Hermes Hermessence Brin de Reglisse : Perfume Review

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Brindereglisse

Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

There is a very distinctive scent to blooming lavender that becomes obvious only when the sun is at its peak—dry, heady, reminiscent of caramel and toasted almonds. Once you smell it, it is impossible to forget. Its vivid sharpness becomes as indelibly imprinted in one’s memory as the expanse of hazy purple of lavender fields and the cobalt blue skies encompassing it all. When I first smelled Brin de Réglisse, a fragrance created for Hermès by Jean-Claude Ellena, I found myself astonished at the precision with which Ellena recreated the experience for me. Of course, it is the lavender of Ellena’s imagination as much as of my own, but I nevertheless enjoy the fragrance for its interesting juxtaposition of spicy lavender and the burnt sugar darkness of immortelle.

Brin de Réglisse, which means a twig of licorice in French, is executed in the transparent aesthetic that would be recognizable to those familiar with Ellena’s work. Lightness and gossamer quality in this aromatic composition—as opposed to the baroque richness of a fragrance like Guerlain Jicky—is a deliberate choice that Ellena chooses to pursue in order to render lavender nuanced and layered. To me, Brin de Réglisse seems like an inverted pyramid. The very first whiff exposes the expanse of its lavender note, from the green freshness to the almond sweetness, with the praline and maple syrup richness of immortelle reinforcing the aromatic accord. As the fragrance dries down, it becomes more transparent and radiant, hinting at the violet tinged woods and vanilla that form its base. The late drydown is very similar to with its soft woods and .

While Brin de Réglisse will not satisfy those who love rich and opulent fragrances, as it stays true to Ellena’s aesthetic throughout its development. It is light, vibrant and sparkling, a transparent chiffon veil, rather than a warm stole. While I am usually partial to richer compositions, the lovely harmony and exhilarating aromatic-caramelized sensation of Brin de Réglisse capture my heart every time I smell it. It is a kind of fragrance that I love wearing first thing in the morning for its uplifting, bright quality, and with a refreshment later in the afternoon, it also transitions nicely into the evening. For days, when I prefer a low-key, intimate aura, Brin de Réglisse becomes indispensable.

Although I tend to complain time to time about Hermessence, I enjoy this collection very much. It is a pleasure to smell fragrances created with high-quality materials and to find interesting composition where the creative intent is quite obvious (as opposed to market-tested, profit-driven nonsense one often finds in other brands). It is a pleasure to feel the fingerprint of the creator and to see a distinctive aesthetic. Even if sometimes I do not find it fitting my own ideas of beauty, I admire the concepts. In case of Brin de Réglisse, however, I am more than happy to enjoy them on my skin as well.

Hermès Brin de Réglisse includes notes of lavender, orange blossom, licorice, jasmine, hay. It is a part of Hermès Hermessence line and is available from the Hermès boutiques. It is available in 100 ml Eau de Toilette as well as a part of the discovery set–a set of four 15 ml sprays.

Sample: my own acquisition


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14 Comments

  • Suzanna: Haven’t tried this (impossible to find here), but I love lavender for the same reasons you mention and will seek it out.

    Also on the love list is photography by Vera Klokova. Her images are stunning. More! (I’ve googled her and seen her absolutely charming baby portraits. What a talented artist she is.) June 21, 2011 at 8:26am Reply

  • Victoria: I do enjoy the caramelized twist here very much, and I also love that it manages to be uplifting and yet still rich enough to be interesting.

    Vera’s very talented! I am so glad to hear that you like her work. June 21, 2011 at 9:57am Reply

  • Bulldoggirl: Hermes is one of my favorite perfume houses, and I adore lavender, but I’m afraid the immortelle would kill this for me. It’s one of the few notes I just can’t seem to tolerate. June 21, 2011 at 10:00am Reply

  • lovethescents: I haven’t sniffed this ages. I remember quite liking this in the heat….thank you for reminding me about yet another gorgeous Hermes! June 21, 2011 at 10:01am Reply

  • Victoria: Hmmm, the immortelle-licorice facet is pronounced, so it may not be the one for you. Still, I recommend trying it, because it is rendered very differently and so you may find it much easier to wear. I certainly do. June 21, 2011 at 10:14am Reply

  • Victoria: You are welcome! 🙂 I like many Hermessences, but there are very few I am tempted to wear again and again. This is one of them. June 21, 2011 at 10:15am Reply

  • Andrea: I’m supposed to be receiving a discovery set of the newer Hermessences I haven’t tried today, and this was supposed to be included, but they called to let me know they were out of it… so I had to wait or pick a substitute. I chose to subsititute and they promised to send me several sample vials of this instead… now I think I’m more disappointed though, sounds lovely. 🙁 June 21, 2011 at 10:40am Reply

  • Flacon007: Victoria, thank you for transforming my impressions into this elegant attribution to this fragrance. It was first introduced under the name George V at a party dedicated to a new boutique opening event. When I wear it, I recall delicate caramel leaves and a just unfolded lavender praline wrapping where the praline itself was already swallowed by a child. June 21, 2011 at 11:46am Reply

  • Victoria: My other favorites are Ambre Narguile, Osmanthe Yunnan and Vetiver Tonka. I could wear them daily, if I had to! June 21, 2011 at 1:39pm Reply

  • Victoria: Spasibo Vam! What a beautiful description. I love the idea of lavender praline. That describes the sensation of caramelized note perfectly to me. June 21, 2011 at 1:39pm Reply

  • Andrea: Agreed. I already own a big bottle of Ambre Narguile, and a small bottle (that will be replaced with a large one eventually) of Vetiver Tonka, and just received the Osmanthe Yunnan today… and wow, love it. I also got the Vanille Galante which I wasn’t sure about at first sniff, but put it on this afternoon after I had adequately swooned over the OY, and then went out to do some yard work. I’m not sure I’ve ever smelled so good planting trees. I felt like a giant lily that just popped up out of the dirt, gently radiating gorgeousness. So maybe VG isn’t the best catch up on email scent, but really nice for gardening on a warm day. (If like me, you would wear perfume for that… ) I also got the Iris Ukiyoe and it seems… ok, but haven’t worn it yet. They said they would send me some samples of Brin de Reglisse separately, so can’t wait! June 21, 2011 at 8:46pm Reply

  • Victoria: I also was not a big fan of Iris Ukiyoe, even though I really wanted to like it. After all, I cannot seem to have enough irises in my collection. Yet, it was strangely cold and thin. June 22, 2011 at 3:30pm Reply

  • Jordi: Since I was a child I always loved licorice so this one was a must-try and as soon as I smelled it I fell in love with it. I do love the strong licorice touch for a man fragance although its sweetness makes it fully suitable for a woman too. I am toying the idea of layering it with epice marine for a vigorizing good morning scent. A lavender field on a rocky cliff by the salty sea with a breeze of licorice is the image that combination brings to me, althoug I am a bit scared of trying it since I am no expert September 28, 2014 at 7:26pm Reply

    • Victoria: Layering is easy, and you can try it on paper first, just to make sure that the combo works out. September 29, 2014 at 7:23am Reply

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