Penhaligon’s Halfeti



  • Wet: rum, saffron, bergamot, coriander, pepper
  • Dry: saffron, leather, oud, musk, pepper, coriander, cedar, bergamot, grapefruit, rose, violet

I will admit I like the beginning a lot more than the dry-down. The big spices and rum were very enchanting and delicious. The oud that rises immediately to the forefront, perhaps less so, but that’s just because I’m not a big fan of oud I guess.

I can however appreciate how the base and heart stick darkly to the skin (and it sticks for quite a while!) while the top notes sparkle, citrus and spices playing and intermingling in the air. Oud is definitely the big note in this one, but it’s much lighter and sweeter than most other ouds I’ve tried. Even most rose ouds tend to stay super dry, while this one is creamy, almost oily, with a slight mentholated character that reminds me of lip balm. In other rose ouds, the rose tends to stay separate from the oud like a top note even if it’s listed in the heart, but Penhaligon’s combines the oud and rose seamlessly to create a heart that’s an almost entirely new thing. Jammy, slightly sweet, but dark and woody and warm.

It’s also not super rubbery, which was an issue for me with other ouds. This one smells less like tires and more like actual wood, which I think can be attributed to the cedar as well as the spices. So that’s definitely a point in Halfeti’s favor.

This might wear better on a more moisturized person honestly; winter weather and holiday drinking have dried me out, and I think Halfeti would meld better with someone whose skin chemistry is on the oilier side. I can see a different skin type sweetening the rose and bringing out the spices on their skin in a more pronounced way.

Wear this if you’re a oud beginner, or love oud and also know your coworkers have strong feelings about oud. Definitely wear the dark red or plum lipstick with it. Boots are optional, but painted nails aren’t.

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