The Scent of The Modern Gent – Penhaligon’s Sartorial Perfume Review


“Sartorial – sar-tor-ial adj. [attrib] of or relating to tailoring, clothes, or style of dress: sartorial elegance”

I chose not to write a post on my fragrant new years resolutions simply because I have only made three. They are; to keep producing interesting and informative content for The Candy Perfume Boy, to review more fragrances from as many brands as possible and finally, to review more masculine fragrances.

Those who read this blog on a regular basis will know that I wear a lot of feminine fragrances and my reviews reflect this. I don’t have anything against masculines at all, they just tend not to be within my bracket of taste, whereas as feminine and niche ‘unisex’ (or sexless) fragrances tend to be right up my street. So, in the interest of balance I will ensure that I review more masculine fragrances and I will start with one of my recent favourites.

Sartorial (2010) is the latest masculine release from the über-British perfume house Penhaligon’s and is inspired by the workroom of a Saville Row Tailor. Created by perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour (who is also responsible for other Penhaligon’s fragrances such as Amaranthine and their Anthology Series) Sartorial is described as “a contemporary interpretation of a classic Fougère” [1]


“The perfect illusion of a tailor’s workroom…the oiled flash of shears cutting cloth, the rub of fabric beneath fingers, tobacco tinted cabinetry, puffs of chalk in the air and old paper patterns vanilla with age.” [2]

The Notes

Top: Aldehydes, Ozonic Effect, Metallic Effect, Violet Leaf, Neroli, Cardamom, Black Pepper and Fresh Ginger

Heart: Beeswax, Cyclamen, Linden Blossom, Lavender and Leather

Base: Gurgum Wood, Patchouli, Myrrh, Cedarwood, Tonka Bean, Oakmoss, White Musk, Honey Effect, Old Wood Effect, Vanilla and Amber [3]

How Does it Smell?

Out of all of the masculine genres ‘Fougère’ is my absolute favourite (I specifically like the more modern style of fougères such as Rive Gauche Pour Homme and Fleur du Mâle), I know that this may sound surprising given my penchant for massive white florals, but when I wear a masculine fragrance I want it to be gentlemanly and fougères are the most gentlemanly of fragrances. Sartorial plays on this classic and gentlemanly style of fougére but is also a scent for the modern man.

Sartorial opens bright, clean and sparkling with a silver, metallic gleam. An undercurrent of lavender, fresh and herbal, straight away cements Sartorial within the fougère genre. Violet leaf, with touches of pepper and zingy ginger compliments this opening accord of metallic/ozonic lavender with perfect precision.

Beeswax is billed as one of the most prominent notes (tailors use it to lubricate pins and needles), and this odd, bitter and sour note is put to clever use within Sartorial. The beeswax adds a dark richness to Sartorial’s initial airy gleam and to me it is evocative of something old and well used.

The notes list makes Sartorial seem as if it is over worked, but it isn’t, it simply feels very well put together. As Sartorial progresses into its dry down the beeswax is joined by vanilla and musk. Vanilla/tonka/coumarin is an integral part of the fougére and despite the usual sweetness of these notes Sartorial’s base remains relatively dry, thanks to the addition of patchouli, woods and moss.

I find Sartorial to be a rather complex fragrance, my experience of what I smell varies each time I wear it. Sometimes I find the metallic, ozonic accord to be more prominent and at other times I find the herbal quality to be stronger. I don’t find it to be a heavy fragrance at all, it does have presence but it is far from oppressive, the muskier elements of the base ensures that the heavier notes are given a slightly airy feel that is smart and refined.

Sartorial is a contemporary take on this classic genre, it feels inherently old fashioned yet distinctly modern at the same time, and that’s what makes it so great, it brings new life to an old genre and demonstrates how a good masculine should be done. It’s fair to say that Sartorial isn’t a literal essay on the smell of a work room within a Saville Row Tailor, but It is as sharp, comfortable and exceptionally fitted as a bespoke suit. It’s also fair to say that I’m completely enamoured with it and it’s definitely going on my wish list!

Sartorial Bottle

The Bottle

Dressed in Penhaligon’s signature bottle, Sartorial sports a smart grey and yellow bow-tie with matching label.

The bottles is as smart and well tailored as you would expect it to be for a fragrance named ‘Sartorial’.

Keep your well tailored bottle of Sartorial next to your immaculately tailored suit and you won’t go wrong.


Sartorial is available in 50ml and 100ml Eau de Toilette. Prices range from £58-£100.


This review is based on a sample of Sartorial obtained from Penhaligon’s in-store.

[1] & [2]

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26 thoughts on “The Scent of The Modern Gent – Penhaligon’s Sartorial Perfume Review

  1. I couldn’t have put it better myself. I love Sartorial especially for the very reason you pointed out, at times it smells really metallic, and other times I smell it, a little mossy and woody. It’s definitely old-world/new-world and very, very unique! Great review 🙂

    Funny too that you’re wanting to explore more masculine fragrances this year, and I’m wanting to explore more feminine fragrances… gender swapping lol

    • It’s funny isn’t it – we’ll be sailing down each others perfume paths this year, I guess we’ll be able to give each other recommendations!

      Sartorial is such a great mix of old-world/new-world like you say, I really love it!

  2. Great review as usual CPB!

    I was led to believe by a basenoter that this was Penhaligon’s break from their stuffy/boring scents and it pushes a few more boundaries. Nope, it’s just a niche version of Brut Classic!

    I’m sure one day I’ll find a Penhaligon’s scent that wins me over.

    • It is a slight break from tradition from them in the sense that it is a modern version of a classic style BUT it does definitely follow their theme of gentlemanly scents. I totally get the Brut reference!

      As for the Penhaligon’s that will win you over, all I can say is AMARANTHINE!!!!!!!!!

  3. I say, Cologne Show – I could apply a goodly spritz of Amaranthine and we could see if it will do its “wafting all the way to Wednesbury” trick, like the cold virus. Save you getting a sample.

    As for Sartorial, I don’t care for the fougere accord really, so this was never going to grab me like Juniper Sling did. But for the sharp suited, dapper man about town, I can see the appeal!

    Love your pic, btw… : – )

  4. I sometimes feel guilty because I’m totally uninterested in masculine-oriented scents. And then I smell some heavenly girly thing like Mary Greenwell Plum and I lose the guilt. As I keep repeating to myself, “You like what you like.”

  5. I’m similar, I don’t own a great classy masculine.
    I’ve read about this and some people who’s noses I respect also seem drawn to this one.
    Love the sound of the beeswax and ozonic/metallic effects, I hope they’re nice and prominant.
    Will definitely give this one a try. I haven’t found anything I would like to own from Penhaligons yet, I quite like how dreary Hammam Bouquet is though…

    • The beeswax and ozonic/metallic effects are definitely prominent and they’re responsible for making Sartorial such an excellent dichotomy between classic and modern. Without them it would just be a rather normal, albeit very well made fougére.

      Have you tried Amaranthine yet? It’s THE best of the Penhaligon’s!

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