When guys of a certain age find out that I like perfume, they usually start asking me for recommendations. The conversation usually goes like “I’ve worn Ralph Lauren Polo Blue since I was a freshman in high school and I need an upgrade“. And I agree. They have real careers now and have already had a 10-15 year high school reunion. They need an upgrade from the fragrance with the matching “swag” gym bag their mom bought them in junior high. I try to keep my recommendations simple since these guys aren’t “perfume people” but know that they don’t want to smell like Calvin Klein anymore. Usually if the guy is aged 25-40, I will recommend Penhaligon’s Sartorial. I think it’s the perfect not “too old” fragrance yet not “too young”. It has familiar elements yet it doesn’t smell “generic”.
Sartorial is a “contemporary interpretation of the classic fougère”. It opens with cool metallic adehdyes and dry black pepper. I typically dislike this sort of opening in modern masculine fragrances, but it works in Sartorial. Why? Because it’s perfectly balanced. Under the stainless steel coolness there is warmth from a supple leather and beeswax pomade. There’s also a mix of a hay-like tonka/coumarin and lavender “aftershave”, a hint to something more traditional and familiar. It becomes patchouli and cedar barrels. The dry-down is a warm honeyed moss with dry woods. Overall, it’s a sweet fougère. Yes, it really is a “contemporary classic”.
Sartorial has EVERYTHING in it. The note list is longer than most novellas. Saying that, the wearer will probably notice things that I didn’t mention. It’s complex and does wear differently on different people but it has been my experience that it smells different yet great on all of these different people. Think of it like the bespoke suit of masculine fragrances.
Notes listed include aldehydes, ozone effect, metallic effect, violet leaf, neroli, cardamom, black pepper, fresh ginger, beeswax, cyclamen, linden blossom, lavender, leather, gurjum gum, patchouli, myrrh, cedar wood, tonka bean, oakmoss, white musk, honey effect, old wood effect, vanilla, and amber. Launched 2010. PERFUMER – Bertrand Duchaufour
Give Sartorial a try if you are looking for a good modern masculine. Or if you like perfumes like Caron Pour Homme, Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male, Byredo Fantastic Man, Dolce & Gabbana Pour Homme and/or Etro Greene Street. I do consider to be a more masculine scent but really it’s so “smooth” that I think many feminines will appreciate the sweet woodiness of this scent.
Projection and longevity are average.
The 1.7 oz bottle of Sartorial retails for $80 at Beautyhabit.I also recommend Sartorial because the price isn’t totally insane. Samples are also available for purchase.
Victoria’s Final EauPINION – A sweet fougère. It’s a great “modern masculine”. Spoiler alert – if you’re a guy aged 25-40 and you’re going to ask me what perfume to buy, I’ll always say this. If I know you better, I’ll say this and then name three more, but I’ll always say Sartorial.
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