Wendover fragrance notes

    • hawthorn, dewy grass, coal smoke, moss, peat, old tweed, tonka, brown leather

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Latest Reviews of Wendover

As I write this, it is an unusually cool, raw, grey day in early May, and Wendover fits the mood perfectly. An immediate impression of tarry smoke is layered over a pronounced hawthorn accord, anisic, bittersweet, and frothy. What soon follows is the surfacing of peaty soil, the sensation of moist air and a chill, a mist, with some spring flowers just managing to cut through.

Growing more plangent green in its progression, Wendover elicits a chill, a tingle, hitting nostalgia and wistfulness in a powerful manner for me. I feel echoes of sensations that are now just out of reach, now vague and inevitably fading, the musty past for which I refuse to loosen my grip. It smells like a cellar for storing feelings that are hard to articulate. I look out my window and fixate on rain as it fixates on a puddle. A castoreum-forward leather pulls me forward, like aged, calloused, yet loving hands. The embers cool, the ash drifts, and a flicker of sweetness remains.

Wendover is experiential, that's for sure, but it's also eminently wearable, and it is reminiscent of the beautifully coarse aromatics marketed to men in the late 70s/early 80s (Leonard Pour Homme, Dunhill Blend 30, Ebene de Balmain), but Mark Sage hasn't merely given us a smokier facsimile. On the contrary, like water percolating through soil, it pulls heart strings for me, because Sage was daring enough to include thoroughly disparate elements to impart a mood, and that's a mark of ingenuity.
4th May 2023
Wendover by Clandestine Laboratories (2023) has probably one of the most-challenging openings I've ever encountered that isn't due to an animalic musk note or cheese-grater barnyard oud note. That said, the fragrance is named after a market town in Buckinghamshire (UK), so I expected some coal smoke wafting over the air fed from coal-stoves, although the sheer amount of it in the opening feels more like the smoke from neighboring London if we're going for the 19th Century Industrial Revolution vibe. I didn't intend to be the one leaving the belching coal-fired factory smelling of ash, but giving Wendover some patience, it does transform in time from slag furnace to humble chimney sweep a la Dick Van Dyke in Marry Poppins, wearing a tweed jacket (elbow pads and all) covered in creosote. Given more time still, and the peat comes in alongside hawthorn (commonly found in England and used as funeral flowers) to feel more like the intended walk in the countryside circa 1970, still very much rife with the pollution of coal stoves. If that is something you want to smell like, this is definitely for you; but if it is not, you would do best to completely avoid Wendover, as it does not care about your feelings on the matter. Hell, I barely even do myself.

The opening is full of said smoke, which comes on strong like Texas BBQ at first, hence how challenging it is. Once you get in past the first five minutes though, you start "seeing" the rest of the fragrance, like the smoke pulls back as if it was a veil. The perfumer/brand mentions a bunch of florals like hyacinth and muguet in the mix, although I honestly don't get those over that imposing smoke note. What I do get is a roasty toasty tonka note that smells very much like cigarette tobacco being smoked somewhere, probably good old Dunhills since we are talking the UK. Further on down the line, hawthorn and the grassy-peaty elements mix, and soon a dry castoreum leather forms a base with woody nuances like an old oak barrel. This is one missing booze note shy of our chimney sweep friend swilling a bottle of J&B scotch on his walk home, but I don't feel it's lacking. This is just fine without that note really being there, and furthermore launches into being something of a smoky/woody leather perfume after everything settles, like Caron Yatagan (1976) with the intense oregano note replaced by fireplace soot and peat bogs. SIllage is good and longevity is better, so your walk will last for hours on end. For me, this is stellar in fall or winter, although I can see some people taking it into the spring months, depending on their climate and location.

I can see this being a cozy comfort scent for folks who grew up in old English hamlets and villages, but sheer horror for the work-from-home American urbanite that lives an air-conditioned life with Amazon Alexa telling them the weather before they just order food on UberEats, instead of leaving their overpriced condo to take a sound-deadened ride in their Tesla to the Trader Joe's. The only time said person smells smoke is when one of their surge protectors melts down for having too many high-end electronic gizmos plugged in and turned on at the same time, sending the lovely smell of burning plastic and fried semiconductors into the maw of their blaring smoke detectors; so there is no association with smoke being pleasant, as they can't even stand to burn incense, let alone wear a fragrance with a prominent smoke note (if they wear fragrance at all). Wendover is a smell of "how things were", so it will likely also appeal to the nostalgics and sentimentals among the fragrance enthusiast enclave, and I don't mean those who are nostalgic for vintage perfumes, mind you. As for me, something this intense, even after hours of calming and smoothing, is best for cold days or when I absolutely don't want to smell like I'm "wearing cologne", which is among its best charms. Thumbs up
17th February 2023

Wendover is a brilliant, "slight" waft of coal/mineralic smoke mixed with a green freshness that smells of a beautiful misty spring day walking along the hedgerows of the midlands of England. These hedgerows are situated outside of town, along a country stretch of road where you can see green fields and small rolling hills. The coal smoke of the nearby town has slightly mingled with the dewey grass and plant life, creating a freshness that is also grounded and slightly earthy in the best way possible. I honestly really love Wendover and appreciate Mark Sage's creativity and vision with this fragrance, as he really has achieved his desired scent profile, IMHO.

Wendover is very comforting to me as it takes me back to a time when I lived in the very area that this fragrance is attempting to conjure through scent. A marvelous job by Mr. Sage, and a fragrance that is not to be missed, again, in my opinion. Take some "Sage" advice from me...(Sorry Mark, I can't miss an opportunity for some word play), and at the very least get a sample of Wendover. If you love green fragrances, fresh fragrances, and mineralic fragrances, I think you'll find something to love in Wendover too! Two thumbs way up!
29th January 2023
The equivalent of a walk through the English countryside with warm, comforting wool attire, Wendover mingles cool herbal tones with smoky, peaty, leathery and warm, comforting spice.

It's a lovely jaunt in cool, damp hillsides, skewing more cozy than sharply green, but with some typically off-kilter, sharp facets in its aromatic structure that bring some authentically outdoorsy tones into the mix.

The gently sweet, smoky spice dominates its pleasant sillage, and despite its slightly musty-green nature, Wendover ends up being one of the crowdpleasers of the Clandestine Laboratories line.
15th January 2023