Penhaligon’s Sartorial Eau de Toilette

by Joseph Bullmore

A good scent will take you halfway across the world. A truly great scent will take you back in time (just ask Marcel Proust). But Penhaligon’s Sartorial fragrance, a modern brut modeled on a traditional fougère, might just do both. The final destination, in that case, is the cutting room floor of Savile Row’s Norton & Sons around the turn of the 19th Century. Can you smell the wood of the tobacco tinted cabinetry? The whiff of steam-pressed tweed? And then that final drop of honey, like beeswax drawn across the thread?

It’s not an altogether arbitrary terminal, either. Penhaligon’s, the holder of two Royal Warrants, grew up on Jermyn Street, just a needles throw away from Savile Row. As such, its master scent-makers know well the heat and spice of those famous workshops, while its clientele are no strangers to the bespoke experience. So synonymous, in fact, has this marquee scent become with the clubland of St James and Mayfair, that outsiders—stepping into those ancient, paneled chambers—might well find themselves asking aloud the old question: Does Sartorial smell like gentlemen, or do gentlemen smell like Sartorial?