying the bottle may be needed, but the economical nature of these (outside international shipping on the UK-only original) means you can spray away without worry of scarcity. There isn't much more to say here about these. I am a bit mad that they had to make the historical original version so hard to find outside of Yardley's home turf, but other than that, Yardley English Lavender in either iteration is a great buddy for the commonly-found soap (which uses the original formula but is ironically available globally). You won't get compliments nor will be making a statement with the stuff, but I don't think that is the point of Yardley English Lavender, if it ever was.
10th April, 2018
Well worth the price of admission. In terms of the fragrance market, this practically costs nothing. 125ml is the smallest volume available, which is a clear indication of just how inexpensive this is.

What you get is a very pleasant, inoffensive, all-season, unisex day scent, which is precisely what I was after. Not the most natural of lavenders, but lavender none the less. A rather light, slightly sweet, warm and well-rounded interpretation. Herbal, dry and green—but only very slightly. It's decidedly softer and more approachable, as opposed to the harsher, herbier, more astringent style. It's almost sunny in its imagery, unequivocally evoking the English countryside. Think of it as a much lighter, less distinguished version of Trumper's Wild Fern. And considerably cheaper too!

Longevity and sillage are not tremendous (although certainly far from the weakest I've ever tried), but then that almost suits the character of this fragrance. It's aroma is very light and airy, and so it's only natural that it wears that way also. Additionally, this allows the wearer to spray it very liberally all over the body and reapply as needed without fear of it building up too heavily like many other fragrances do.

For what is essentially a high street fragrance, this is really very impressive. No wonder it's long been considered a classic.

Footnote: This review is for Yardley's 'Original English Lavender', as opposed to their 'English Lavender', which I understand is a modern reformulation of their classic. They currently sell both formulations.
25th December, 2017
I wear English Lavender by Yardley in spring/summer mornings for my first dog walk.

The fragrance has the necessary calming properties to wake you up gradually & peacefully.

I mostly detect lavender & tonka notes while wearing it; I adore the relaxing effect it has on me...I also have a solid perfume stick of the fragrance to cool down at work on hot summer days.

Short longevity but well worth the experience...thanks Yardley!

Thumbs up!
23rd May, 2016
An aromatic piece of classicism combining a Victorian fougere herbal-fresh initial spark with a more chyprey powdery-mossy-tonkinian dry down. A simple but heavenly accord of lavender, musk, oakmoss, soap and fava tonka. As well as outlined by Odysseusm, Yardley English Lavender (one of the first in its genre since issued far back in 1873) represents the long aromatic edge connecting scents as Geo F. Trumper Wild Fern, Houbigant Fougere Royale and Atkinsons English Lavender. Ok, faint longevity and poor sillage but the scent itself is heaven, so talky, dreamy, "ancestral", soapy, musky. If you are on a budget and an obdurate fougere nostalgic well, give this fragrance a try.
29th May, 2015
A simple, clean, unpretentious lavender. This juice is for me, alone. It lacks the longevity or sillage to be worn for notice. The low cost allows me to use it in bath water, sprayed on a pillow before bed, and always worn on the wrists after a shower, before bed, or whenever I want a relaxing lavender to sniff. Wife loves it. One can find better lavenders, but not better for liberally splashing or spraying.
23rd March, 2015
drseid Show all reviews
United States
*This is a review of the vintage English Lavender.

English Lavender opens with an aromatic airy and slightly camphorous lavender and citric bergamot tandem with a sharp supporting cedarwood undertone. As the composition reaches its early heart the bergamot vacates, leaving the staring aromatic camphorous lavender and supporting sharp natural smelling cedar initially by themselves, before gradually adding in herbaceous, leathery clary sage as the composition moves though its heart. During the late dry-down the lavender eschews its aromatic facet and cedarwood support as it turns mildly powdery, joined by moderately animalic musk through the finish. Projection is below average, as is longevity at 5-6 hours on skin.

English Lavender (vintage) is a composition I was exposed to as a child nearly forty years ago. The composition was quite common back then in stores everywhere, also finding its way into soaps and other toiletries. While memory can be quite tricky when looking back on a period of nearly 40 years, I distinctly remember it leaving an indelible positive impression with its very recognizable signature. Fast forward to present time, after many years of passing over buying a bottle of the vintage juice it was time to go down memory lane and make the purchase to see if those positive memories still held so many years later. Wearing English Lavender on skin as I write this, I can definitely confirm that while different smelling than I remember, the composition still is quite distinctive and impressive, only adding unexpected sharp natural cedarwood to the mix. In truth, there really isn't much to English Lavender's composition structure. It is a relatively simplistic concoction, but what sets it apart from the competition is its near-perfect execution and very solid raw material quality. Who would have thought this was a drug store fragrance? On the negative side of the equation are the relatively poor performance metrics. I don't know officially if the composition was an EdT or an EdC, but I would wager an EdC, as it has a light airy structure with relatively poor longevity. Whatever it is, it smells darn good and is still dirt cheap in relative terms on the aftermarket making even a blind buy a real low-risk possibility. The bottom line is vintage Yardley English Lavender smells different than I remember it with more of a cedar component, but the end result doesn't disappoint, earning it a "very good" 3.5 stars out of 5 rating and a solid recommendation.
08th March, 2015

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