Perfume review ~ Hermes Caleche eau Delicate

Hermes Caleche Eau Delicate fragranceHermes Caleche Eau Delicate fragranceHermes Caleche Eau Delicate fragrance

Calèche Eau Délicate was launched by Hermès in 2003. It was intended to target a younger consumer that might not find the original 1961 Calèche appealing, and who for that matter, might find even the 1992 Soie de Parfum too old-fashioned. It was created by nose Fabrice Pellegrin, and has notes of rose, jasmine, mandarin, pink pepper, black currant bud, and white cedar.

I am always wary when I read that a fragrance has been reformulated to appeal to modern — and younger — consumers. In this case, they did all the things you might expect. They lightened it up, creating a fresh, airy, transparent scent. They smoothed out the already mild earthy notes in the base. They upped the citrus in the top notes, added some fruity undertones, and threw in the now-ubiquitous pink pepper.

The result? Very nice indeed, thank you. It does not particularly call to mind Calèche, or what little I know of Calèche, having never tried the original 1961 formula. But it is far from the overly sweet and fruity fragrance that they might have released, and in my humble opinion, it is far better to release something new with a nod to the classic than to dumb-down a long cherished fragrance.

It starts with slightly sharp citrus and a heavy dose of pink pepper. The cedar, which will continue to intensify as it dries down, is apparent within a few minutes. As the pepper calms, the black currant arrives, but it is subdued and not at all overly sweet. The floral notes are light, and as in the Soie de Parfum, well-blended. The dry down is peppery woods with a bit of musk.

It is classified as a woody floral citrus; if there is any oakmoss left, I can't smell it. It is far more casual than the Soie de Parfum; I wouldn't call it elegant and sophisticated, exactly, but nor is it unsophisticated, it is just a more laid back, less fussy fragrance. It is not so transparent that it can't hold up to a cool fall day, in fact, I find the cedar a bit much on hot mid-summer days.

Perfumebay currently has a 15 ml spray for $15.90, thereby qualifying Calèche Eau Délicate for the "Cheap Thrills" category, which has been woefully neglected around here lately. It is also available from escentual, imaginationperfumery, and parfumsraffy among others.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Hello R! Love the review. I liked this too and got one when this was launched but I as usual I gave the bottle to my mom as I did not wear it as much.

    On me, this was rather different from original Caleche – and like you I did not get oak moss.



  2. Anonymous says:

    15 ml, the magical size! I might even splurge unsniffed and feel no guilt. Thanks, R,

  3. Anonymous says:

    Oh, I love 15ml sizes too! I need to retest my sample, because at first I dismissed it as a typical fruity-floral. It seems that I was too harsh. Thank you for a lovely review!

  4. Anonymous says:

    N, I am beginning to suspect that you give away more bottles than you keep ;-)

  5. Anonymous says:

    T, I always say I wish every perfume would be released in 15 ml, but there is the problem: if it came true, I would own 500 bottles, half of them mistakes, LOL! At least it is a decent price.

  6. Anonymous says:

    V, perhaps you will not love it, but anything (or almost anything!) is worth a second try :-)

  7. Anonymous says:

    What a lovely review, and it makes me feel like splurging on that 15ml bottle. This is one of those ones I sniff in shops and think…'hmmmmm?'. The name seduces me!

    Incidentally, R, were you aware that NowSmellThis is listed in the Library of Congress? Try this link and scroll down to Miscellaneous Resources…


  8. Anonymous says:

    Yes dear R! When you buy like crazy (or as I used to) – there is not much option. Next lot – I will announce. They make fab gifts.


  9. Anonymous says:

    Our Robin is wonderful AND famous. I am so pleased.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Hooray! Now Smell This deserves fame and accolade!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Thanks N, someone just emailed me this morning to let me know!

  12. Anonymous says:

    Thanks N!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Thanks I!

  14. Anonymous says:

    Thanks R!

  15. Anonymous says:

    Congrats to “our” Robin!

    You should be recognised for all your hard work.

    Doin' a happy dance for you!

  16. Anonymous says:

    Hear hear! Perfumers, we NEED 15ml bottles! :-)

  17. Anonymous says:

    Adding: and we need them all to be around $15, LOL!

  18. Anonymous says:

    Thank you so much C!!

  19. Anonymous says:

    Cheap thrills category! I love it…And this scent seems like something even I might wanna try – lovely review as always!

    ; ) marls

  20. Anonymous says:

    Can you imagine that I had not reviewed anything under $25 since we did the Dreamer back in July? Must find more cheap fragrances!

  21. Anonymous says:

    Hi there, I have just found your wonderful blog, and this item in particular. I do remember Caleche 1961 formula, and whenever I come across it in old bottles it triggers memories of wealth, serious love, deep and meaningful intentions, very European, very Parisian. A few months ago I came across it again and fell in love with the 1960s once more! A very powerful fragrance.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Welcome, and thanks for commenting. Hopefully some day I will come across a vintage bottle, I would love to smell it!

  23. Anonymous says:

    if someone has a bottel to give away, go ahead! it is my favourite summer scent. and i do not like the original because of aldehydes. but c.d. gets powdery and delicate on my skin and it is very feminine and sensual. it is like beeing dressed in silk chiffon. i love it. it is just so expensive (had two bottles already), i empty it very fast.

  24. Anonymous says:

    It isn't so very expensive here as you can usually find it at the online discounters. “Silk chiffon” is a great description!

  25. Anonymous says:

    thank you! in germany it is 80 euro for 100ml, about 120 USD. it is even too expensive for a valentine gift. hermés keeps this price policy very tight in europe, no discounts at all.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Robin can you look at this auction # on Ebay and possibly DATE it,box looks rather old!


  27. Anonymous says:

    Sorry, I know absolutely zero about how Caleche has been packaged historically.

  28. Lesley says:

    I got a sample of this from the local Harvey nicks. i was racking my brain trying to remember what other perfume it reminded me of. i couldnt think so looked on other sites for ‘powdery’ scents. then i saw noa by cacherel and it clicked – it was that. prob the blackcurrent. also, it reminded me of a perfume called geminesse that max factor used to do.

    • Robin says:

      Thanks! Going on memory, this one isn’t as sweet as Noa, but it’s probably been reformulated by now and I haven’t smelled it lately.

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