Hammam Bouquet (Penhaligon's)

England is a beautiful country, and London is currently the capitol of the universe. When I was there in the early nineties, I strolled through the city's impeccably flowered and pruned parks, endlessly in awe of Britain's green thumb pride. And how about those Royals?

Sniffing Hammam Bouquet today, I can appreciate its nostalgia factor. It has a Victorian feel to it, a musty sensuality stifled beneath the artless frills of an opaque bodice dress. The first few seconds of lavender and rose are chilly, but alluring. Britain's imperialism and considerable reach into Asia are evident in the fragrance's opening. Eventually a sweet orris note appears and guides me into an amber drydown. Hammam Bouquet smells tortuously restrained, as if sin could overcome virtue by way of sexual apoplexy.

The poetic reviews on Fragrantica and Basenotes are enjoyable essays borne of unbridled enthusiasm, and while admirable, cannot be duplicated here on my blog. I will acquiesce to the fragrance's rich history, however, and note that while Hammam's current formula is lacking a bit, its form is not. This type of British barbershop dandy scent is truly classical in scope, and I await the day that it is added to my rapidly growing collection.