Hermessence Paprika Brasil

After the scathing less than positive reviews I’ve seen from Robin, Marina and Victoria and… well, about everyone, on the newest Jean Claude Ellena creation in the Hermessences series, my expectations on this scent were low to quite low. I was thinking I’d get water with just a dash of spice, sorta like a Paprika toddy.

Now, firstly, y’all, this is Jean Claude, my dream boyfriend who shows up every night and creates scents for me in my sleep. Talking trash about JCE just cannot be tolerated, so let’s not make it a habit.

Well… hang on, let’s see if you guys were right. First, notes of red pimento, green sap, melange of spices, cloves, reseda, iris, and smoked woods. This would make me think deep, dark and spicy, and then I think about JCE and what he’s done with Ambre Narguile and with Osmanthe Yunnan, and who knows what this will be similar to in terms of approach — those two are as different as Cate Blanchett and Angelina Jolie.

It goes on mostly iris and some spice, dry, never strong, and then it just settles out to be a light spicy scent, sorta like an Iris Silver Mist with more emphasis on the spice and the iris just singing backup. I really like the notes in this generally, and I like the way it is blended… sort of. I tend to agree with the other reviews that suggest it lacks the definition and presence of the others in the Hermessence series, but I disagree on liking it. Like Osmanthe Yunnan, which at first I didn’t like much because it seemed too “not there,” Paprika Brasil is like a tenacious gossamer iris scent that is spicy, never overpowers, but stays in there enough that I just catch a sniff of it here and there as I go through my day. So for the same reasons that I adore Osmanthe Yunnan’s shadow effect of being there while not being there, Paprika Brasil is not a loser for me in the least. It is the spicy iris version of Osmanthe Yunnan and can be worn anywhere without fear of scaring off the people sitting next to you with its big amber honey wings (no, I’m not looking at you, Nazgul, but you know I’m talking about you). So while it still comes in behind Vetiver Tonka, Rose Ikebana and Osmanthe Yunnan as far as love, and ahead of Poivre Samarcande and the Nazgul, I think it’s a good addition to the series, and I’m anxious to try it in combination with some of the others, especially Vetiver Tonka.

This scent won’t be for everyone. If you want a more defined fragrance with more woods and spice and in the mold of Ambre Narguile, this is not going to work for you at all. Keep in mind that my taste runs more towards the sheer scents most of the time, and from that point of view, this definitely works for me, although I wasn’t sure at first that it would.

  • Tigs says:

    I’m not sure I really get the whole Hermessence thing. They (and JCE, sadly) are a tad too minimalist for me, I think. I like big, bilgy perfumes, with note lists that go on forever and vary from site to site. This jives with the rest of my likes I guess: busy novels, orchestrated music, encyclopaedic painting etc.

  • BBliss says:

    OK – I’m intrigued because I am actually perferring “shadowy” things at the moment. And shadowy spice is a little hard to do I think…
    Thank you!

  • Ina says:

    This was a *major* letdown. Like you said, it’s but a shadow and sorta flat, and I want it to be full-bodied and robust. Sigh. Oh well, more $$ for other lemmings.

  • March says:

    I’m just happy that you’re happy, babe. I’m too dense to appreciate most of the line anyway. You and Jean-Claude keep your little lovefest going.

  • Robin says:

    Hey, talking trash about JCE is most certainly not going to be a habit with me — I hope! — but can’t make myself love PB.

  • kuri says:

    Hrm… I may like it. I found Nazgul lovely but want something sheerer. My coworker said he got cinnamon from Nazgul, but he’s very food oriented.

  • Marina says:

    If I cannot scare off the people sitting next to me, then what’s the fun in wearing perfume?! *defiantly sprays self with Nazgul*
    Bwah ha ha ha

  • Patty says:

    Elle — I’m JCE’s bitch, I know it. 🙂 I’m still trying to figure out where this one fits in with the rest in the series, and that makes less sense.

  • Patty says:

    Chaya, it may be a great spice scent for summer. I remember thinking Osmnathe Yunnan’s release in winter seemed odd, since it is perfect for summer. I also know my bias on all things JCE is probablyl showing. 🙂

  • Patty says:

    Sariah, I’m thinking Nazgul lovers aren’t going to be thrilled with this, and I agree with the other reviews about it being less distinct and defined as the others in the series, but I still like it for what it is.

  • Patty says:

    Leopolod, you really do have to try the Hermessences,most of them are unique and just gorgeous.

  • Elle says:

    I adore JCE, so for his sake I’m really pleased to see your review. I *wish* this had worked for me. 🙁

  • chayaruchama says:

    Hi Patty ! Hello, Leo my love !
    I generally love JCE myself, especially that wonderful nose of his [that I desire to swim up into and spawn, like a happy salmon!], but diaphanous isn’t particularly what I crave during this season.
    Perhaps in warmer climes.
    Still,chacun a son gout !
    I doesn’t dim my love for you in the least…
    Thanks for your thoughts, as always-

  • sariah says:

    Patty – I’m glad to finally read a positive review of this one, maybe I will have to sniff it after all. All the same I’m thinking I won’t like it as I’m a “Nazgul” lover, but I am constantly being surprise by testing things I though I would love and being disappointed, and visa versa. /:)

  • Leopoldo says:

    In amongst my many failings as a human being (the occasional hair that now sprouts, as a late 30s joke, from my ears and fails to get trimmed becasue of its comic potential; my desire for exercise that sporadically manifests itself as a gym frenzy, only to disappear as quickly as it arrived; my occasional inappropriateness of language and humour as a teacher; the hard skin on my feet) I have yet to sample any of the Hermessence range. Given my admiration – if not always love – of JCE’s work, this is something I now need to rectify. Thanks Patty, my duck.