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The Best Penhaligon’s Fragrances For Men
— Updated on 27 June 2023

The Best Penhaligon’s Fragrances For Men

— Updated on 27 June 2023
Chris Singh
Chris Singh

Welcome to Fragrance Friday, where each week we’ll be keeping you abreast of the newest and most iconic releases in the dynamic world of men’s fragrances. Born out of the desire to showcase one of the most overlooked, yet versatile, elements of any discerning man’s style this weekly column will help you finesse your own signature scent. This week, we’re looking at the best Penhaligon’s fragrances for men.

Penhaligon’s, a heritage British perfume house dating back to 1860, has long been one of the most recognisable names in high-end perfumery. Ever since founder William Henry Penhaligon became the official perfumer to Queen Victoria a certain allure has hung around the label and led to a reputation many other niche perfumers could only dream of.

My personal interest in Penhaligon’s always ebbs and flows, yet it was one of the first names I really took a liking to when I started to develop more than a surface-level interest in fragrances. The brand’s theatrical bottles, many looking chess pieces adorned with different animal heads, certainly help grab attention but the liquid inside these bottles often comes with just as much personality. Fragrances like Babylon and Halfeti Leather are undeniable for anyone after some interesting, evocative scents that we well-connected to various imagery.

That’s why I want to go back to my brand-specific approach and highlight a few Penhaligon’s fragrances that I think represent the brand well, illustrating the depth to which the house’s perfumers go to pull fine ingredients into frames inspired by everyday situations that can be as specific as playing tennis in the Mediterranean (Racquets, for example).

For the past few weeks, I have been focusing on one specific brand at a time. You can see all the brand-specific wrap-ups below.

Best Penhaligon’s Fragrances For Men

Penhaligons Babylon
Olfactory Family: Amber Spicy
Top Notes: Saffron essence, nutmeg essence, coriander essence
Heart Notes: Cypriol
Base Notes: Sandalwood, Sri Lanka essence, cedarwood, atlas essence, vanilla absolute
Release Date: 2019

This is my favourite fragrance from Penhaligon’s and one of the few bottles in my extensive collection that is only half-full. It’s pretty much all vanilla and little much else but Penhaligon’s has wisely used some very nuanced ingredients to draw out different layers and angles of the main throughline that starts with nutmeg and dries down to a strong vanilla absolute. It’s a must if you like gourmand perfumes and possibly the best strictly vanilla fragrance I’ve smelt to date.


Penhaligons Racquets is a new summer favourite for perfume lovers
Olfactory Family: Citrus Woody
Top Notes: Lemon
Heart Notes: Guaiac wood, ambroxan
Base Notes: Leatherwood
Release Date: 2021

Racquets is probably the fragrance that gets the most play in the BH office. Much like Babylon, it’s a nuanced take on what is mostly a one-note fragrance this time turning the focus toward pure citrus. If you like those typical Acqua di Parma fragrances then you’ll really take to this one, which is mostly fresh Amalfi lemon but also brings in these smaller, attractive details like leather to mirror tennis racquet handles. It’s a great example of a perfumer taking an image and doing it absolute justice.

Terrible Teddy

Olfactory Family: Leather
Top Notes: Incense
Heart Notes: Leather
Base Notes: Ambroxan
Release Date: 2019

Penhaligon’s fragrances have a tendency for managing to squeeze plenty of complexity out of just a few ingredients. Terrible Teddy is a great example of that, keeping it very simple but presenting an alluring leather scent that, for many, is even more likeable than the much more popular Halfeti Leather (which is also on this list).

Halfeti Leather

Best Men's Perfume
Olfactory Family: Leather
Top Notes: Plum, cardamom, lavender, bergamot, green notes, citruses
Heart Notes: Rose, cumin, cinnamon, nutmeg, violet, jasmine
Base Notes: Leather, oud, incense, cedar, patchouli
Release Date: 2020

I mentioned that Terrible Teddy is often seen as more likeable than Halfeti Leather but it’s easy to understand why this is much more popular and one of the defining moments of Penhaligon’s in recent memory. Halfeti is an icon for the brand so bringing that profile closer to a quintessential leather scent was inevitable – Brits love leather scents. It can be a bit too syrupy for some though and that’s mostly due to the opening notes with plum really thickening up the otherwise breezy profile of cardamom, bergamot and citrus that sticks around before all that rose, cumin and nutmeg comes rushing in.

As you may have noticed, all of these fragrances have been released over the past few years. There are plenty more in the Penhaligon’s collection that are well worth checking out but it’s a testament to how strong and adaptable the heritage brand still is that some of their best work is recent.

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Chris Singh
Chris is a freelance Travel, Food, and Technology writer. He has had work published by The AU Review, Junkee Media and Australian Traveller Media and holds tertiary qualifications in Psychology and Sociology.


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