Perfume Directory

Quercus (1996)
by Penhaligon's

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Quercus information

Year of Launch1996
GenderShared / Unisex
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 155 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

Pedestrian citrus floral. I've tried Quercus on and off or a week, easy enough to do since it has no staying power and it's forgotten about 20 minutes after spraying. I get no lingering reminders that I have it on, no fleeting glimpses wafting up - nothing.

Although as unexciting as they come, Quercus has one redeeming factor - I doubt a single person would find anything contrary about it. Quercus is an incredibly safe perfume to buy someone as a gift especially if you don't know what they like and they aren't sure or afraid to wear perfume. Incredibly light and incredibly forgettable.
06th January, 2020
From January, 2015

This reminds me of so many other fragrances ranging from the inexpensive CK One and Chrome Legend all the way to the high priced Kobe, by Xerjoff. It's a slightly watery fragrance equal parts citrus notes and white florals, specifically neroli and jasmine. It's decent and of relatively good quality, appropriate for the spring and summer. It presents an impression that is clean and fresh. There's not a ton of personality in Quercus, but it does its job well, and while I wouldn't be mad if someone gave this to me as a gift, I wouldn't seek it out either. Performance is good. Thumbs up because there's nothing wrong with this offering from Penhaligon's, and on its own it's a solid fragrance, but once you start comparing it to others, it kind of gets lost in the mix.

Side note: Quercus makes sense I look at the year in which it was made, 1996. It fits right into the budding aquatic genre that was taking root at that time, and probably seemed like a pretty classy, good one at the time. Unfortunately, now it's just another boring sort of fresh, citrus, white floral aquatic, similar to many other fragrances out there.
13th August, 2019
I’m also one of those who experienced Quercus in a hotel, through a whole collection of products. It’s an average, inoffensive and light eau de Cologne.
13th February, 2019
Oviatt Show all reviews
United States
I first experienced Quercus while staying in a hotel in Washington, DC that offered its guests soap, shampoo, conditioner, etc., all from Penhaligon's and scented with Quercus. I stayed there many times and associate my time there very much with this scent which is perfect for hotel amenities: it is unisex and smells like good, expensive shampoo. Mind you, I once also stayed in a hotel where all of their amenities were scented with Nina Ricci's L'Air du Temps, the last thing I wanted to smell like, then or now.

Quercus is literally the middle of the spectrum between "feminine" and "masculine." Flowers for the ladies? Check. Wood notes for the gents? Check. Citrus top notes and some musk in the base to please everyone? Check again. Smell pleasant? Check. Quality the house is known for? Check again.

I can see why Penhaligon's--at that time--wanted to put something like Quercus out but it lacks the character and differentiation that so many of their great scents, like Hamman Bouquet or Endymion have. Penhaligon's proved that they can do mainstream and proved that they could blur gender lines (although their clients have been doing that for years on their own). Thankfully they returned to producing more interesting fragrances but for anyone looking for expensive hand wash for the guest bathroom, this is the stuff (and yes, they do offer it in that format).
04th February, 2019
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

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