Some mini reviews for y'all. Today it was a bunch of Penhaligon's samples I've had for ages but just never gotten 'round to sniffing:
Hammam Bouquet - hmmm, this is old school, lovely very old school. It's that fresh English rose that I usually hate but well balanced out with a soft talc-y baby powder. For some reason reminds me strongly of Jicky with a sort of creamy fattyness. Come to think of it, they're from right around the same era so maybe makes sense. Overall impression - this is classy stuff. Maybe a bit mature for me (28 years old) but not way out there. I suppose it could be a casual fragrance but feels slightly more formal like business casual. Perhaps the better description is 'proper'. There's a slight undertone of woods and spices but it's very smoothly blended. Reminds me a lot of baby powder but expensive body powder. I feel like there's something dirty almost fecal hiding under the surface here but just out of reach. Again, very class stuff. If you're at all into classic gentleman scents, and I don't mean fougere/spice like 80's powerhouses, more like classic Guerlains/Carons, etc then this is a must TRY. Nothing much more noted there on Basenotes reviews. It reminds me again that what men wore at the turn of the century is so different from the modern stuff and yet it's still approachable and wearable. Funny, but just based on the listed notes I really expected to not like this but it's a surprise winner for me. Might even consider a bottle one day. Could easily be someone's signature scent, for the right kind of guy. Meaning I think it's a pretty versatile scent.
Castile - first impression is something between a classic EdC and Blenheim Bouquet, which is to say I'm smelling herbs green woods. I'm getting some citrus like a lemon, then some bitterness, almost a green sharp bitterness like galbanum or petitgrain. It's watery and herbally crisp. BN reviews are saying it's a lot of Neroli. Even on the plastic scent strip it faded pretty quickly. If you're really into EdC's, then I guess try it, otherwise for me it's a necessary fragrance style for each line to have so I understand, but my overall impression is its fairly boring. PASS
Racquets - Well, what can I say, the house is consistent in their style. There's a sort of creamy powdery aspect here along with fresh citrus and herbs. Although in this one I detect something a littler darker as well. It's milky creamy rather than powdery per se. Actually I'd say this it a bit like Rive Gauche PH with the spices rounded out more. BN reviews are saying there's some moss in there too. Maybe a bit predictable, but actually I'd say it a TRY if you're into this sort of thing.
Endymion - Well this is a departure. I smell warm sweet candy like qualities with a bit of smokey and spice underneath. My first reaction is mixed because it's attractively cozy, and yet reminds me too much of some overly sweet 90's gourmands. It's dried down now to a softer honey fragrance. I had high hopes for this one, having smelled it many years ago, plus have been on the hunt for a good coffee note, which this supposedly had but it's lost in the mix I'm afraid. Reminds me of something between Versace Blue Jeans and Valentino V. I guess it's pleasant enough but just not enough individual personality, and as usual, very minimal longevity/projection. I'm surprisingly let down I think, only because I had such positive memories of this one. Unfortunately, a PASS IMO.
Opus 1870 - you know I've never connected that 'floor/pine cleaner' to anything before. This may be a first. I'm immedietely hit with lemon and pepper. Almost in a foody way. I'm struggling to think what this reminds me of since I know I've smelled something so similar before. Maybe it's Pesto? or some sort of fresh herb mix like Herbs Du Province? There's a slight minty/eucalyptus angle here too I think. Well the fresh lemons aren't of much interest to me here, but the sharp pepper tones and incense(?) are catching my attention. Again, somewhat similar to Blenheim, without all the pine. Maybe it's Monsieur Balmain? I'm reading BN now. Ah, Yuzu, so a slightly more sour lemon, that makes sense. And somewhere between the pepper and coriander, that explains the dry sharp spice plus bit of funk there. This one feels a bit rough around the edges IMO. I suppose the cinnamon and sandalwood should soften it up but the cinnamon is the dry raspy kind. It starts off with some strong citruses but ends up drying down to something much more dry woody, almost unpleasantly so. I guess there's a hint of Rose 31 in here but not quite. If you'd a fan of Gucci PH I for example, or Rose 31, but also like Blenheim, this may be worth a shot, otherwise I'd say it's a PASS.