hermes: 47 posts

7 Rare Vintage Perfumes : The Perfume and Wine Class

As preparation for the Art of Perfume and Wine class that I’m teaching in April in France (more details here), I thought I would write about 7 vintage perfumes that have been influential for the evolution of perfumery and that we will smell in their original versions. There will be over 50 different perfumes in this course, but these 7 are among the most essential to learn.

Guerlain L’Heure Bleue 1912

Many perfumers will name Guerlain as the most influential perfume house, especially in its period when Jacques Guerlain was the head creator. L’Heure Bleue is a textbook example of a classic as well as of a symphonic perfume.

We will, of course, smell other Guerlain classics, from Après L’Ondée and Mitsouko to Chamade and Chant d’Arômes.

Continue reading →

Peach Flowers and Cherry Leaves : 5 Fragrances for Hinamatsuri

This week as Belgium and the rest of Europe was battered by Siberian winds, I’ve enjoyed thinking about peach blossoms and pink confections. March 3rd is celebrated in Japan as Hinamatsuri, also known as Girl’s Day or Doll’s Festival. Starting in February, families with daughters put up elaborate platforms representing the imperial wedding, complete with the emperor, empress, court ladies, famous poets and musicians of the Heian era (794-1192). These doll sets are usually given by grandparents to their granddaughters as they wish them health and happiness. Since most Japanese live in tiny, cramped apartments and doll sets cost around $2000, only a few still keep to the old customs. Nevertheless, girls are still feted on this special day.

The reason I enjoy Hinamatsuri is not for the dolls but the flowers and food. March 3rd is known also as Momo no Sekku, the festival of peach blossoms. Peach trees blossom even before spring makes its first claims, and the flowers are as beautiful as they are symbolic–delicacy need not come at the expense of resolve. The fragrance of peach blossoms has a hint of bitter almond and creamy jasmine, but it’s fresh and bright. The pale color of flowers inspires the meals served on Hinamatsuri, like chirashi zushi, a bed of vinegared sushi rice scattered with raw fish, salmon roe, egg threads and pickled lotus root slices, or hishi mochi, diamond shaped rice cakes in delicate pastel shades. My other favorite is sakura mochi, glutinous rice cakes filled with red beans and wrapped in a salted cherry leaf.

Continue reading →

5 New Perfumes for Fall : Reviews

I’ve been making lists of fall fragrances ever since the end of summer when the new launches started appearing. So, I decided to narrow down my selection to a few perfumes I enjoyed and wore. In this installment, I will talk about 5 such fragrances. They weren’t picked to be traditionally seasonal, and they range from citrus colognes to floral orientals. With the possible exception of Twilly, they’re for both men and women.

Twilly d’Hermès

Twilly d’Hermès is one of my favorite launches this year. The fragrance was inspired by Hermès’s narrow scarves, and if the house aimed for a blend as versatile as its famous accessory, then it more than succeeded. More than that, it also demonstrated that it’s possible to create a lighthearted, pleasing perfume that still smells clever, memorable and plush. The core of the fragrance is composed of ginger, tuberose and sandalwood, notes that together create a colorful, exuberant effect. The floral accord of Twilly is abstract and luminous, but it has a creamy sweetness that’s the trademark of white flowers like tuberose. Like most of Christine Nagel’s perfumes, it blossoms on skin and has a seductive, coquettish flair.

Continue reading →

Vetiver Voyages

“Art does not reproduce the visible, rather it makes visible,” wrote the cubist, surrealist and expressionist painter Paul Klee. The same could be said about perfumery, which is an art of intangible substances. The greatest fragrances conjure up the most complex of images, holding the artistic intent of their creators and offering a glimpse into their thoughts and memories. Just how perfumers achieve is what I explore in my recent article for my FT column, Vetiver Voyages. I use vetiver as an illustration.

One of my favourite examples is Lalique’s Encre Noire Pour Homme, released in 2006, which perfumer Nathalie Lorson composed with the intention of showing off the suave, languid character of vetiver – a note usually seen as bracing and cold. A type of grass originating in India, vetiver is grown to prevent soil erosion and produces a complex essential oil with accents of liquorice, bitter grapefruit peel, smoke and damp earth. To continue, please click here.

The other fragrances in the Modern Classic series were Serge Lutens’s Féminité du BoisLolita LempickaBulgari Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert, and Frédéric Malle Carnal Flower.

What are your favorite vetiver fragrances?

Image via FT

Modern Classics : Tea Colognes and Bulgari Eau Parfumee au The Vert

Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert is an unexpected modern classic. It wasn’t even meant to be displayed outside the Bulgari  boutiques, where its role was to be an elegant extra next to the house’s jewelry collection. Yet such was its allure and originality that it became one of the perfume trendsetters. And it made Bulgari into a perfume house of note. I tell the story of Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert in my newest FT column, Tempting Tea-Inspired Perfumes. But first I take you on my honeymoon to Kerala.

Munnar, a hill station in India’s southwestern state of Kerala, is one of the country’s largest tea producers. Ensconced in the Western Ghats mountain range, the town is surrounded by plantations that cascade down the hills and hide in misty ravines. I was in Munnar for my honeymoon, and my recollections of long, languorous walks around the tea gardens, the tolling church bells and the opulence of garlands at the Sri Subramanya Temple are laced with the scent of tea leaves. Crushed in my fingers, they smelled green and tannic; when carried by the morning breeze, the aroma resembled violets and driftwood. To continue, please click here.

The other fragrances in the Modern Classic series were Serge Lutens’s Féminité du Bois and Lolita Lempicka.

Researching the article made me realize how many excellent and distinctive perfumes feature the tea accord. Next week I will share a selection of favorites to complement my choices in the article above.

Image via FT

From the Archives

Latest Comments

  • Sebastian in Recommend Me a Perfume : October 2020: Salome would interest you in the context of your question. It is a perfume that is reminiscent of the 70s, and in that time would have been considered definitely feminine. October 30, 2020 at 3:42am

  • Ninon in Recommend Me a Perfume : October 2020: Hello Peter! Anubis is on my to-try list, I think perhaps because of your recommendation (unfortunately the samples are currently out of stock at LS). I do not usually get… October 30, 2020 at 1:23am

  • Ninon in Recommend Me a Perfume : October 2020: Totally agree–I’m another non rose person who loves Mohur, especially the extrait. The other “rose” I like is Une Rose de Kandahar, but it’s really more about almond, apricot, tobacco,… October 30, 2020 at 1:19am

  • Peter in Recommend Me a Perfume : October 2020: Hello Ninon. Have you tried any of Liz Moores’ Papillon perfumes? Salome is a slightly skanky retro potion. Fragrantica classifies it as a Chypre Floral with woody, leather, musky, white… October 29, 2020 at 11:04pm

Latest Tweets

Design by cre8d
© Copyright 2005-2020 Bois de Jasmin. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy