The opening blast with its bright mandarin-bergamot dyad in the foreground stands on its own for a few minutes; then a restrained and gentle pepper ads a subtle edge. A bit later, a refined nutmeg arrives that augments the spicy undertone in quite a delicate way.
The drydown adds some cardamom with a delicate coffee aroma, and the citrus aroma of the opening is retreating. A light vetiver without any earthy character signals a shift to a green/floral phase. A herbal - sage mainly with whiffs of grass - and a jasmine impression are evident.
A soft suede with touch amber leads into the base, where soon the soon the spicy and the herbal
Base notes tendencies come together in a myrrh that gradually dominates the remainder if the development; at times it is infused with a discreet nigh-medicinal musky hint.
I het moderate sillage, good projection, and seven hours if longevity on my skin.
Themis is an intriguing scent for warmer spring nights, composed of good quality ingredients overall, but some are applied a bit too sparingly to make a convincing contribution to the whole, especially in the later phases. Still, overall this is a good creation with some original touches. 3.5/5
Excellent barbershop notes in the opening - lavender, sage, almost earl grey tea like with the bergamot. Reminds me of old fashioned aftershave with sharp astringent blast to the nostrils and wakens one up.
Endymion will most likely turn a lot of people off at first because the best part doesn't show until a good 20-30 minutes into wear and one your not going to get from just sniffing on paper either. The cardamon, nutmeg, myrrh really come out and shine when worn on the skin but only the opening herbal and citrus notes stay strong on the paper. In other words starts out very clean, almost antiseptic and mellows out to a very warm comforting spice. Near the end when it's a barely there on my skin I get some coffee notes, not much, but it's there.
Endymion is the first offering from Penhaligon's that really tried to marry a modern sensibility to their old gentrified barbershop ways, and it was pretty successful. Penhaligon's chose the oriental angle with Endymion, striking similar comparisons to the older and more-obscure Siècle by Fragonard (1998), but more famously with Armani's first masculine oriental Black Code/Code (2004) which would launch a year after this. Accusations of Endymion being an Armani Code clone are unfounded though, as this still leans much more towards barbershop fougère than out-and-out oriental spice, which is also where it breaks from Siècle as well. People who miss the rich cinnamon, lemon, and nutmeg of Siècle would do well to transition over to Endymion, as it continues on that scent's spirit in many ways. All in all, Endymion suffers in much the same way as most Penhaligon's fragrances do, in the projection department, but it's rounder and richer ingredients help it keep to skin and shirt sprays can fix the projection issue. Endymion also caught the same popularity wave of old-school barbershop modern revivals that was triggered by the Gucci Pour Homme reboot and Rive Gauche Pour Homme in 2003, the same year this launched. The retro wave propelled Endymion to decent amounts of exposure, making it one of the bigger recent names under the Penhaligon's stable outside it's famous antiquities Hammam Bouquet (1872), Blenheim Bouquet (1902), and English Fern (1911). Endymion was more thrilling in 2003 than it likely is now, but just continues to plow over in sales because it's name has more recognition than perhaps any other newer Penhaligon's scent, so a lot of blind buys happen with this one.
The scent opens with lovely mandarin, bergamot, lavender, and sage, all really well-tuned barbershop accords that quickly give berth to the spicy modern oriental tones mixed in. Cardamom, nutmeg, and a nod to Blenheim Bouquet's black pepper all show up in the top, giving this weight despite it's citric airiness. Geranium, coffee, and amber continue the barbershop and oriental tug of war, but the coffee draws comparisons to Mugler's Angel Men/A*Men (1996), giving Endymion a gourmand flourish further linking it to the turn of the millenium. The scent stays deceptively subtle despite it's heavier componets, until a base of vetiver, sandalwood, incense, leather, musk, and a myrrh note bring us into dry powdery territory near the end. It's the roundish and sweet kind of leathery powder associated with 60's greats like Brut (1963) and Wild Country (1967) that ties Endymion back to it's barbershop leanings, but more of an American barbershop style than the usual piquant or austere British one, with the dryness of the myrrh and vetiver being the counterbalance. Make no mistake, there is still a lot of UK sensibility here as nothing is ever overbearing, emotionally evocative, nor sexy whatsoever, showing that same detached patriarchy through station rather than virile prowess that runs through all turn-of-the-century British barbershop styles. In a nutshell, despite it's modern sweetness, roundness, and accessibility, Endymion still showcases that same "I'm better than you, don't question it, because that's just the way things are" kind of vibe that runs through all the Victorian stuff Penhaligon's still makes. It's a stiff upper-lip vibe you either like or don't, just softened a bit here with a more-casual youthful tone to attract the mall-goers that buy this stuff from The Art of Shaving rather than tracking down a Penhaligon's shop to take in the culture or history. Endymion is a cozy smell that's good for home or office that asserts it's British austerity only here and there, but like a nice bowl of Shepard's Pie, is more satisfying than it is scintillating.
Endymion is a good scent because of it's soft touches, fleeting warmth, and comfortable tones that get married to the bright, sharp, dry, and peppery elements that defines much of the Penhaligon's "landed gentry" vibe as a perfumer. There isn't much by way of the dandy florals and handkerchiefs here, but Penhaligon's has other period pieces for that, so for the guy who wants to step lightly into the world of 19th century wet shaving culture, but doesn't want a scent that totally smells like he spends an hour with beard oils and shaving brushes, this is a good entry point. The full suite of Endymion products works well together, including body wash and even a stronger "parfum concentree" for the person that wants to simply radiate the lavender and spice rather than leave a subtle trail. I think Penhaligon's Sartorial (2010) would be the successor to this scent because it was a more perfect union of early 20th century American barbershop style and modern balancing than this was, ditching the British austerity outside it's metallic vibe, plus continues the classic fougère revival that Rive Gauche Pour Homme started, but was interrupted by oakmoss restrictions thanks to IFRA (which Penhalgion's mostly ignores). Endymion still has it's fans (myself included), and is an institution that's earned it's place, but probably won't thrill somebody discovering it new for the first time nowadays because the powdery warm amber and musk base thing has literally been done to death thanks to Tom Ford, and is so ubiquitous that it's turned up in celebrity cheapies like stuff bearing Tim McGraw's name. Ultimately, this downmarket descent of the powdery amber style makes Endymion seem like expensive old hat to the uninitiated. Definitely sample before you buy!