English Fern (1910) Eau de Toilette

English Fern (Eau de Toilette) by Penhaligon's
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English Fern (Eau de Toilette) is a perfume by Penhaligon's for women and men and was released in 1910. The scent is green-fougère. It is still in production.

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Fragrance Notes

Top Notes Top NotesGeranium, Lavender
Heart Notes Heart NotesClover
Base Notes Base NotesPatchouli, Sandalwood, Oakmoss

Ratings

Scent

7.1 (77 Ratings)

Longevity

6.9 (55 Ratings)

Sillage

6.5 (58 Ratings)

Bottle

8.1 (64 Ratings)
Submitted by Apicius, last update on 12.08.2019
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Reviews

10.0 7.0 7.0 8.5/10
Konsalik

0 Reviews
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Konsalik
Konsalik
Greatly helpful Review    15
The cool, secret place
Here and today the Lord has three ways at his disposal (somewhat simplistically speaking) to meet the warm season olfactorically: The first is the contemporary path through aquatics, often mixed with various fruits. And even though there may certainly be fine representatives of this field who have been made competent - this is undoubtedly not the most elegant and subtle genre of summer perfume. The second possibility would be classical, hesperidic colognes or "Cologne water". With this choice one has not only the longest possible tradition line behind one, which reaches back at least to the early eighteenth century; availability and purse friendliness are also a strong argument: A small Cologne boom within the last five to ten years has flushed many, sometimes very good and modern variations of this ancient fragrance onto the market - and not a few of the very best are available for comparatively small and smallest money. However, this eternally similar, pleasing refreshment citric can also be tedious.

Who wants to carry some tension (also in the sense of mental tension) into the midday, flickering streets could, in my opinion, also sniff around in the outmoded scent of the classic straight Fougères. For me, this is the most distinguished way to refresh the heat-infested spirit through the nose. What's the matter with you? Well, both aquatics and classical colognes draw very obvious cooling associations in the head of the wearer and his fellow men. Like, "It's hot? Go to the outdoor pool and have a cold lemonade."
All right, all right. But there is still another possibility; less socializing than deliberately isolating: the solitary walk through the woods, the sunny afternoon in a shady pergola, the hidden place where coolness has accumulated. The place where the mild summer wind sweeps through the foliage, the rustling of which sends pleasant showers down your spine.

One such detour into refreshment, refreshment through retreat and secrecy is English Fern von Penhaligon's, for example, one of the early Fougères following Houbigant's first work. Invigorating, not by the obvious plump southern fruit, but by astringent bitterness and herbaceous, almost minty astringency. Since ferns don't have any noteworthy smell of their own, I often wondered what these original Fougères actually remind me of. Most likely to woodruff - an herb that I only eat with aversion, but which I prefer to smell. In combination with lavender and sandalwood, the nobly spiritual bitterness of the imagined pseudo forest master is at the same time intensified and civilized, so that English Fern lets the image of a lean, elderly gentleman rise up in me (think Hermann Hesse), who even in midsummer often sets out on long hikes (in a light linen suit), but never sweats even after hours.

Because he refuses.
7 Replies
5.0 10.0 10.0 7.0/10
Apicius

219 Reviews
Apicius
Apicius
Helpful Review    5
Yes, it hurts!
After the discussions we had about classic Fougère I had a brief test with a few spritzes of English Fern on my wrist.

My impression was that the start was herbaceous, maybe a bit citric and blended with a floral note. It appeared to be relatively friendly and convenient to wear, for the simple reason that something seemed to be missing: the spicy side of what I associate with the classic Fougère accord. The absence of anything reminiscent of aniseed, fennel, absinthe or the like was nice, but also brought up the idea of a certain blandness – something basic missing! Also, I did not get any pictures of cloth and textiles like with other Fougère fragrances. What was definitely being preserved from the original concept was the kind of soapiness that can remind at old-fashioned bathrooms: Victorian bathrooms, and also an almost stinging sharpness – yes, it hurts!

I think I can follow Drseid's presumption now that this cannot be the original. Given the fact that due to regulations and availabilities of raw materials perfume houses continuously change their formulas, hardly any traditional fragrance will be same as 100 years ago anyway. The best we can hope for is that it hasn't lost its original character and style.

Things changed a little during drydown. The longer English Fern was around me the more classic fougère it became. In the end, it came much closer to my personal conception of the classic.

English Fern can be worn today but it is something very special. One must be able to cope with its sharp edge, especially as longevity and sillage are very strong. I keep my opinion that one should not refer to these kind of fragrances as being a pleasure or something beautiful. Instead, English Fern is interesting and also demanding, a definite try before you buy. I still haven't made up my mind if English Fern and the other Fougère classics is something I would like to wear – no easy case at all.
1 Replies
5.0 7.5 5.0 4.0/10
Drseid

670 Reviews
Drseid
Drseid
2
This Can't Be The Original Formula...
English Fern opens with a balmy wintergreen geranium accord that meshes with a fern undertone that at this stage is rather muted with the geranium dominating the scent. As the scent transitions to its early heart the green fern takes the fore, but the wintergreen geranium from the open remains in the background in support with patchouli rising from the base giving the balmy green scent a rugged earthy nature. English Fern pretty much remains linear through its dry-down, with what you smell during the early heart phase being what you smell through the end. Projection is excellent and longevity is average.

English Fern is very odd smelling composition. It is extremely green as you might expect, but the fern is less dominant than the balmy wintergreen geranium medicinal aspect of the scent for most of the development and it is quite unpolished and unbalanced in a very bad way. Obviously for the fragrance to survive since 1910 it must be appealing to someone, but I have to wonder if this is the same formula that Penhaligon's released earlier on, as what I am smelling is very amateurish and not the kind of scent I would expect to be a classic. Regardless of what it used to smell like, it smells pretty bad now and this 2 to 2.5 star out of 5 below average composition is not recommended.
2 Replies

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