Stop Screaming! – Review: Penhaligon’s Eau Sans Pareil

Eau sans Pareil is part of the Anthology collection, a series of perfumes re-invented, re-imagined, re-created based on past Penhaligon’s releases.

Sans Pareil means unparalleled, and while I would not go so far and apply that to the entire perfume, Eau sans Pareil has one aspect that is indeed unparalleled – its sillage.

“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.”

– from the press release

Re-created by Beverley Bayne in 2011, based the original Eau sans Pareil from 1988, notes include aldehydes, neroli, mandarin, bergamot, kumquat, raspberry, pineapple, cypress, pink pepper, tagetes, jasmine, Damascus rose, muguet, orris, ylang, orange blossom, liquorice, clove, patchouli, vetiver, cedarwood, oakmoss, musk, vanilla, cistus-labdanum, benzoin, amber crystals.

The lengthy notes list does little to reveal what lies behind the quite immodest name. A sparkling, fizzy, aldehydic floral with a modern chypre base. It is no Mitsouko, but that does not have to be a minus. We can’t all be divas…

I guess Eau sans Pareil smells very good, but the problem with it is that I get the urge to scrub it off after ten minutes at the most, and the strange thing is, not because I don’t like the scent, but because it is so very insistent. Eau sans Pareil is not discreet, it is not understated, it is HERE!!! And it screams at you constantly to take notice.

I don’t like that quality in people and I certainly don’t like it in my perfume either. If only Eau sans Pareil had less sillage, were not so very diffusive, I would really like it and this review would surely be different. As it is, I’m sad that I won’t ever wear my sample again.

I just don’t appreciate being screamed at.

Image source:,

About Olfactoria

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This entry was posted in Chypre, Floral, Fragrance Reviews, Oakmoss, Penhaligon's, Powdery, Woods and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

35 Responses to Stop Screaming! – Review: Penhaligon’s Eau Sans Pareil

  1. laniersmith says:

    Loved the review. So to the point and the pictures were just the right touch. Your title by the way drew me in. Perfect! As for the perfume, I Don’t think I want to listen in on that party line.

  2. Oh gosh! I can just imagine the how diffusive it must be from the images (you always pick the best ones, btw). When something is a big monster or a perfume, sometimes I can manage it by spraying just the smallest amount. Or I spray it in the air and walk through it . . .

    Like Angel. I appreciate it, but I have to be very, very, very judicious in applying. Or else I start panicking and heading to the shower!

  3. OMG! I think you’ve found me a Signature scent Birgit!
    Portia xx

  4. lucasai says:

    Woow! Dear, Eau Sans Pareil is really screaming at you? I covet my sample of it, reviewed it on the blog too, but I didn’t get any of these you mentioned. On my skin it was really well behaved. That’s why I love perfume! They smell different on everyone.

  5. Alexandra says:

    The bottle and presentation look so elegant and restrained, who knew! I wasn’t a fan, it screeched on me.

  6. Lady Jane Grey says:

    The notes list reads like a salad made of the remaining bits in the parfum lab… – quasi the rests of this years parfums… I have a soft spot for Penhaligon’s (like I often do for things British …), but I like my things understated, instead of screaming !

  7. Lucasai had me DYING to try this one! Loud or not loud, this literally has almost all my favourite notes, so I don’t care. 😛 I really hope I will like it.

    I’m sorry you didn’t like it 😦 Even though your review wasn’t happy, it’s actually got me more excited to try find a sample before I leave Holland 😀

  8. Fascinating review, very useful, and I would not mind trying it, but maybe just a half a dot, since you have noted how powerful it is. Amazing how like kryptonite certain perfumes can be, they are akin to what should be controlled substances. That large bottle is probably enough for a hundred people. I too have an issue with that in your face unrelenting upper register quality for more than a minute — but if it is beautiful enough I am still tempted to see if it can be tamed by applying it in the tiniest of amounts. Maybe over a skin balm, to hold it closer to the body. Penhaligon’s is really getting to be surprising these days.

  9. Tara says:

    That photo is a brilliant choice!

    Oh dear, I’d hate to be screamed at too. This is obviously one for those who like their perfumes LOUD. Not for us peace- seekers!

    Very strange fit for the brand/packaging, indeed.

  10. Suzanne says:

    This perfume definitely doesn’t sound like it’s meant for you, Birgit, but you made it fun to read about! That picture is priceless. 🙂

  11. malsnano86 says:

    I do hate a screamer. Insolence edp was, so far, the only sample I’ve *ever* thrown away – and why did I do that? IT SHRIEKED. It shrieked like a jungleful of parrots, or like an incessant car alarm. Heeeeedious. I was terrified.

    Eau Sans Pareil did not scream on my skin. I do apply pretty lightly, but I actually spray mine from a sample atomizer and enjoy it. I have about a half-ml left, and I’ll probably enjoy it and never buy any. It seems rather soft to me, like the ghost of a chypre thing my chemist aunt used to wear in the 70s.

    Very fun review!

  12. Dionne says:

    I admit there’s a part of me that loves reviews that grumble, they tickle my funnybone. Birgit, even when you dislike something, you’re still very classy about it. And a Penhaligon that screams? Did not expect that at all.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Thanks, I try to be, because it is always subjective, amd while I need to grumble now and then, I don’t want to hurt anyone who loves the perfume (or Penhaligon’s at that, I love Amaranthine and Orange Blossom very much!)

  13. Undina says:

    I was trying to guess from the title (love your titles! you’re one of a few bloggers who goes beyond just plain functional declaration in your titles and I greatly appreciate it) what will be inside. For some reason I thought about a screaming child – which would be just annoying (in the perfume form, I mean) but the image you painted seems just intolerable. Still enjoyed reading it.

    • Olfactoria says:

      I can attest to the fact that a screaming child is indeed annoying, but it is as you say, more tolerable than this. 🙂

      Thanks for your kind words about my titles, I like coming up with them, so it makes me happy when they are appreciated.

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