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Truefitt & Hill Experience for Christmas

I was able to receive the cologne sampler pack from Truefitt & Hill for Christmas as a gift. Early in my wetshaving education from this very forum I came across Dr Harris products and have been happy with them ever since. Due to that, I have put off exploring some of the other classic British barbershop fragrances and products until I was pleasantly surprised with this Christmas gift.

I am not a perfume reviewer, but in order to get my post count up to start using the marketplace I thought I could make an interesting contribution with this topic. (Access to the marketplace was finally the reason I made an account after 10 years of lurking.) I will be periodically reviewing each fragrance sample I have and give my thoughts. If you are not interested in my thoughts then please do not read!

I will do this by 1. pulling the scent profile off of Truefitt and Hill’s website, 2. Go over my impressions from fragrantica and basenotes, 3. My own experience and thoughts of the fragrance.

Today will be my review of Trafalgar.


TFH Description: The Trafalgar scent: Spicy, light, and captivating with top notes of Cedar and Sandalwood complemented by subtle hints of Jasmine and Spice.

I do not think Trafalgar is an easy scent to appreciate in a vacuum. It is bracing and not very friendly. Ominous like a storm cloud is how I would describe it. Without the name “Trafalgar” to point you in the right direction, I can easily see how this cologne would be confusing to someone who is not a student of history. If you can take a step back however, Trafalgar is an absolutely brilliant and unique fragrance who’s scent journey the perfumer tried to recreate is easily discernible.

The pyramid structure of this is “flipped” on it’s head with traditional wood notes at the top instead of the base, and this is mentioned on basenotes and fragrantica. A lot of the reviews seem to be confused by the blue color of the liquid with the strong woody notes and think it should be colored green. They are wrong. Some do mention it is a blue aquatic like “cool water”, but that is not quite right either. Others are not so sure about the spices and thinks it ends on a feminine note. Many of the reviews describe what they are smelling in myopic terms (which seem to be all over the place), but I think they are missing the forest for the trees.

The open is wood. musty damp ship wood. The focus is the woody air of a Man-O-War at sea in deep waters, not the aquatic ocean itself. In my opinion there is a subtle choppy ocean feel that “seasons” the rest of the fragrance through it’s entirety, and that can be lost if you are not looking for it. It is subtle but omni-present, just like the ocean to the tiny wooden world of sailors. This is where I believe the confusion of other reviewers comes from.

The wood then blends into sharp smoke spices. The battle has begun. I served in the field artillery and also do a lot of shooting, and I get the sharp smell of gunpowder, maybe a saltpetery, metallic sulfurous vibe recreated by a certain mix of spices overlapping the opening where both exist together. To be very clear, it is not actual gunpowder, but whatever mix of spice notes were used for this cologne creates that atmosphere. Unless you are familiar with it, it is not an odor that one would initially describe as “enjoyable”.

Afterwards the gunpowder dissipates and the scent mellows out with some lemony-lime mixing with the some floral jasmine and spice, (still on top of that damp wood vibe, but now hidden more in the background) possibly a tribute to the British sailors who fought the battle who are now pulling out limes to drink a celebratory grog. The scent then holds steady as it keeps the same weakening profile as if the ships themselves are sailing away, leaving you to return to the world you were violently ripped away from when applying Trafalgar.

Truefitt & Hill’s Trafalgar is a Naval Battle in a bottle. In that context it is glorious; even if it only exists in my own mind and confuses the Lady with it’s unpleasant brooding odor.

If this review seemed incoherent, blame the rum! I’ve been drinking a lime grog made with Pusser’s Gunpowder proof in honor of this review!
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bravo for the rum!
FWIW, I've enjoyed Trafalgar.
Mostly an 'aquatic' type, to my untrained nose!
BTW, the T&H sampler kit is a great gift, congrats!

proraso blue kent filarmonica truefitt and hill trafalgar april 19 2019.jpg
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