One of the fun things about going into the Hermes boutique on Madison Avenue in
But all of that receded into the distance in the face of Eau d’Hermes (not to be confused with either Parfum d´Hermes or Eau des Merveilles). Somehow I´d gotten Eau d’Hermes mixed up in my mind with Parfum d´Hermes, which I think they had and which, unless I really am further gone than we realize, was a conventionally pretty, big-shouldered floral, so let´s get back to Eau.
I was interested in Eau because there´s a bit in
Well … yeah. This thing is smack-you-in-the-forehead phenomenal, in a very quiet way. I´d focus on that first list of notes, because my point is, it´s neither sweet or citrus-y. It is unisex on me leaning toward masculine. It has the immediate (although delicately rendered) recognizable scent of cumin, which you all know I am wild for. The spices are there, but they´re at the opposite end of the spectrum from, say, the spice-market effect of the original Comme des Garcons. It doesn´t stink, really, although if your tolerance for cumin is zero, this isn´t going to please you. I get some of the citrus and pretty much none of the flowers as distinguishable notes, although I think the flowers are there to balance the spices and contribute to the sillage.
At the risk of boring you all to tears, this is yet another scent with an aura-like effect that fascinates me; you don’t wear Eau d’Hermes so much as … radiate it, or merge with it, or something. It’s a human smell. It´s less sweaty (and less … perfume-y) than Cartier Declaration. Online reviewers on Basenotes use words like timeless, awe-inspiring, incredible, etc., except if they think it’s disgusting, with opinions divided fairly sharply (and tilted heavily toward the positive). The Osmoz review blathers on about various waves of the scent. To me it was a single, monumental smell, as sensual and playful as a Matisse lithograph, no less beautiful for its spareness.
Eau d’Hermes is too current in feel to be called “classic.” It was niche before there was niche; when brilliance was enough and a master like Roudnitska could please himself rather than consumers age 18 – 34.
Matisse illustration, Ronsard Florilege des Amours; www.franklinbowlesgallery.com
PS While you’re enjoying the cuminy goodness of Eau d’Hermes, let me recommend a bite of cumin-flavored chocolate from Dolfin (and thanks to Robin at Now Smell This for my new addiction.) The cardamom and pink pepper bars were good, but my heart belongs to the Earl Grey Tea bar (with a lovely, slightly crunchy texture and an Earl Grey aftertaste). Now I really want to try the Hot Masala. NST and I agree that, while we can’t decide whether we really like the cumin bar, it is strangely addictive. Weird.