It is the final day in Brussels at the esteemed House of Degand, which I am attending for the book signing of the stunning talent, James Sherwood’s “A Perfect Gentleman” book (celebrating the rich history of men’s style). Just before departing, I acquire an unforgettable men’s fragrance called Endymion, created by London’s House of Penhaligon's…
Some may think it’s odd to get wrapped up in the thought of discovering a killer fragrance; but, perhaps you know what it’s like to search for a fragrance you love—only to discover that five years later, you are still looking? Yet, some things are just right. And you know it instantly. Such is the men’s fragrance Endymion from London’s house of Penhaligon's.
"Created in 2003, Endymion is a sensual fusion of citrus, spices and leather. It opens with a burst of sweetened mandarin wrapped gently in sage and leather, then settles and smoothes gently into a dark coffee heart. As it warms up, mysterious resins rise up with hints of creamy nutmeg, cardamom and the softest leather.”
After being completely allured by Endymion’s discreet ability to catch my attention, later I decided to poke around online in the attempt to find a bad review on the fragrance. One man lamented that he wanted the scent to linger longer…yet the other reviews that I read sang tabernacle-like praises about the wonder of Endymion.
In fact, most every review sounded more like a love story between a man and his cologne instead of a critique. And, I believe that this particular fragrance is relationship-material for a man as it calls out to be revisited regularly to ritually bathe the senses in a most pleasurable scent…so that the event of putting on cologne becomes pure pleasure in a world where we crave a certain aesthetical boost, whether we realize it or not.
"Only twice in my life have I been frozen where I stood by a scent. To cut a long and embarrassing story short, I followed a guy off the London underground when I had no idea where I was, to find out from him what his scent was. And I’m usually pretty shy. The scent was Endymion, and I couldn’t help but inhale it the way you inhale a lover’s scent with your mouth part open to catch every facet and reflection. Warm, earthy, dreamy yet authoritative and potent. The effect on me may have been exaggerated because the man wearing it was probably the most beautiful man I’d ever seen – either that or his scent made him seem that way. It just made me want to pull his shirt off. I didn’t tell him that bit… but I did go and buy his perfume."
–a review by Lucy2shoes@basenotes.net, November, 2012
The year is 1860; the place, London. A Cornish barber named William Henry Penhaligon moved to London and soon became Court Barber and Perfumer to Queen Victoria.
William lived in an age of decadence, excess and flamboyance. He found so much time to self-actualize, that he began relating experiences to fragrances. His trade remained strong during his lifetime and was carried on by his uber-stylish son Walt Penhaligon.
In the 1940s, the business faded into oblivion, only to reemerge in the 1970s and today, Penhaligon fragrances are coveted by men who, down to their bones, feel an appreciation for the highest standard in life and living.
William’s son, Walt Penhaligon displaying stunning style in 1907.
There is something old-worldly about this Penhaligon's fragrance. When you breathe in the cologne, you feel the purity of the perfumery trade permeate your senses. What I find particularly pleasing is that the fragrance seems to develop beautifully (even elegantly) on the skin and that there is no offensive reaction of feeling overwhelmed by its intensity, even if a man enjoys lavishing himself with this perennial potion.
Although Endymion is classically masculine, before it develops, it feels distinctly unisex, and I admit that I like it so much, that occasionally I’ve doused myself with this brilliant brew of woodsy orange and eventual sophisticated mix of sage with only a slight hint of lavender.
For me, the scent creates an image of an eternally stylish–yet slightly rugged man toting a leather satchel by his side, taking a clever short-cut through a patch of woods before reaching his rather elite address, simply because his sense of adventure requires him to do so.
“Founded over 135 years ago, Penhaligon’s is the ultimate old-world perfumer with an impressive patron list including fashion God Tom Ford, Britain’s great Statesman, Sir Winston Churchill and the Royal family, who long before blessing the brand with two Royal warrants from Prince Charles and his father, the Duke of Edinburgh, employed William Penhaligon as Court Barber and Perfumier to Queen Victoria.”
The bottle pleases the eye and is William Penhaligon’s original design: clear glass with a distinctively Victorian ribbon-wrapped top. And, as a final note, the bottle itself is of immaculate construction, as I confess to have dropped it from a 5 foot shelf onto a tile floor with no damage other than a temporarily racing-heart.
Sonya Glyn Nicholson -