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.
One 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