The incomparable one, Penhaligon’s Eau Sans Pareil

I got my sample of Eau Sans Pareil from a very kind and generous friend, without knowing any single fragrance from Penhalion’s. So curious as I am, I went to perform a small research to learn something more. I learnt that Penhaligon’s is a British perfumery, a fine and niche one, established in 1870 by William Penhaligon. The first perfume created was Hammam Bouquet in 1872. At their website you can find: originally created in 1988, Eau Sans Pareil has been transformed into a shimmering chypre. Opening with a giddy rush of sparkling fruits and sensual white flowers, Eau Sans Pareil is softened with sweet woods, elegant oakmoss and musks. Powdery, wistful and romantic. [1] It was relaunched in 2011 as part of Penhaligon’s Anthology Collection.

The opening of Eau Sans Pareil is a rather delicate one, elegantly flavoured sweet with a licorice note. A light woody aroma, sourced from the cypress is easily noticeable. Pretty and simple concept gives a nice twist and is a great alternative to all heavier, more complicated compositions. Around the first quarter after spraying, or in my case dabbing, this Penhaligon’s  gains a some natural fruits generated energy. There’s a raspberry, pineapple and bergamot. At first try you can smell their light aromas next to each other, but they quickly blend into a delicious fruity cocktail. Yummy and 100% suitable for summertime. Eau Sans Pareil is lively and it makes you want to smile. A happy perfume for happy people! Simple, elegant, sophisticated.

The other notes that were used to create Penhaligon’s Eau Sans Pareil are rather hard for me to identify. None of them is very strong but by the vibe you can sense after an hour or two makes me sure that there’s a hint of rose, mandarine, orange, there’s also amber and light oakmoss base. By the time Eau Sans Pareil becomes sweeter (vanilla, benzoin, ylang-ylang) but not dense nor cloying. It’s still a light veil of perfume but now it effuses a powdery mix of all notes combined together. It’s like a nice refreshing drink (remember that cocktail from few sentences earlier?) that makes the hottest days pleasant.

To me Eau Sans Pareil really is sans pareil… I mean incomparable. It’s really hard to compare with a different perfume. This Penhaligon’s perfume is like a crossing of traditional eau de cologne, a refreshing fruity cocktail and a classy chypre (so beloved by me). It’s simple ingredients make it a simple perfume, but this simplicity is outstanding. Light, slightly powdery, very enjoyable and versatile. Definitely it’s a lovely choice for spring or summer but who says you can’t wear it in winter. Maybe Eau Sans Pareil is a good way to bring back memories of summer in the middle of cold times.

I wish I knew how the original formula of Eau Sans Pareil by Penhaligon’s smelled like. I believe it was equally amazing as the current blend is. Eau Sans Pareil is a light but definitely not a transparent perfume. It has good longevity (+6 hours) and mild sillage – it’s an Eau Sans Pareil afterall so it stays close to the skin. It’s concentration is eau de toilette and it’s available in 50ml and 100ml. The cap is decorated with a ribbon, which is a signature of Penhaligon’s. Eau Sans Pareil comes with a black/pink, black/burgundy (depending on pictures) one. It has a simple black and white label with a big E for Eau on it. I was nicely surprised by this perfume. First positive encounters with new brands make me want to discover more, so I just ordered samples of their Lavandula and Blenheim Bouquet.

note: quote [1] via

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10 thoughts on “The incomparable one, Penhaligon’s Eau Sans Pareil

  1. RobWales says:

    Do also try the Hammam Bouquet – I think you would like it.

    • lucasai says:

      I wanted to order it too, but the niche perfume shop that sells Penhaligon’s doesn’t have the full offer of this perfume house so… No Hammam Bouqued. Boo…

  2. Amy (PerfumedLady) says:

    That’s too bad about Hammam, I do hope you run into it soon. But you have some lovelies coming from this line! This Eau is such a happy, sparkly thing, isn’t it? A shimmering orange.

    • lucasai says:

      Yes, that’s too bad. I would buy a sample directly from Penhaligon’s but they don’t offer single samples, only those discovery sets.
      I agree, Eau Sans Pareil is a nice, shimmering perfume. Like a sparkling water.

  3. jilliecat says:

    Your review makes me want to smell this as soon as possible! My favourite at the moment from Penhaligons is English Fern, both in the eau de toilette and candle variations – it is more often described as a man’s scent, but girls like it too. It is of course very much a “fougere”, with green notes underscored by lavender; the overall impression for me is like smelling a hayfield ast dusk on an August evening after a hot day, with the dew beginning to cool the vegetation. The candles make me very happy and calm.

    • lucasai says:

      It is really nice. Of course try it when you get the chance. English Fern sounds nice although I don’t know if I would like this hayfield aroma you mentioned. I didn’t like the wheat, hay vibe in Annick Goutal Duel

  4. malsnano86 says:

    Eau Sans Pareil is very comfortable, isn’t it? I tend to think of it as a “chypre eau,” with a faintly powdery veil, and it is really nice to wear in hot weather.

    • lucasai says:

      I agree, it’s like a light version of our beloved traditional chypres and I love it’s hint of powder. It provides a great wear in hot weather, that’s for sure

  5. Zubi d'Nova / Melissa de Blok says:

    Oh my GOD. You just described the perfect scent for summer, and kept going ON with perfect notes. What?! How did this not end up in my lap??

    Amber? Rose? Benzoin? Vanilla? Raspberry? Licorice? WHAT?! Who looked at my favourite notes lise on my blog?? 😛

    Lovely write-up, as always!

    • lucasai says:

      It really is a wonderful scent, glad that you think it’s perfect for summer. Hope you’ll feel the same when you try it. Might be an instant love for you! Actually I think that I might go for a bottle myself but that would be next year, I see no sense for buying it now that the summer in Poland is slowly over.
      I didn’t look at your favourite notes, really 🙂
      Thank you dear!

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