hermessence: 66 posts

Brin de Reglisse : New Hermessence Fragrance

Lavender

Hermessence range is soon to be joined by Brin de Réglisse. It is a 7th fragrance in the line, which already includes Rose Ikebana, Poivre Samarcande, Ambre Narguilé, Osmanthe Yunnan, and Paprika Brasil. While the name means “a blade of licorice” (as in “a blade of grass”, a small quantity), the composition was inspired by lavender. In the interview the perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena gave to L’Express, he described how he wanted his lavender to be intense and dry, like the lavender one smells in the South of France, when the strong cold wind (mistral) blows through the area in June. His idea was to streamline lavender and render it as a “clean line.” As he concludes, “Nothing is more complex than simplicity.” Thanks to Paola for the link.

Photo from Moosey’s Country Garden, a beautiful website about gardening.

Hermes Hermessence Vetiver Tonka : Perfume Review

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

Although I enjoy the airy softness of Osmanthe Yunnan and the smoldering sensation of Ambre Narguilé, the only fragrance from the Hermès’s Hermessence collection for which I truly feel strong affection is Vétiver Tonka. Created by Jean-Claude Ellena, this composition is a startling tender vetiver melody. The pungent and woody root is often made even richer and smokier as in Frédéric Malle Vétiver Extraordinaire or the original version of Guerlain Vétiver. Or, in another extreme, it can be rendered as weightless and fresh as in The Different Company Sel de Vétiver. Either treatment can accent the fascinating tonalities of this amazing material, yet it is rare to discover vetiver transformed into a velvety, enveloping veil. This is exactly what Vétiver Tonka succeeds in achieving. …

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Hermes Hermessence Paprika Brasil : Perfume Review

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

Inspired by the introduction of oriental and American spices to Europe, Hermès Paprika Brasil lost me before it even managed to set its sail. The watery and cold effect of the top note was rather anticlimactic, if one expected the vibrancy of spices and the richness of paprika. Instead of searing heat, at most Paprika Brasil conjures a damp morning mist of an autumnal day, a character it retains as the composition develops.

The dominant presence in the composition is that of iris. Its dove grey outlines are noticeable under the transparence of the vegetal top note. However, the iris is pale and sheer, a ghostly shadow of its rooty sumptuousness that one can glimpse in Serge Lutens Iris Silver Mist. …

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Hermes Hermessence Osmanthe Yunnan : Perfume Review

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

Inspired by a visit to the gardens of Beijing’s Forbidden City, Hermès Osmanthe Yunnan, Jean-Claude Ellena’s creation for Hermessence range explores the marriage of tea and flower. Yunnan tea and osmanthus is a combination of natural harmony due to the fact that the flowery rich tea tonality underscores the fruity delicacy of osmanthus. Its scent, elusive and haunting, ranges from tea-soaked dried apricots to jasmine soap crushed in a leather bag.

The hesperidic notes sparkle like sugar crystals falling into a tea cup, their astringent quality appearing as somewhat sharp on the skin. The tart orange becomes more pronounced, contrasting with the gentle richness of tea. As could be expected, the composition is quintessentially Ellena—delicate transparency paired with complexity of the final result, which is a panoramic display of the idea. The composition appears rather smooth, with none of the notes dominating, but instead melding elegantly into a transparent, yet velvety fruity-floral scent. …

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Hermes Hermessence Ambre Narguile : Perfume Review

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

Sweet, warm and delicately animalic aroma of amber is not the only reason why this note is such a popular presence in the modern perfumery. It has an ability to round out other notes, smoothing the progression from one accord to another and fixing more delicate aspects of the composition in place. Its sensuality has a soft quality, which means that amber laden fragrances have a seductive subtlety.

The most beautiful aspects of amber shine in Hermès Ambre Narguilé, which was created in 2004 by Jean-Claude Ellena as a part of Hermèssence range. Like his other amber focused L’Artisan L’Eau d’Ambre, Ambre Narguilé does not merely hint at the idea of amber, but develops it fully. Yet, while being a rich voluptuous note, amber in Ambre Narguilé does not obscure other notes layered over it. It provides a beautiful backdrop against which the radiant and smoky facets of the composition unfold. It is strong, yet delicate, like carved marble screens of Mogul palaces.  …

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