hermessence: 69 posts

Revisiting Hermessence : Myrrhe Eglantine, Cedre Sambac, Agar Ebene


When the Hermessence collection was first launched in 2004, it was conceived as an olfactory haiku—a few subtle details combined to create a complex impression. I still remain partial to the original creations like Vétiver Tonka and Ambre Narguilé, but the Middle East-inspired trio of Myrrhe Églantine, Cèdre Sambac, Agar Ebène has become my favorite. The compositions are complex and layered, with the classical Hermès radiance.

Myrrhe Églantine, for instance, plays with the shimmering effect of rose, setting it against a velvety background. This contrast has fascinated me from the first time I tried the perfume and the more I wear it, the more beguiling it becomes. The fragrance starts out on a sweet citrus, followed by a dark glimpse of violet. Unexpectedly, however, the notes fuse into an illusion of a crimson rose. When later, myrrh, a plush, resinous material that smells like licorice, woods and unburned incense, stakes its claims, the rose becomes even warmer.

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Hermessence Epice Marine : New Perfume

Épice Marine is the 11th fragrance in the Hermessence collection from Hermès. Inspired by a meeting in Cancale, Brittany with chef and spice master Olivier Roellinger, it captures the scents of Brittany’s coast and  spices. Roellinger is renowned for his intricate spice blends, which are as complex as perfumes, and the interaction between the two creators inspired them both. Ellena went on to compose Épice Marine, while Roellinger–La Poudre des Bulgares, a blend of cardamom, vanilla, saffron and sesame to perfume yogurt.



The chef gave Ellena a taste of toasted cumin seeds, which sparked the idea for Épice Marine. Unlike fresh grains, toasted cumin doesn’t have the sweaty, animalic brashness, but it smells woody, caramelized and sweet. Other notes of Épice Marine include bergamot, cardamon, cinnamon, watery and smoky accents. Available starting October 2013 at Hermès boutiques.

Roellinger’s La Poudre des Bulgares is currently available at his store in Paris and at

Adding on: if you read French, I recommend taking a look at the Vanity Fair article Le Mariage d’un Chef et d’un Nez. It describes how Ellena and Roellinger met and how Épice Marine was born.

Via press release

Hermes Hermessence Santal Massoia : Perfume Review



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

There are linear, vertical woods like cedar, and others that are horizontal, round, supple and velvet-smooth, such as sandalwood and massoia. With this understanding in mind, I composed this enigmatic, inviting yet distant perfume of milky woods, with its unusual, pungent hints of resin and dried fruit, and familiar smells of dulce de leche and flowers.” This description by Jean-Claude Ellena, the creator behind the newest launch from the Hermès’s Hermessence line, Santal Massoïa, captures the idea of this creamy woody composition. It is unusual and surprising in its treatment of sandalwood, the impression of which oscillates between the characteristic milky rose and sweet fig. At the same time, Santal Massoïa also smells hauntingly familiar and intimate: a mélange of warm skin, cold cream and green tea.

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Hermes Hermessence Santal Massoia : New Fragrance

SantalThe latest fragrance from Hermès and its Hermessence collection is Santal Massoïa. The 10th addition to Hermessence will be launched in November in Hermès boutiques. It is created by the in-house perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena, who is responsible for all other Hermessence fragrances. As the Financial Times magazine notes, “here Ellena is transported to the Indonesian forests, to pungent odours emanating from exotic trees. Massoïa, a rare species whose bark smells of coconut, turns Santal Massoïa into something esoteric, mysterious, unknown.”

Adding on 10/28: The Wall Street Journal quotes Ellena in an article A French Perfumer’s Seductive Sense about his inspiration for the newest fragrance, “Fifteen years ago, I came across this marvelous massoia wood, not well known in perfumery and used in Indonesian cuisine. The odor is startling, unforgettable, mysterious, a sensual riot of exotic spices, fruit and milky coconut. It’s what I call a horizontal scent,” he says. “It’s round, supple, almost carnal, lascivious—in a word, feminine.”

Other recent sandalwood rich fragrances include Tom Ford Santal Blush, Le Labo Santal 33 and Serge Lutens Jeux de Peau.

Hermes Hermessence Brin de Reglisse : Perfume Review



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.

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