Penhaligon’s The Bewitching Yasmine Eau de Parfum starts with a mix of cardamom, rich vanilla, and coffee with smoky incense and subtle jasmine, which reads spicy, sweet, and nutty. The oud joins the scene and gets amplified throughout the rest of the wear, shining the most about halfway through and then becoming dominant (but the intensity dropped) in the drydown paired with the vanilla.
- top notes: cardamom, coffee
- heart notes: jasmine sambac, fir
- base notes: Tahitian vanilla, Laotian oud, incense
It opened with an aromatic, spicy-sweet cardamom with splash of rich vanilla over warm coffee. Within a few minutes, tendrils of smoky incense frame the cardamom-coffee duo and the vanilla thickens, more like a syrup swirled in the coffee. There was a subtle floral characteristic (that I’d guess was the jasmine sambac) that lightened the sweetness without really muting it.
About 15 minutes into the perfume’s development, the oud made a grand entrance, adding its sweet, smoky, and woody, and it enhanced the sense of incense alongside spicy cardamom, coffee, and vanilla. It also seemed muskier, almost chilly despite the warmth of the spicy cardamom and vanilla. The oud strengthens over the next few hours against the vanilla with the spice shifting subtly. The drydown was softer, smoother, and heavier on the oud with faint traces of warm vanilla.
For testing, I used half of a 1ml sample vial dabbed to the underside and topside of my wrist area on my left arm. I used an unscented moisturizer prior to applying the scent as this is also my swatching arm (aka, incredibly parched at any given moment) as I found scent did not hold well here otherwise.
It lasted for seven hours until it was a skin-scent and about 12 hours before it was quite difficult to detect on my skin. The sillage and projection were moderate and started to close-in after three hours of wear.
It took me surprise! After trying a few renditions of fragrances with coffee notes, I didn’t have as high of expectations on this one, and while it definitely wasn’t a coffee-dominant perfume, I did get a nice combo of cardamom and coffee that left out some of the harsher aspects of the cardamom on my skin–it was more balanced. I also enjoyed the addition of oud and how jasmine was subtle to my nose. I can’t say that it immediately made me want to go buy a full bottle, let alone at the price point it’s at, but I’ll be re-wearing my sample in the future!
- 75ml for $295
- 0.7ml sample for $6