Christine Nagel: 17 posts

Hermes Galop d’Hermes : Perfume Review

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So here it is, the long awaited Galop d’Hermès. Few launches can boast of this much anticipation, save for the new big perfumes from Chanel, Dior or Louis Vuitton, but Hermès is a special house with its unique place in today’s fragrance world. First of all, it realized the idea of creating a truly artistic perfumery team, headed by Jean-Claude Ellena. In-house perfumers are nothing new, but in my view, Ellena is one of the few who actually have an opportunity to pursue his own vision. Second, Hermès is successful.

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This aspect is telling, because it proves that customers can spot quality, and Hermès’s perfumes have consistently been well-crafted and memorable. So, the efforts have been rewarded. Ellena’s work has a distinctive signature of radiance and polish, which over the years made for a coherent collection. Now, it’s time to add a twist, and the task has been given to Christine Nagel.

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Hermes Eau de Rhubarbe Ecarlate : Perfume Review

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As in fashion, fragrance outfits that engage in-house perfumers find themselves in a bind. On the one hand, one expects new designers to exercise their vision, but on the other, the fragrance industry is far more conservative than couture and they have to maintain the house’s creed. Christine Nagel’s first fragrance for Hermès, Eau de Rhubarbe Écarlate, is a promising sign of things to come, because not only does she retain the radiance lit by Jean-Claude Ellena, she adds curves and sultry touches of her own, even in a fairly straightforward cologne.

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Eau de Rhubarbe Écarlate is my rhubarb-rose sherbet in perfume form, albeit with a moderate dose of sugar. Since the French word écarlate, comes from the Persian word saqerlat–do you hear the echoes of “scarlet”, vivid red?–this association is fitting. Nagel softens the green, acidic edge of rhubarb with berries, but she retains enough of its savory, green nuances to make sophisticated perfume and not confiture.

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Jo Malone Wood Sage and Sea Salt : Fragrance Review

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Patricia on the Boston Harborwalk, Jo Malone Wood Sage & Sea Salt and tide.

The Boston Harborwalk is a 47-mile continuous public walkway from Chelsea to the Neponset River along the Boston waterfront. Currently 80% completed, it is a treasure for locals and visitors alike, and I never tire of strolling along a small portion of it, watching the boat traffic and inhaling the briny, mineral scents that are part of a busy working harbor. The tides, too, influence the degree of intensity of salt and vegetation in the air. During high tide, saltiness predominates, and the breeze is fresher and cleaner smelling. Low tide, however, uncovers the rocky bottom, exposes wood pilings and seaweed, and adds an interesting vegetal and animalic muskiness to the air.

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Wood Sage & Sea Salt, a cologne created by Christine Nagel for Jo Malone, falls within the cleaner range and is what I would call a high-tide fragrance. It opens with a refreshing blast of grapefruit and ambrette, which as it is an unusual combination of top notes, sadly doesn’t last long enough to suit me. The overall effect is one of freshness from the citrus and depth from the plant-based musk tones in the ambrette seed. Soon, the sea salt and sage come into play, and they, too, are clean and polished and not likely to offend. This stage lasts for a few hours, not changing in essential character but gradually fading to a pleasant skin scent.

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Jo Malone Rain and Angelica : Perfume Review

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The smell of sun-dried linens is one of those scents that invariably make me feel like all is well in the world. At the root of it is a childhood recollection of my grandmother’s linens (the memory conveniently blots out the less romantic realities of doing laundry by hand in a house with no running water). The aroma of starched fabric heated in the sun is so comforting that I look to the perfume bottle to satisfy this craving. An unexpected addition to my “sun and summer” fragrances has become Jo Malone Rain and Angelica, a recent debut from the brand specializing in simple, easy-to-wear scents.

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There is no reason to expect that something called Rain and Angelica (an unsubtle nod to Frédéric Malle ‘s rain drenched angelicas, Angéliques Sous la Pluie) would smell of sun warmed sheets or even anything summery. When I checked the list of notes well after trying and wearing the perfume for several days, I was surprised to find little resemblance between the cold, aquatic elements on paper and the warm, soft perfume on my skin.

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Lalique Encre Noire : Perfume Review

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That I’m obsessed with vetiver is obvious. If you select the note ‘vetiver‘ in Bois de Jasmin’s Find a Perfume feature, you’ll find around 20 reviews of perfumes sharing this earthy, woody leitmotif. Vetiver essence is distilled from the roots of a nondescript looking grass, but its scent is spectacular. It smells of milky hazelnuts, bitter grapefruit, licorice and driftwood. Every time I think that I have tried enough vetivers, something else comes along to tempt me. If I want dark and salty, I go for Annick Goutal’s Vétiver. If I’m in the mood for fresh and sparkling, Prada’s Infusion de Vétiver never fails to hit the spot. But if I had to wear a single vetiver perfume for the rest of my life, I would pick Lalique Encre Noire Pour Homme.

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Encre Noire may not seem like an obvious choice, especially when we have vetiver gold standards like Guerlain Vétiver and Frédéric Malle Vétiver Extraordinaire. Without a doubt, those are perfumes that must be sampled at least once, but what makes Encre Noire so compelling is its elegance and versatility. It’s also impeccably crafted and memorable.

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From the Archives

Latest Comments

  • Joy in Recommend Me a Perfume : January 2017: What a unique bottle! Your description sounds very intriguing and I will have to give it a try. January 21, 2017 at 11:15am

  • Joy in Recommend Me a Perfume : January 2017: Lily, many thanks for all of your diverse recommendations. All but Hermes Eau de Merveilles are new to me. In fact I tried Eau de Merveilles the other day and… January 21, 2017 at 11:10am

  • Lily in Recommend Me a Perfume : January 2017: So your lists of likes/dislikes almost completely overlap with mine (only exception that I do like fig and all spices!). But not that many of my perfumes have an opposites… January 21, 2017 at 10:15am

  • DP in Elie Roger and Estee Lauder Knowing: Wrappings is amazing. I do not understand why it is considered a seasonal or holiday fragrance. It is notoriously difficult to find except in December. It is definitely a Lauder… January 21, 2017 at 9:18am

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