Hermes Hermessence Perfume & What Wedding Perfume the Bride Chose

This week we want to talk about Hermes perfume, and specifically Hermessences perfumes.  But first!

Lack of time has prevented me from responding to comments recently, but several of you asked what wedding perfume my niece chose.  Silly story that I thought I knew the answer to until after I posted that. It wasn’t even one of the ones I listed. I thought she chose Houbigant Orangeurs en Fleurs, which she had picked first.  then my sister thrust the Van Cleef & Arpels Orchidee Vanille under her nose a week or so before the wedding, and she fell in love with that, and that’s what she wound up wearing for her wedding perfume.  Kids.

So that’s the story on the wedding perfume.

hermessence perfume - ambre narguile, rose ikebana, osmanthe yunnan, poivre samarcande, vetiver tonka, iris ukiyoe, vanille galante, santal massoia, brin de reglisse, paprika brasilOne of my favorite high-end niche lines from a mainstream perfume company has been Hermes perfume line, Hermessence.  Sold exclusively in Hermes boutiques (I did see them carried in a Printemps or Galleries Lafayette in Pairs), they are difficult to source locally if you don’t live in a big city, but they have always been some of my go-to perfumes for years.  More of my favorites are from the earlier perfumes in the Hermes perfume line.  If you haven’t explored them, you should, especially if you are a Jean-Claude Ellena fan.

When first introduced by Hermes in 2004 the line was Ambre Narguile, Rose Ikebana, Poivre Samarcande, and Vetiver Tonka.  Osmanthe Yunnan joined shortly after in 2005.  I’d be hard-pressed to pick a favorite from these.

While I admire Hermessence Ambre Narguile for everything it is, I didn’t nickname it the Nazgul for no reason.  It is beautifully sweet amber, honey and tobacco. I long to wear it, but it winds up being just too heavy for me.  In the summertime? Fogeddaboutit.  Much too heavy, you’ll feel like you are swimming in a honey river, choking on tobacco. But wintertime?  On the very coldest days,i can alllllmost wear it.  This also appeared in the Amber Perfume Note Guide.

Hermessence Rose Ikebana is this beautiful blend of roses with rhubarb. There’s not many perfumes with rhubarb that I’d turn my nose up at to begin with, but this blend is amazingly light and crisp, bit tart, it just oozes spring happiness.  I’ve done reviews of this before and included it in the Rose Perfume Note Guide.

The first perfume I referred to as crack was Hermessence Vetiver Tonka (also mentioned in the Vetiver Perfume Note Guide).  I”m not sure what they put in this besides vetiver and tonka, but smelling it makes me so happy and comforted.  I could happily sniff on it every day, but don’t because I’d spoil the specialness.

Lastly in the original four, and the one I originally thought I didn’t like, is Hermessence Poivre Samarcande.  Pepper, woods, oakmoss and a wee bit of cumin make this skew more masculine, but once I put aside my crazy obsessions for Rose Ikebana and Vetiver Tonka for a minute, I appreciated how great this is for women.

In 2005, Hermessence Osmanthe Yunnan joined the line. Ethereal osmanthus, tea and grapefruit.  A little tart, this thing feels like a wispy little thing, but it always surprises me when I keep smelling it 6-8 hours after I put it on.  It’s much more tenacious than you would think. It also gets a mentioned in the Tea Note Perfume Guide.

Then there were a few misses, and I’ll quit dating them as I go through.

Hermessence Brin de Reglisse (lavender, hay, licorice) has grown on me more than I thought it would, but it’s probably never going to be one of my favorites. It’s an interesting take on lavender and one that Ellena was aiming to get very dry, with an unusual twist to it.  I’m not a big fan of lavender as perfume, though I do love the note, and this is one of the few lavenders, besides Serge Lutens Encens et Lavande, that I do like and would wear.  Not one of my top Hermessence perfumes, but I like it.

Hermessence Paprika Brasil and Hermessence Santal Massoia are my two least favorite in the line. Not because they aren’t good.  I’m just not a sandalwood-centric perfume fan and have no opinion about Santal Massoia.  Paprika Brasil I just don’t get.  I tried it again, hoping time would let me appreciate it, but I got nothing. I think they should take this one out of the line and put in a nice gardenia or Lily of the Valley perfume.

Speaking of lily of the valley, I ordered a bunch of lily of the valley to show up tomorrow so I have a fully bloomed bouquet on May 1. Of course they are predicting one more round of snow in Denver on May 1.

Of the later Hermessence releases, Vanille Galante has had me smitten from first sniff. I throw it in with the first group of five that I adore.  It’s one that is perfect any time of year.  Not heavily vanilla, it’s more about lily, and it is perfection.  At least now I know what I’m wearing to my first weaving class tonight!  Pretty sure I covered this in the Vanilla Perfume Note Guide.  This one is true love for me.

I saved the most mercurial that I can’t figure out how I feel about it to last, Hermessence Iris Ukiyoe – partly because I can never remember how to spell Ukiyoe. Iris weaved in watery tones.  Love it?  Hate it?  I tend to not like aquatics, but the iris is really beautiful in this.  It remains in the Maybe Hermessence category.

There are many more Hermes perfumes that I adore that are in the mainstream line. They have gotten pricier and pricier, which seems about normal now for all perfumes. They are up to about $250 for a 100 ml bottle. But if you love them, they do have a 200 ml bottle for a few dollars under $4o0 to make it a little less squeamish territory.  So have you tried this line or no?  Because you don’t have access or you just avoid it because of the cost?  Comment to be entered for a complete set of all 10 of the Hermessence samples.  Two people will win those.  I’ll also give away 2 sets of three you-picks, meaning you can pick three samples of the Hermessences you most want to try.  If you don’t want to enter, just comment with DNEM.  

Oh!  The 3D TV update – my brand spankin’ new TV’s 3d doesn’t, um, work.  They have to replace some board in it, which makes me nervous that this thing is FUBAR out of the box. Should I be nervous?  The picture on it without 3D is beautiful, the set is working perfectly except for that.    

Winners of the Tauer Noontide petals – Mary K, Cat Schultz, leeann, 71andSunny & Amy K

 Winners of the Histoires de Parfums Olympia – Shaney, Suzanne H., Lauren W, Maren & Lavanya    

All of you can just click on Drop us a Note clear at the top or e-mail patty at perfumeposse dot cawm (misspelling on purpose because those little bots are getting good!) remind me what you’ve won and give me your shipping address, and I’ll confirm I got your note via return e-mail and then send them out. Congrats, and enjoy!  All of these samples were provided by the perfumer for y’all.

Hermessence perfume samples provided by Surrender to Chance

61 Comments
Kismet May 4, 2013

Love Hermes--Gentiane Blanche, which I guess is really a men's cologne, is my all-time go-to fragrance. Also love Le Jardin Sur Le Toit and Kelly Caleche (ok, it's Hermes pinktified, but pretty). Also like Orange Verte and would love to try the Hermessences. Thanks for the draw!

Lynne Marie May 2, 2013

She wore orchidee vanille??!!! One of my favorites, perfect for a bride! I wanted to love Vanille Galante but lily just screeches on me, I can practically hear it from across the room. My favorite Hermes so far has been the Orange Verte thingy whose proper name I always forget. Lovely orange without being sticky sweet or headache inducing.

Tara May 2, 2013

I must be the only person here who loves Paprika Brasil... I have that one, Osmanthe Yunnan and Ambre Narguile. I have easy access to these so DNEM.

rosiegreen62 May 1, 2013

I haven't tried any of the Hermessences yet.That price is high for me. I do love JCE and recently tried the Jour de Hermes. I have a bottle on my wish list. Thank you for the draw.

E.Lime May 1, 2013

I would love to try Rose Ikebana and Vetiver Tonka, both of which sound delightful.

Janell May 1, 2013

I would love to try the Hermessences. I love Eau de Marveilles.

Erin May 1, 2013

I recently fell in love with Kelly Caleche after trying in on my skin. Now I have a full bottle I'm enjoying! I also really love Hiris but am just trying to stretch my sample out. I would love to try the Hermessences...especially Vetiver Tonka.

Samantha L. May 1, 2013

I love all of these I've tried....particularly Vanilla Galante, my favorite. I've gone through two 15 ml.bottles of Ambre Narguile and one 15 ml. of Vetiver Tonka. I'm out of so many things I really like right now, I need to stock back up!

susan May 1, 2013

Never tried any of these and they're ridiculously too expensive, at least on my budget. But I'd like to try some samples! Thanks for the draw.

LaurenW May 1, 2013

Thank you for the Oympia sample! I can't wait to try it. I got to try a few Hermessennces by getting a samples of Osmanthus Yunnan and Rose Ikebana from *bay. They're lovely and well-made, but out of my price range.

Barbara May 1, 2013

Haven't tried any of the Hermessences because I don't have access. Would love to try Veviver Tonka or Ambre Narguile. Thanks for the draw!

Marte May 1, 2013

I love Ambre Narguile, Vetiver Tonka and Osmanthe Yunnan. Would love to try the others! Thanks for the draw :)

Melanie Violette May 1, 2013

I have several samples of the Hermessences that I obtained at a Hermes boutique In Charlotte's SouthPark Mall. The staff were super helpful. Remember, they want to sell you something exclusive and luxurious. Your money is just as good as the next person. You don't have to wear heels and pearls to be accepted in Hermes (except maybe in the flagship store in Paris :-D I love the Iris Ukiyoe and the Amber Narguile. These would be my purchase choices. I like Rose Ikebana and Vetiver Tonka. They go on my B list.

Jennifer Smith May 1, 2013

I tried most of the Hermessences in a sample pass awhile back .Some are rather confused in my memory since then though. I got a couple of samples (official ones 4ml each) of the Vetiver Tonka -it IS lovely ! And I liked the Nazgul ,and the Poivre(although I think I prefer Terre D'Hermes or MJ Bang more than Poivre). I don't think that the Santal Massoia was out yet. I'd love to try these again.

Josie May 1, 2013

My favourite is also Vetiver Tonka, with 24 Faubourg as a close second...they may be sporadic, but they are also very subtle which is nice.

Laurel May 1, 2013

I've tried 24 Faubourg, which was lovely but a bit chilly, and Eau de Merveilles, which on me opened with a blast of lemon, and then...nothing. Every so often, for the rest of the day, if I lifted my arms for some reason, I'd get the faintest whiff of something really interesting, like the ghost of the perfume I'd read about. Sniffing my arms directly yielded more nothing. Anyway, I've never tried any of the Hermessences--they are awfully spendy for a sporadically employed temp.

X May 1, 2013

I've Eau des Merveilles, Kelly Caleche and Jour d'Hermes. I like JCE's Jour d'Hermes (so pretty!) and I can't wait to try his Hermessence creations. The Vanille Galante sounds lovely (had a craving for vanilla scent at the moment) and the Vetiver Tonka sounds gorgeous. Will love to try the other scents in the line too (Hello Paprika Basil which sounds oddball!) Hope your TV get fix real soon. (:

Nemo May 1, 2013

My favorite is Vetiver Tonka, which I merely liked initially, but then it grew on me until I was reaching for it every chilly winter morning. I also like Osmanthe Yunnan as long as I don't stick my nose to my skin (for some reason, the smell of it soon after application and close to my skin is not so pleasant as if I let it slowly diffuse up to my nose). I would love to try the others, too!

Susan J. May 1, 2013

I found a full bottle of 24 Fauborg in a junk shop a few months ago. Lucky find for me as this is not something I would normally be able to afford. I would love to try more from Hermes.

Ingeborg April 30, 2013

I have only tried the more ordinary Hermes fragrances, and love some of them, and have bought decants. There's something intimidating about certain SAs in the boutiques, so I hesitate to enter even if the perfumes or even a silk scarf would in fact be totally possible to save up for! I do like the idea of airyness in some of the creations, but look for more sillage usually than I imagine you get from Santal Massoïa and the others in that line.

odonata9 April 30, 2013

Please DNEM - San Diego is lacking in high end dept stores, but we do have a Hermes store and they are very generous with samples, so I have tried most of these. The only Hermessence I really love is Rose Ikebana, and not enough for a full bottle. I like Ambre Narguile at first but it is just too sweet. And I like sweet. I thought I would love Santal Massoia but the fig leaf killed it for me. Vanille Galante, I do not get at all. Salty banana lily. Where is the vanilla? From the regular line, I love Jardin en Med (I like fig fruit, just not the leaf!) and Eau de Merveilles. Kelly Caleche and Jardin sur le Nil are nice as well.

Jennifer Counts April 30, 2013

I like a few Hermes fragrances. I'm wearing Elixir des Merveilles today, as a matter of fact. I also like 24 Fauborg and Jardin en Mediterranee. I haven't tried any of the Hermessences, and I would like to. There is a Hermes boutique not too far from me, but instead of being in the Galleria like Chanel and the others where I might actually pass by and maybe go in, it's up the street a couple blocks by itself. I didn't even know it was there until I happened to drive that way one day. I've never gone in.. of course there is a little intimidation factor there. I never worry too much going into Saks or Neiman Marcus in my Target clothes, but I do feel less comfortable going into the boutiques for some reason. I went into the Chanel one once to try the Exclusifs, and while the people there were nothing but nice to me, the I-don't-belong-here feeling was strong enough to overcome my usual obliviousness.

kizzers April 30, 2013

Thanks for the draw & I hope your TV gets fixed soon! I'm pretty lucky to have a Hermes boutique within 25 miles of home, and I'll be heading there on a shopping trip this weekend. I have tried most of the Hermessences, and own the travel sets of Vetiver Tonka and Osmanthe Yunnan (these are a great option for splits and swaps). I wish they did the Discovery Set in mix 'n' match, so you could choose your own 4 favourites - that would be fantastic...

AnnieA April 30, 2013

Nice folks at Vancouver Hermes, and Hermessences are there. Too bad the ones I've tried do not last on me -- the Nazgul holds out just a bit longer...

shaney April 30, 2013

Thank you soooo much for the Histoires L'Olympia sample! I cannot wait to try it!!!!! I appreciate so much all of the samples that the posse gives away! As far as Hermes goes, I have had the opportunity to try some of their more readily available scents (Eau des Merveilles, + Claire and Elixir, Caleche, Kelly Caleche, and Eau de Pamplemousse Rose), but truthfully, I haven't been that impressed. I thought that I would LOVE Eau des Merveilles, but it didn't work on my skin. Of all the Hermessences, I think that Vetiver Tonka and Brin de Reglisse sound the most appealing to me. I do love lavender, but I've yet to try a niche containing lavender that works for me...but I think that if I had the opportunity to try Encens et Lavande, I would **LOVE** it! Thank you again :)

Beth April 30, 2013

I haven't had a chance to try the Hermessence line. I've tried Hiris and have a bottle of Kelly Caleche, but it's hard to find anything other than designer scents in my area. When I do get a chance to go to Chicago, it's usually with friends who aren't perfume sniffers. So we spend all day clothes shopping and I sneak off on my own for 20-30min of perfume sniffing. Seriously, I am just going to have to tell them to give me a day to myself if they can't be bothered. So funny, it's 3 months later, and now I'm mad! ;P So yes, thank you for yet another giveaway, and Id love to sniff them!

eldarwen22 April 30, 2013

I would love to try these, but when you mentioned price, things got a little hairy. I have Chanel, Amouage, and Andy Tauer that is taking up a lot of my perfume budget right now. I don't live anywhere near a place that would carry these.

Elaichi et Cetera April 30, 2013

Another line for me to become obsessed with trying! No, I've never seen/heard of any of these before, but my ears are up and my tail is wagging...

Jan Last April 30, 2013

Hermes has a special place in my heart and in my checking account. First, their samples are generous, you are not forced to try once and decide. They are readily available, and my last trip to the Hermes store was in San Juan Puerto Rico. Believe me, the sales force does not care if you wander their stores in flip-flops and Old Navy. They are just as nice to you as to the lady next to me, who was wearing so much clunky real gold, I expected her to clank when she walked, or at least to list to the side of the monster bracelet she had on. Tiny sampling is no way to sample perfume. I would like enough to try it twice, generously (are you listening Min?) OK, off my soapbox. Hermessence Brin de Reglisse is one I'm puzzling over, and now I'm putting those Hermessence on my May Fairy list.

Bridget C April 30, 2013

I was very lucky to score a sample of the vanille galante during this months fairy godmother extravaganza. I love it! Of course I would like to try them but if I have to choose three they would be the rosé ikebana, vetiver tonka and osmanthe yunnan. Fingers crossed xx

Musette April 30, 2013

I'm just dropping in to say a) I love Poivre Samarcande, especially on a scorching Summer day ..and b) no matter how I try, I cannot read it as anything other than Hermanessence. sigh xooxoxA

Maureen April 30, 2013

I have never tried any of these fragrances, but from your descriptions I would love to. I will have to get a sample of the VC&A fragrance your niece wore for her wedding...dying to know what it smells like. Please enter me in draw...thanks.

Adriana Rzeznik April 30, 2013

Hi, I have never tried any of the Hermessence perfumes, mostly because they are not available where I live. I do like a few of the mainstream Hermes fragrances, such as 24 Faubourg, Terre d'Hermes, Equipage. So I am very hopeful that I will like at least a handful of them. Thank you for the oportunity.

Elena April 30, 2013

I have tried Osmanthe Yunnan, but like others, it just disappears on me, and I would never consider paying so much for something that doesn't last for me. I do love Ellena, though, and when I can smell it, it's gorgeous.

FeralJasmine April 30, 2013

How lovely for the bride! After emptying a decant I've just gotten a bargain on a full bottle of Orchidee Vanille, and it's now my warm-weather go-to vanilla. I'm intrigued to read about the Vanilla Galante, and would love to try osmanthe Yunnan.. Last fall I loved L'Ambre des Merveilles and sprayed it about on sunny fall afternoons, but it occurs to me that it may make a great late spring scent as well. Do enter me in this draw; I would love to know more about this line.

Connie April 30, 2013

I love Eau de Merveilles from the regular line, but from the Hermessence line I have only tried Osmanthe Yunnan (and only on paper once at that). I thought it was gorgeous, but would need to try it more to get a good idea of it. I live in Boston, so there is a physical Hermes boutique, but I'm too scared to go in. I emailed the brand to see if they would send me samples and, though they agreed, it's been a few months and I think they lied to me. Would love to be entered in the drawing!

solanace April 30, 2013

My husband wears Terre, and I've been a Calèche fan for more years than I'd care to admit. I also enjoyed the jardin series when I smelled them at the airport, gotta get a sample set to see if I need a decant. I have never tried any Hermessence, though, because they are not sold where I live. Would love to, the line appeals to me a lot. Thank's for the draw, Patty! Hope your tv gets fixed soon!

Tora April 30, 2013

Hi Patty. I am glad to hear you weigh in on the Hermessence perfumes. I sure do wish I could sniff them along side the other Hermes I have lately been trying at my local Niemans. I did order a sample of the Vetiver Tonka (I think based on a review of yours) and it is a very remarkable scent. The rhubarb/rose sounds so interesting. I always get happy when I see a new post from you!!!!!!

Tiara April 30, 2013

What the bride wore isn't something I've smelled. Must try to fix that. Osmanthe Yunnan is gorgeous for the short time it lasts and Rose Ikebana is lovely but just not me. For some reason I can never remember how Vetiver Tonka smells. I re-try and think "oh yes" but it just doesn't stay with me. Vanille Galante is my favorite of the four. Haven't tried any of the others to date.

Nancy H. April 30, 2013

I have not tried any of these. Please enter me in the drawing.

Rachel April 30, 2013

I would love to try the Hermenessence line. I have never tried any Hermes perfumes having been addicted to Jo Malone for the last few years. (Pomegranate noir and cologne 154 blended). I love edible smells so like the idea of rhubarb and the Vanille Galante.

Irina April 30, 2013

I love some from Hermes but have almost no access- for sure no access to the Hermessence line would love to be able to try them all thanks for the draw

Lisa D April 30, 2013

Vetiver Tonka! It's my absolute favorite of the Hermessences I've tried. So, so good.

Mary P. Brown April 30, 2013

I have several Hermes fragrances but the only Hermessence I have is a sample of Vanille Galante which I love but seems to have absolutely no sillage on me. I would love to try the others though, especially the Osmanthus Yunnan and Vetiver Tonka.

RuthF April 30, 2013

I'm lucky to have a perfume mule bringing me back Ambre Narguile from Paris on Sunday! I've been wanting it for a long time, so excited! I've tried Rose ikebana which is really lovely and the Vanilla one which totally baffles me, all I can smell is a faint whiff of fish?? Is my nose playing tricks on me? I'd love to be entered in the draw to try the rest, thanks :)

71º & Sunny April 30, 2013

Oh wow thanks so much for Noontide Petals!! CANNOT wait to try it! Yay so excited!!!! I really love the few Hermes I've tried. Un Jardin Sur La Toit and Elixir des Merveilles. I don't believe I've ever tried the Hermessence line. Sounds really interesting though. I will definitely be on the lookout for these now.

Dina C. April 30, 2013

Just recently bought a bottle of L'Ambre des Merveilles and am enjoying it often. I've tried samples of Iris Ukiyoe and Hiris. I appreciated both, but don't feel the need for a bottle of either, at least right now.

hajusuuri April 30, 2013

I love Hermes, and have FBs of a good number of the "regular" perfumes, with my favorite being Kelly Caleche EDP (down to the last dregs but my back-up bottle is at the ready)! Anyway, I do not own any of the Hermessence because I could not decide which 4 to buy in the set. I know it's a lame excuse but there you have it.

Marcela Hanford April 30, 2013

Oh wow! I love most Hermes, well everything not just scents. I do not live near a boutique so I would love to try these. I hope it does not snow for you on May first, here in central NY, we always say that we are not safe from snow until after Mother's Day!!

Thora_W April 30, 2013

I love this line but it is so hard to track down. There is an Hermes store in the city I live but I don't always feel comfortable going in to it wearing my Target shoes and Old Navy jeans. I am going to Vegas next week so I am working up the courage to go in to one of the Hermes stores there. Vegas seems to be a great equalizer. I am glad that I am not the only one that did not understand Paprika Brasil. I really wanted to like it because I adore Jean-Claude Ellena but I was totally lost when I smelled it. There are several Hermes perfumes that are "To Buy" list but you are right, the price of them is rising thus sadly I can't always get everything I want. I really want to buy Hiris, Kelley Caleche, and a new bottle of Un Jardin en Méditerranée as my current bottle is empty but these will have to wait because one of Ellena's creations for Frederic Malle is calling my name (Bigarade Concentree). Some days I feel like I have to make Sophie's choice. ;)

Tatiana April 30, 2013

Other than the Santal Massoia I haven't tried these. Then again, I just got around to trying 24, Faubourg. It takes me a while to try thing. I must agree with you, it would be nice to see their take on Lily of the Valley. Hope the weathermen are wrong and it doesn't snow in May for you.

Ann April 30, 2013

WHAT??? Patty, can't believe your niece pulled a fast one on you! ;) She did choose a great scent though (must go find mine and re-try). I like several of the Hermessences; oddly enough, tops on my list is the Iris Ukiyoe, followed by the Vetiver Tonka and the Vanilla Galante. Many of the others fade to a whisper of nothing 10 minutes after I've applied, so I don't even try them anymore. There is an Hermes boutique in my city and the SAs are pretty generous with samples, so that's nice. And as always, DNEM.

Rina April 30, 2013

I fell HARD for the Poivre Samarcande but it's half-life on me is a nano second! Just enough to seduce me, then GONE! Typical male...I've resorted to putting it on in the AM and keeping samples in my desk drawer for après lunch. Is it just me or are the others as fleeting?

Joni Dischner April 30, 2013

I hope you get the tv fixed. Maybe one day, they'll have 3D smellavision, Wonka style. :) Other than terre d'hermes, I've never smelled any Hermes. The Poivre Samarcande sounds delicious. I love all of the notes you mentioned. I've never smelled rhubarb in a perfume. Can you recommend a good one to sniff first?

Cat Schultz April 30, 2013

Oh wow!! I haven't tried any of these yet. I have l'ambre des merveilles but these sound delish! Sucks about your tv!