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.